Financial intermediaries — firms that function as the “middlemen of finance” — monitor and influence the way companies are governed in a market economy. Prior to 1933, most large, money-center banks had subsidiaries that acted as intermediaries in wholesale finance; they acted as underwriters of new issues for corporations and (foreign) governments and engaged in brokerage and trading generally with large, wholesale market players. After 1933, the U.S. securities industry emerged as distinctly separate from banking. Banks were to act in the financial system as deposit takers and commercial lenders, and investment banks were to act as advisers, underwriters, and traders. This functional division remained that way until the 1990s.
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