Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance

From Crisis to Crisis

The Transformation of Merchant Banking, 1914–1939

Authors: O'Sullivan, Brian

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  • Awarded the 2019 BAC Wadsworth Prize having made an outstanding contribution to the study of British business history
  • Fills a gap in the historiography of the evolution of the British banking system
  • Aims to uncover why so many merchant banks failed in the interwar period and what the survivors learned from the misfortune of their less successful competitors
  • Identifies almost 100 merchant banking firms during this period
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-96698-4
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Hardcover $89.99
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price for USA
valid through December 31, 2019
  • ISBN 978-3-319-96697-7
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About this book

From Crisis to Crisis examines the impact of the harsh conditions of the interwar economy on the British merchant banks.  The financial crises of 1914 and 1931 are assessed using primary sources. The competitive threats, including the rise of New York as a rival financial centre, are considered. It challenges alleged special treatment and provides fresh perspectives on the interwar rationalisation of industry. 

During the late nineteenth century, Britain’s merchant banks had become pre-eminent in a world of fixed exchange rates, free trade and the unfettered mobility of international capital. This world was increasingly challenged in the interwar period, being replaced by floating exchange rates, trade protectionism and restrictions on capital movements.

This book fills a gap in the historiography of British banking by recovering the histories of long-forgotten merchant banks rather than focusing on the better-known firms. Using a wide range of archival resources, it traces the strategic transformation by some merchant banks from higher-risk, capital intensive activities to lower-risk, advisory services. 

Brian O’Sullivan has been jointly awarded the 2019 BAC Wadsworth Prize for From Crisis to Crisis: The Transformation of Merchant Banking 1914-1939. It was judged by the Business Archives Council (BAC) to have made an outstanding contribution to the study of British business history. Brian shared the prize with Professor Priya Satia of Stanford University in California.


 

               

About the authors

Brian O’Sullivan is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College, London, UK. He completed his PhD in 2015 at Birkbeck College, London, UK. He has spent most of his career in the asset management industry, including time with two merchant banks: Guinness Mahon and Schroders. He is currently Chief Operating Officer of Thomas Miller Investment. Previously he was a Senior Vice President at State Street Bank. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.



           

Reviews

“British merchant banks bestrode the world before the First World War—and the City of London revived with the emergence of the Eurodollar market from the late 1950s. The interwar period has been overlooked, often seen as an interlude of stasis or decline. But Brian O’Sullivan’s excellent book draws on pioneering research to show how change was taking place that provided the basis of much that came later. This book is a major contribution to the financial history of the City of London.” (Martin Daunton, Emeritus Professor of Economic History, University of Cambridge, UK)

“I am delighted to see this outstanding research published as a companion to my own book. I warmly commend it to everyone fascinated by the history and current state of the city of London.” (Stanley Chapman, Emeritus Professor of Business History at the University of Nottingham; author of The Rise of Merchant Banking, UK)

“Original and timely—this important study follows merchant banks through the interwar crisis to raise profound questions about risk and regulation that remain with us to this day.” (Frank Trentmann, Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, UK)

Table of contents (12 chapters)

Table of contents (12 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
$89.00 (listprice)
price for USA (gross)
valid through December 31, 2019
  • ISBN 978-3-319-96698-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $89.99
$119.99 (listprice)
price for USA
valid through December 31, 2019
  • ISBN 978-3-319-96697-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
From Crisis to Crisis
Book Subtitle
The Transformation of Merchant Banking, 1914–1939
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-96698-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-96698-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-96697-7
Series ISSN
2662-5164
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 410
Number of Illustrations
2 b/w illustrations, 15 illustrations in colour
Topics