Merchant Banking Meaning and Functions

Definition of Merchant Banking

Any person who is engaged in the business of issue management either by making arrangements regarding selling, buying or subscribing to securities as manager-consultant, adviser or rendering corporate advisory services in relation to such issue management”

According to  Skully___” A Merchant Bank could be best defined as a financial institution conducting money market activities and lending, underwriting and financial advice, and investment services whose organization is characterized by a high proportion of professional staff able to able to approach problems in an innovative manner and to make and implement decisions rapidly.”

Functions of Merchant Banking

  1. Raising Finance for Clients: Merchant Banking helps its clients to raise finance through issue of shares, debentures, bank loans, etc. It helps its clients to raise finance from the domestic and international market. This finance is used for starting a new business or project or for modernization or expansion of the business.
  2. Broker in Stock Exchange: Merchant bankers act as brokers in the stock exchange. They buy and sell shares on behalf of their clients. They conduct research on equity shares. They also advise their clients about which shares to buy, when to buy, how much to buy and when to sell. Large brokers, Mutual Funds, Venture capital companies and Investment Banks offer merchant banking services.
  3. Project Management: Merchant bankers help their clients in the many ways. For e.g. Advising about location of a project, preparing a project report, conducting feasibility studies, making a plan for financing the project, finding out sources of finance, advising about concessions and incentives from the government.
  4. Advice on Expansion and Modernization: Merchant bankers give advice for expansion and modernization of the business units. They give expert advice on mergers and amalgamations, acquisition and takeovers, diversification of business, foreign collaborations and joint-ventures, technology up-gradation, etc.
  5. Handling Government Consent for Industrial Projects: A businessman has to get government permission for starting of the project. Similarly, a company requires permission for expansion or modernization activities. For this, many formalities have to be completed. Merchant banks do all this work for their clients.
  6. Revival of Sick Industrial Units: Merchant banks help to revive (cure) sick industrial units. It negotiates with different agencies like banks, term lending institutions, and BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction). It also plans and executes the full revival package.
  7. Portfolio Management: A merchant bank manages the portfolios (investments) of its clients. This makes investments safe, liquid and profitable for the client. It offers expert guidance to its clients for taking investment decisions.
  8. Corporate Restructuring: It includes mergers or acquisitions of existing business units, sale of existing unit or disinvestment. This requires proper negotiations, preparation of documents and completion of legal formalities. Merchant bankers offer all these services to their clients.
  9. Leasing Services: Merchant bankers also help in leasing services. Lease is a contract between the lessor and lessee, whereby the lessor allows the use of his specific asset such as equipment by the lessee for a certain period. The lessor charges a fee called rentals.
  10. Management of Interest and Dividend: Merchant bankers help their clients in the management of interest on debentures / loans, and dividend on shares. They also advise their client about the timing and rate of dividend.

Characteristics of Merchant Banking

  • High proportion of decision makers as a percentage of total staff.
  • Quick decision process.
  • High density of information.
  • Intense contact with the environment.
  • Loose organizational structure.
  • Concentration of short and medium term engagements.
  • Emphasis on fee and commission income.
  • Innovative instead of repetitive operations.
  • Sophisticated services on a national and international level.
  • Low rate of profit distribution.
  • High liquidity ratio.