The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Gianni De Nicolo, Mary Zephirin, Philip Bartholomew, and Jahanara Zaman
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper documents global trends in bank activity, consolidation, internationalization, and financial firm conglomeration, and explores the extent to which financial firm risk and systemic risk potential in banking are related to consolidation and conglomeration. We find that while there is a substantial upward trend in conglomeration globally, consolidation and internationalization exhibit uneven patterns across world regions. Trends in consolidation and conglomeration indicate increased risk profiles for large, conglomerate financial firms, and higher levels of systemic risk potential for more concentrated banking systems. We outline research directions aimed at explaining why bank consolidation and conglomeration do not necessarily yield either safer financial firms or more resilient banking systems.