A Functional Perspective of Financial Intermediation

Author: Robert C. Merton


New financial product designs, improved computer and telecommunications technology, and advances in the theory of finance have led to dramatic and rapid changes in the structure of global financial markets and institutions. This paper offers a functional perspective as the conceptual framework for analyzing the dynamics of institutional changes in financial intermediation and uses a series of examples to illustrate the range of institutional change that is likely to occur. These examples are used to frame the managerial
issues surrounding the production process for intermediaries and to discuss the regulatory process
for those intermediaries.

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