The scope of financial institutions: In-sourcing, outsourcing and off-shoring

Gordon L Clark, Ashby H B Monk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    In recent years, the standard theory of the integrated firm has given way to a concern about the relative advantages of in-sourcing over outsourcing, recognizing that the scope of the firm is a strategic matter. The issue of in-sourcing versus outsourcing has been accompanied by a concern about the geographical scope of the firm: whether the outsourcing of tasks and functions is close-at-hand or offshore. In this article, we begin with reference to Coase and the literature that has followed in his wake suggesting a crucial and unrecognized issue in his conceptualization is the problematic question of who has authority to make decisions (governance). We suggest a way of conceptualizing the tasks and functions of firms which rely upon firm-specific strategic assets including human capital, governance and decision-making procedures, and the information systems that underpin decision making. The objects of our analysis are financial institutions such as mutual funds, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and investment management companies. To the extent that the cost of services is important, these types of financial institutions have sought to discount costs by outsourcing, even off-shoring. At issue is the viable geographical reach of this type of institution noting the various ways contemporary institutions (small and large) have sought to deal with this issue. Our analysis is conceptual and theoretical rather than empirical and is based on a set of case studies and fieldwork and the implications to be drawn thereof.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)279 - 298
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Economic Geography
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Cite this