Conflict of Interest and Reputation in the Issuance of Public Securities: Evidence from Venture Capital

Posted: 8 Oct 1999

See all articles by Paul A. Gompers

Paul A. Gompers

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Josh Lerner

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

In this paper we investigate potential conflicts of interest in the issuance of public securities in a setting analogous to a universal bank, i.e., the underwriting of initial public offerings by investment banks that hold equity in a firm through a venture capital subsidiary. We contrast two hypotheses. Under "rational discounting," all market participants fully anticipate the conflict. The "naive investor" hypothesis suggests that investment banks are able to utilize superior information when they underwrite securities. The evidence supports the rational discounting hypothesis. Initial public offerings that are underwritten by affiliated investment banks perform as well or better than issues of firms in which none of the investment banks held a prior equity position. Investors do, however, require a greater discount at the offering to compensate for potential adverse selection. We also provide evidence that investment bank-affiliated venture firms address the potential conflict by investing in and subsequently underwriting less information-sensitive issues. Our evidence provides no support for the prohibitions on universal banking instituted by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.

JEL Classification: G23

Suggested Citation

Gompers, Paul A. and Lerner, Josh, Conflict of Interest and Reputation in the Issuance of Public Securities: Evidence from Venture Capital. Journal of Law and Economics, April 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=168768

Paul A. Gompers

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6297 (Phone)
617-496-8443 (Fax)

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Josh Lerner (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6065 (Phone)
617-496-7357 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/jlerner/

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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