Commercial Banks in Investment Banking: Conflict of Interest or Certification Role?

By Manju Puri
1995| Working Paper No. 1357

When commercial banks make loans to firms and also underwrite securities, does this hamper or enhance their role as certifiers of firm value? ¶his paper examines empirically the pricing of bank-underwritten securities as compared to investment-house-underwritten securities over a unique period in the U.S. (pre-Glass-Steagall) when both banks and investment houses were allowed to underwrite securities. The evidence shows that investors were willing to pay higher prices for securities underwritten by banks rather than investment houses. The results support a certification role for banks, which is more valuable for junior and information sensitive securities. _x000B_JEL Classification Codes: G21, G24, N22_x000B_Key Words: Glass-Steagall, banks, certification, conflict of interest, security pricing