Merchant Banking – Meaning, Functions, and Services

Can You Explain the Concept of a Merchant Banking?

The services of a merchant bank include underwriting, loan services, financial consulting, and fundraising for major enterprises and high-net-worth individuals (HWNIs).

Merchant Banking – Meaning and Services

When it comes to international business, merchant banks are the go-to establishments for support of multi-national enterprises.

Merchant banks, in contrast to retail and commercial banks, do not serve individual customers directly. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup are three of the most prominent international merchant banks.

Merchant Banking - Meaning, Functions, and Services


  • A merchant bank is a non-bank financial entity that focuses on international commerce.
  • Loans, financial advice, and capital-raising opportunities are just some of the services that merchant banks provide to major businesses and the ultra-wealthy.
  • While some merchant banks include retail and commercial divisions, this is not their primary focus.
  • J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup are just a few examples of the world’s top financial institutions.

Investing Firm

To Better Understand Merchant Banks

Merchant banks are private, non-bank financial firms that specialize in providing foreign financing to large enterprises. The banks in question are different from other kinds of financial entities.

Because of this, the vast majority of their offerings are not designed for the general public. Merchant banks focus primarily on business customers, while they may provide certain banking services to high-net-worth individuals.

Investment banks in the United Kingdom are referred to as merchant banks, although in the United States, the word merchant bank has a narrower emphasis.

Merchant banks provide similar services to investment banks in the United States, but its main clientele consists of multi-national businesses and ultra-wealthy people that operate on a global scale.

Merchant Banking Duties

Merchant banks aid corporations in their operations by offering financial and consulting services. Most of the firms they partner with aren’t big enough to issue an IPO and so can’t access public funding (IPO).

Loans and Funding

The international financing and underwriting services of merchant banks often include such areas as trade finance, overseas investment, and real estate. They may also assist with money transfers and the issuing of letters of credit (LOCs).

Other, more innovative kinds of funding are available from merchant banks. Private placement allows companies to sell stocks to affluent buyers with little notice to regulators.

Trading Across Borders

A merchant bank may provide funding for a multinational corporation’s international commercial activities and handle foreign currency exchanges for the company.

A merchant bank is contacted when a corporation needs to transfer cash for a large transaction to be made in another nation through letter of credit.

The Merchant Banking Industry: A Real-World Illustration

To illustrate, consider the case of Company ABC, established in the USA, which is interested in acquiring Company XYZ, situated in Germany.

ABC would work with a merchant bank for help with this. The financial institution would provide guidance to Company ABC on how to best arrange the deal. The funding and underwriting for ABC might benefit from this as well.

Based on the aforementioned scenario, Business ABC might have its merchant bank issue a letter of credit to the German vendors as a means of payment.

The vendor may also advise Business ABC on how to navigate German law and regulation.

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The Difference Between Merchant Banks and Investment Banks

The boundary between merchant and investment banks is quite fuzzy. Securities offerings to the public are called initial public offerings (IPOs), and they are underwritten and sold by investment banks.

In order to register securities for public sale, the bank’s customers are often major enterprises with deep pockets. In addition to providing investment research to customers, investment banks also advise corporations on mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Investment banks, in contrast to commercial banks, earn money in two ways: fees and commissions. If they are fund-based, they may also make money through interest and other leases in addition to fees collected for advisory services given to customers.

There are some minimal disclosure standards that must be met by every corporation selling securities to the public.

An independent certified public accounting (CPA) firm must do an audit of a business prior to either an initial public offering (IPO) or a private placement.

All audited financial statements need to contain disclosures and financial data going back at least three years. This data may be used by prospective investors to evaluate the merits and drawbacks of purchasing the securities.

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