Financial Intermediation
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  • Make the distinction between primary and secondary markets.
  • Firms raise funds only at Primary offer stage, but the secondary markets give the primary markets liquidity and therefore increases the value. 1. Debt Markets Short-term (maturity < 1 year) Money Market Long-term (maturity > 1 year) Capital Market 2. Equity Markets Common stocks 1. Primary Market New security issues sold to initial buyers 2. Secondary Market Securities previously issued are bought and sold 1. Exchanges Trades conducted in central locations (e.g., New York Stock Exchange) 2. Over-the-Counter Markets Dealers at different locations buy and sell
  • Banks are important here, but even more important abroad. This has been part of Japans economic problems the last 10 years.
  • Data on stocks is a bit misleading since this is a flow of funds. The stock generates funds once, whereas a bond can be issued merely to pay off another bond therefore not raising the useable capital at all, however as measured by flow it will appear double stocks. This derives from the fact that equities don’t mature whereas debt instruments do. So the flow of debt instruments may or may not represent an actual increase in working capital for the firm.
  • Hand out slips of paper to half of the class.
  • Transactions Costs 1. Financial intermediaries make profits by reducing transactions costs 2. Reduce transactions costs by developing expertise and taking advantage of economies of scale
  • Apply asymmetric information to dating markets. What are methods or ways in which asymmetric info is reduced? What happens to the number of matches, or what would you expect. How important is asymmetric info in car market? An anonymous correspondent sends me news of the young Henry Schneider , Yale Ph.d. student.  Here is the abstract to his Estimating the Effects of Adverse Selection in Used Car Markets : In this paper, I address the long-standing question of whether adverse selection prevents used cars from reaching owners who value them most highly. In doing so, I confront the challenge of identifying the effects of adverse selection separately from the effects of efficient sorting of vehicles based on their conditions. This latter process would usually occur simultaneously to adverse selection and also affects the distribution of vehicles that trade. Using the prediction in Hendel and Lizzeri (1999), that adverse selection and efficient sorting both increase the rate of price depreciation, I propose to use their joint effect as an upper bound on the effect of adverse selection. My estimate of this joint effect, based on proprietary data on one million dealer used car sales and trade-ins, is close to zero, a result that indicates that adverse selection is unimportant. Using Consumer Expenditure Survey data, I provide additional support for this conclusion by showing that vehicles that were recently purchased from a dealership received approximately the same number of repairs as comparable continuously-held vehicles. I conclude with a discussion of the role that sellers’ concerns for their reputations may play in limiting information-based inefficiencies. But Henry is no apologist for the market.  Here is his paper on how much auto mechanics rip you off .  Half of all the money spent on auto mechanics appears to be deadweight loss.  He does note they neglect urgent problems 77 percent of the time, which suggests some stupidity instead of (in addition to?) pure venality. Here is Alex's earlier post on adverse selection .
  • Adverse Selection 1. Before transaction occurs 2. Potential borrowers most likely to produce adverse outcomes are ones most likely to seek loans and be selected Moral Hazard 1. After transaction occurs 2. Hazard that borrower has incentives to engage in undesirable (immoral) activities making it more likely that won’t pay loan back Financial intermediaries reduce adverse selection and moral hazard problems, enabling them to make profits
  • 1. Private Production and Sale of Information Free-rider problem interferes with this solution 2. Government Regulation to Increase Information Explains Puzzle 5 3. Financial Intermediation A. Analogy to solution to lemons problem provided by used-car dealers B. Avoid free-rider problem by making private loans Explains Puzzles 3 and 4 4. Collateral and Net Worth Explains Puzzle 7
  • International Bond Market 1. Foreign bonds 2. Eurobonds Now larger than U.S. corporate bond market World Stock Markets U.S. stock markets are no longer always the largest: Japan sometimes larger
  • Do not memorize the following charts, merely familiarize yourself with them. Types of institutions and their preferred habitat (sometimes required habitat by regulation)
  • Note how large commercial banks are…discuss tax advantages and boom in credit unions.
  • Two Main Reasons for Regulation 1. Increase information to investors A. Decreases adverse selection and moral hazard problems B. SEC forces corporations to disclose information 2. Ensuring the soundness of financial intermediaries A. Prevents financial panics B. Chartering, reporting requirements, restrictions on assets and activities, deposit insurance, and anti-competitive measures 3. Improve Monetary Control?
  • The industry is the most heavily regulated!! And there are constant calls for more regulation.


