Red Barons or Robber Barons? Governance and Financing in Russian Financial-Industrial Groups

Posted: 8 Jan 2001

See all articles by Enrico C. Perotti

Enrico C. Perotti

University of Amsterdam - Finance Group; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Stanislaw Gelfer

Credit Suisse First Boston

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We study the governance role of Russian Financial-Industrial Groups (FIG) and their impact on the allocation of capital. We compare member firms of groups with a control set of firms categorized by dispersed ownership or/and management and employee control.

We distinguish between hierarchical FIGs, where a bank is in firm control, and industry groups, which are looser alliances without a common control structure. We find that investment is sensitive to internal finance for the non-group firms. Industry group firms are not different from the independent firms in that respect, while there is negative correlation in bank-led group firms, suggesting extensive financial reallocation and the use of profitable firms as cash cows.

These results suggests either an internal capital market which redirects finance to firms with better investment opportunities or opportunistic value transfers by the controlling banks. We further assess the quality of the investment process in group and non group firms by measuring the correlation of investment with a proxy for Tobin's Q. The result supports the notion that hierarchical group firms allocate capital comparatively better than other firms, presumably because the controlling bank has a stronger profit motive and authority. However, the extent of redistribution is such that private appropriation of value by the controlling shareholders is a serious possibility.

Keywords: Corporate groups, emerging markets, Russia, investment financing, expropriation, capital constraints

JEL Classification: G31, G34

Suggested Citation

Perotti, Enrico C. and Gelfer, Stanislaw, Red Barons or Robber Barons? Governance and Financing in Russian Financial-Industrial Groups. Available at SSRN:

Enrico C. Perotti (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Finance Group ( email )

Plantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
+31 20 525 4159 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5285 (Fax)


Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

Stanislaw Gelfer

Credit Suisse First Boston

11 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

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