IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Family Finance

Listed author(s):
  • Christopher Kobrak


    (ESCP-EAP - ESCP-EAP - Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris)

Registered author(s):

    As Mira Wilkins has argued, there is a curious disconnect between business and financial history. (Wilkins, 2003) Whereas business history literature has rediscovered the importance of family business in many countries and in many sectors of contemporary commercial life, for example, little has been written about family banking as an alternative to joint-stock, management-run financial institutions. This lacuna is odd for many reasons. First, family banking is one of the best-known examples of family business in history. Second, family banks once played a much greater role in international investment banking than it does today. Third, some family financial institutions are still active (dominant) in certain market segments and countries. This paper will focus on how, when and why family banking lost its position in international (multinational) banking during the first few decades of the 20th century. Although political upheaval and a widespread movement to reduce the power of private financial institutions undermined their businesses, family banks suffered, too, from America's maturing as a financial center. I will argue that this shift is connected with the increased importance of American markets and financial regulations, which, in the 1930s, deliberately steered financial transactions away from private dealings and toward transparent impersonal exchanges and capital markets with new forms of aggregated capital and individual investors, in which private banks were ill-suited to manage or at the least for which they had no special competitive edge. Using concepts drawn from an earlier paper on family businesses and relying mostly on secondary sources, this paper will further argue that in markets or market segments, such as Leveraged Buyouts, where uncertainty forms a greater part of the transactional environment, family banking still plays a significant role.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number hal-00287770.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Apr 2008
    Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00287770
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    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:hal:wpaper:hal-00287770. 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: (CCSD)

    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.