Institutional investors and securities markets : which comes first?
Institutional investors comprise pension funds, insurance companies, and mutual funds. Should a country promote their creation if it lacks well-developed securities markets? The answer to this question, says the author, varies by type of investor. He argues that private pension funds and insurance companies are promoted for their own sake and for their potential economic, fiscal, and financial benefits, whether or not a country already has well-developed securities markets. Mutual funds, by contrast, are unlikely to thrive without strong and well-regulated securities markets. A limited supply of financial instruments should not be a major obstacle to the creation of pension funds and insurance companies. Such institutions build up their financial resources gradually but steadily, giving reforming governments ample time to develop securities markets. More important than the prior development of securities markets is a strong and lasting political commitment to holistic reform: macroeconomic, fiscal, banking, and capital market reform, as well as pension and insurance reform. Institutional investors need to attain critical mass and to be supported by conducive regulations. The author reviews Anglo-American experience since the 1940s. This shows that institutional investors can serve as a countervailing force to commercial and investment banks, helping to stimulate financial innovation, modernize capital markets, enhance transparency and disclosure, strengthen corporate governance, and improve financial regulation.
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