  • 1. An Overview of the Financial System
  • 2. Function of Financial Markets
    • 1. Allows transfers of funds from person or business without investment opportunities to one who has them
    • 2. Improves economic efficiency
  • 3. Function of Financial Markets
    • Perform the essential function of channeling funds from economic players that have saved surplus funds to those that have a shortage of funds
    • Promotes economic efficiency by producing an efficient allocation of capital, which increases production
    • Directly improve the well-being of consumers by allowing them to time purchases better
  • 4. Structure of Financial Markets
    • Debt and Equity Markets
    • Primary and Secondary Markets
      • Investment Banks underwrite securities in primary markets
      • Brokers and dealers work in secondary markets
    • Exchanges and Over-the-Counter (OTC) Markets
    • Money and Capital Markets
      • Money markets deal in short-term debt instruments
      • Capital markets deal in longer-term debt and equity instruments
  • 5. Principal Money Market Instruments
  • 6. Capital Market Instruments
  • 7. An Economic Analysis of Financial Structure
  • 8. Sources of External Finance in U.S
  • 9. Sources of Foreign External Finance
  • 10. Sources of Foreign External Finance
  • 11. Eight Basic Facts
    • Stocks are not the most important sources of external financing for businesses
    • Issuing marketable debt and equity securities is not the primary way in which businesses finance their operations
    • Indirect finance is many times more important than direct finance
    • Financial intermediaries are the most important source of external funds
  • 12. Eight Basic Facts (cont’d)
    • The financial system is among the most heavily regulated sectors of the economy
    • Only large, well-established corporations have easy access to securities markets to finance their activities
    • Collateral is a prevalent feature of debt contracts
    • Debt contracts are extremely complicated legal documents that place substantial restrictive covenants on borrowers
  • 13. Demonstration
    • How will a buyer determine what to offer?
    • How will the seller determine what to charge?
    • What if I offered to buy at $800?
    • Will everyone sell?
    • What happens to the average value of the cars offered for sale when I offer $800?
  • 14. Function of Financial Intermediaries
    • Financial Intermediaries
    • 1. Engage in process of indirect finance
    • 2. More important source of finance than securities markets
    • 3. Needed because of transactions costs and asymmetric information
  • 15. Transaction Costs
    • Financial intermediaries have evolved to reduce transaction costs
      • Economies of scale
      • Expertise
  • 16. Function of Financial Intermediaries
    • Risk Sharing
    • 1. Create and sell assets with low risk characteristics and then use the funds to buy assets with more risk (also called asset transformation ).
    • 2. Also lower risk by helping people to diversify portfolios
  • 17. Transaction Costs and Financial Structure
    • Transaction costs hinder flow of funds to people with productive investment opportunities
    • Financial intermediaries make profits by reducing transaction costs
    • 1. Take advantage of economies of scale
    • Example: Mutual Funds
    • 2. Develop expertise to lower transaction costs
    • Explains Fact 3
  • 18. Asymmetric Information
    • “ The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows” -Aristotle Onassis
    • Hot tip from the broker vs. insider trading
    • Lemons Problem (Akerlof)
    • The Nobel Laureates of 2001.
  • 19. Asymmetric Information
    • Adverse selection occurs before the transaction
    • Moral hazard arises after the transaction
    • Agency theory analyses how asymmetric information problems affect economic behavior
  • 20. Adverse Selection: The Lemons Problem
    • If quality cannot be assessed, the buyer is willing to pay at most a price that reflects the average quality
    • Sellers of good quality items will not want to sell at the price for average quality
    • The buyer will decide not to buy at all because all that is left in the market is poor quality items
    • This problem explains fact 2 and partially explains fact 1
  • 21. Adverse Selection: Solutions
    • Private production and sale of information
      • Free-rider problem
    • Government regulation to increase information
      • Fact 5
    • Financial intermediation
      • Facts 3, 4, & 6
    • Collateral and net worth
      • Fact 7
  • 22. Moral Hazard in Equity Contracts
    • Called the Principal-Agent Problem
    • Separation of ownership and control of the firm
      • Managers pursue personal benefits and power rather than the profitability of the firm
  • 23. Principal-Agent Problem: Solutions
    • Monitoring (Costly State Verification)
      • Free-rider problem
      • Fact 1
    • Government regulation to increase information
      • Fact 5
    • Financial Intermediation
      • Fact 3
    • Debt Contracts
      • Fact 1
  • 24. Moral Hazard in Debt Markets
    • Borrowers have incentives to take on projects that are riskier than the lenders would like
  • 25. Moral Hazard: Solutions
    • Net worth and collateral
      • Incentive compatible
    • Monitoring and Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants
      • Discourage undesirable behavior
      • Encourage desirable behavior
      • Keep collateral valuable
      • Provide information
    • Financial Intermediation
      • Facts 3 & 4
  • 26.  
