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Direct investments in securities: A primer

  • Ramon P. DeGennaro

Direct investment plans (commonly known as DRIPs) let investors bypass traditional investment channels and avoid problems such as high transactions costs and the relatively large dollar amounts necessary to purchase certain assets. While no one expects these plans to answer all of the modern investor's needs, DRIPs probably appeal to the buy-and-hold clientele seeking the lowest possible transactions costs. ; This article discusses DRIPs, describing how the financial services industry has evolved to meet the needs of the small investor. The author identifies the remaining limitations on this sort of investment, noting that mutual funds continue to offer convenience and unmatched diversification for small accounts. He then presents reasons why companies might offer DRIPs. For example, companies that face political or regulatory scrutiny may want a broad, stable ownership base. Such shareholders also tend to vote with management, offering potential as a takeover defense. Finally, a broad ownership base provides opportunities for cross-selling. ; The article also identifies empirical differences between companies that offer DRIPs and those that do not. The analysis shows that large companies, more mature companies, and companies in industries that are subject to relatively high levels of regulation are more likely to offer the plans. ; Finally, the discussion speculates about the future of direct investments. One obvious tool for DRIP investors is the Internet. Broker-run DRIPs provide another evolutionary direction.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): Q1 ()
Pages: 1-14

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:2003:i:q1:p:1-14:n:v.88no.1
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  1. Asquith, Paul & Mullins, David Jr., 1986. "Equity issues and offering dilution," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 61-89.
  2. Constantinides, George M., 1979. "A Note on the Suboptimality of Dollar-Cost Averaging as an Investment Policy," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 443-450, June.
  3. Robert C. Merton, 1973. "Theory of Rational Option Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(1), pages 141-183, Spring.
  4. Scholes, Myron S. & Wolfson, Mark A., 1989. "Decentralized investment banking : The case of discount dividend-reinvestment and stock-purchase plans," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 7-35, September.
  5. Eckbo, B. Espen & Masulis, Ronald W., 1992. "Adverse selection and the rights offer paradox," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 293-332, December.
  6. Smith, Clifford Jr., 1986. "Investment banking and the capital acquisition process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 3-29.
  7. Harris, Lawrence E & Gurel, Eitan, 1986. " Price and Volume Effects Associated with Changes in the S&P 500 List: New Evidence for the Existence of Price Pressures," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(4), pages 815-29, September.
  8. Finnerty, John D., 1989. "New issue dividend reinvestment plans and the cost of equity capital," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 127-139, March.
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