Over the last decade, the banking and financial services industries in the European Community, and elsewhere, have experienced dramatic change. Market deregulation, increasing competition and new technology have made firms reassess their strategic objectives. Another significant source of change within the EC has been the creation of the single market in financial services. This paper looks at the cross-border alliances undertaken by banking and financial services groups in the EC since 1987 and the extent to which these have benn prompted by single market.
Section I briefly outlines the pressure faced by financial institutions during the last decade. It also highlights some of the strategic opinions which are, in principle, available to firms that wish to take advantage of the opportunities created by the single market. Section II looks at strategic moves already undertaken by financial companies. Two hundred and forty-seven identified cross-border alliances by financial institutions have been analysed, and trends in the behaviour of firms by nationality and type are discussed.
Finally, Section III assesses to what extent the single market has encouraged financial services companies to undertake cross-border alliances and discusses some of the factors which are likely to affect such activity in the future.