  • 27. Function of Financial Intermediaries: Indirect Finance
    • Lower transaction costs
      • Economies of scale
      • Liquidity services
    • Reduce Risk
      • Risk Sharing (Asset Transformation)
      • Diversification
    • Asymmetric Information
      • Adverse Selection (before the transaction)—more likely to select risky borrower
      • Moral Hazard (after the transaction)—less likely borrower will repay loan
  • 28. Internationalization of Financial Markets
    • Foreign Bonds—sold in a foreign country and denominated in that country’s currency
    • Eurobond—bond denominated in a currency other than that of the country in which it is sold
    • Eurocurrencies—foreign currencies deposited in banks outside the home country
      • Eurodollars—U.S. dollars deposited in foreign banks outside the U.S. or in foreign branches of U.S. banks
    • World Stock Markets
  • 29. Financial Intermediaries
  • 30. Size of Financial Intermediaries
  • 31. Regulation of the Financial System
    • To increase the information available to investors:
      • Reduce adverse selection and moral hazard problems
      • Reduce insider trading
    • To ensure the soundness of financial intermediaries:
      • Restrictions on entry
      • Disclosure
      • Restrictions on Assets and Activities
      • Deposit Insurance
      • Limits on Competition
      • Restrictions on Interest Rates
  • 32. Regulatory Agencies
  • 33. Regulatory Agencies
  • 34. Conflicts of Interest
    • Type of moral hazard problem caused by economies of scope
    • Arise when an institution has multiple objectives and, as a result, has conflicts between those objectives
    • A reduction in the quality of information in financial markets increases asymmetric information problems
    • Financial markets do not channel funds into productive investment opportunities
    • The economy is not as efficient as it could be
  • 35. Why Do Conflicts of Interest Arise?
    • Underwriting and Research in Investment Banking
      • Information produced by researching companies is used to underwrite the securities. The bank is attempting to simultaneously serve two client groups whose information needs differ.
      • Spinning occurs when an investment bank allocates hot, but underpriced, IPOs to executives of other companies in return for their companies’ future business
  • 36. Why Do Conflicts of Interest Arise? (cont’d)
    • Auditing and Consulting in Accounting Firms
      • Auditors may be willing to skew their judgments and opinions to win consulting business
      • Auditors may be auditing information systems or tax and financial plans put in place by their nonaudit counterparts
      • Auditors may provide an overly favorable audit to solicit or retain audit business
  • 37. Conflicts of Interest: Remedies
    • Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Public Accounting Return and Investor Protection Act)
      • Increases supervisory oversight to monitor and prevent conflicts of interest
      • Establishes a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
      • Increases the SEC’s budget
      • Makes it illegal for a registered public accounting firm to provide any nonaudit service to a client contemporaneously with an impermissible audit
  • 38. Conflicts of Interest: Remedies (cont’d)
    • Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (cont’d)
      • Beefs up criminal charges for white-collar crime and obstruction of official investigations
      • Requires the CEO and CFO to certify that financial statements and disclosures are accurate
      • Requires members of the audit committee to be independent
  • 39. Conflicts of Interest: Remedies (cont’d)
    • Global Legal Settlement of 2002
      • Requires investment banks to sever the link between research and securities underwriting
      • Bans spinning
      • Imposes $1.4 billion in fines on accused investment banks
      • Requires investment banks to make their analysts’ recommendations public
      • Over a 5-year period, investment banks are required to contract with at least 3 independent research firms that would provide research to their brokerage customers
  • 40. Financial Development and Economic Growth
    • Financial Repression Leads to Low Growth: Why?
    • 1. Poor legal system
    • 2. Weak accounting standards
    • 3. Government directs credit
    • 4. Financial institutions nationalized
    • 5. Inadequate government regulation
  • 41. Appendix
    • Slides after this point will most likely not be covered in class. However they may contain useful definitions, or further elaborate on important concepts, particularly materials covered in the text book.
    • They may contain examples I’ve used in the past, or slides I just don’t want to delete as I may use them in the future.
  • 42. Financial Crises and Aggregate Economic Activity
    • Crises can be caused by:
      • Increases in interest rates
      • Increases in uncertainty
      • Asset market effects on balance sheets
      • Problems in the banking sector
      • Government fiscal imbalances
  • 43. Events in U.S. Financial Crises
  • 44. Events in Mexican, East Asian, and Argentine Financial Crises
  • 45. Summary: Asymmetric Information Problems and Tools to Solve Them