IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Securities activities by commercial banking firms' section 20 subsidiaries: risk, return, and diversification benefits

  • Simon H. Kwan

This paper studies the implications of securities activities on bank safety and soundness by comparing the ex-post returns between banking firms' Section 20 subsidiaries -- subsidiaries that were authorized by the Federal Reserve to conduct bank-ineligible securities activities -- and their commercial bank affiliates. I found that securities subsidiaries that are primary dealers of government securities, their higher risk partially comes from their higher leverage, whereas for those that are not primary dealers, despite having lower leverage, they tend to be riskier than their bank affiliates partly because of their aggressive trading behavior. Nevertheless, securities subsidiaries appear to provide diversification benefits to bank holding companies, as evidenced by the low return correlation between bank subsidiaries and securities subsidiaries. Within the class of securities activities, I found that securities trading tends to be more profitable and riskier than banking activities. Trading activities engaged by primary dealer securities subsidiaries tend to provide strong diversification benefits to banking activities, reducing the banking organization's overall risk. For non-primary dealers, due to their aggressive trading behavior, their trading activities were found to increase the firm's total risk. On the other hand, securities underwriting is found to be riskier, and in the case of non-primary dealers also less profitable, than banking activities. Nevertheless, its return exhibits low correlation with banking return and trading return, suggesting that securities underwriting provides potential diversification benefits to both banking and trading activities.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Proceedings with number 609.

in new window

Length: 531-552
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Conference on Bank Structure and Competition (1998 : 34th) ; Payments systems in the global economy : risks and opportunitie.
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhpr:609
Contact details of provider: Postal: P.O. Box 834, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60690-0834
Phone: 312/322-5111
Fax: 312/322-5515
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedhpr:609. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bernie Flores)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.