Is There a Diversification Discount in Financial Conglomerates?
59 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2005 Last revised: 22 Oct 2005
Date Written: August 2005
This paper investigates whether the diversity of activities conducted by financial institutionsinfluences their market valuations. We find that there is a diversification discount: The marketvalues financial conglomerates that engage in multiple activities, e.g., lending and non-lendingfinancial services, lower than if those financial conglomerates were broken into financialintermediaries that specialize in the individual activities. While difficult to identify a single causalfactor, the results are consistent with theories that stress intensified agency problems infinancial conglomerates that engage in multiple activities and indicate that economies of scope arenot sufficiently large to produce a diversification premium.
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