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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Towards the development of an optimal comprehensive retirement preparation model Crockett, Herbert Ralph


This study represents an attempt to develop a theory to explain the rapid growth of international banking witnessed during the past decade. The focus is on two major banking nations: Canada and the United States. The definition of international banking adopted for the purposes of this study is very broad in nature and includes several types of financial activities. In addition to usual commercial banking activities we include the so-called congeneric services associated with merchant banking. The research process involved a comprehensive review of banking journals, sundry periodicals, and the annual reports of major Canadian and American banks. This material provided descriptive information on the international activities of the banks. After international banking is defined a chapter is devoted to a discussion of the importance of banking to various world economies. In this area, much reliance is placed on the writings of R. W. Goldsmith who developed a measure of the level of financial sophistication for a country. Two chapters are then devoted to a description of the recent rapid growth of the international activities of Canadian and American banks. One conclusion is that international growth has proceeded at a considerably faster pace than domestic growth. Several observers of the international banking scene have offered explanations for the rapid growth. The most popular explanation is that the growth of world trade has caused or at least heavily influenced the growth of international banking. It is at this point that we identify some flaws in the 'following trade' argument. Dissatisfaction with this popular explanation provides the 'jumping off point' for development of our theory of international banking expansion. In order to lay the foundation for development of a theory of international banking expansion, the literature on the theory of the firm and on the theory of foreign direct investment is surveyed. Based on the above material, a model has been developed which builds upon the school of direct investment theory that focuses on oligopolistic industry structure and maximization of growth. The banks are seen to have an almost innate need for growth which is the critical variable influencing international expansion. Several environmental variables are identified that tend to retard growth in the domestic sector. It is argued that the logical consequence of this is that the banks turned to international markets in order to achieve their growth objectives. Foreign growth does not proceed without limit however. A profit constraint (drawing from the writings of W. J. Baumol) is identified and incorporated into the theoretical model. Some of the other theories of direct investment (including the popular Hymer/Kindleberger 'superior knowledge' theory) have only limited explanatory power in international banking. After a preliminary theoretical model was developed, interviews were arranged with senior executives in the international divisions of the five major chartered banks. Their reactions to the model are discussed (where appropriate) in chapters seven and eight. The study closes with a discussion of recent events that have tended to shake up international banking. Inadequate capitalization and various types of governmental interference are currently having a retarding effect on international growth. Finally, a chapter is devoted to a prediction of the future of international banking. It is concluded that, while many problems will be present, the need for growth will continue to be the major factor in explaining the development of international banking.

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