The underlying strategic elements in the management of British colonial banking : with emphasis upon the West Indian chartered banks and particularly the colonial bank between 1836-1856
The following pages are an in-depth study, based upon original sources, into the management of colonial banking companies-- hitherto given relatively minimal coverage in the literature. Their focus is on the underlying strategic opportunities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses of five West Indian colonial banking companies between 1836-1856. The growth of a moneyed economy after the abolition of slavery had given rise, for example, to increased opportunities for discounting, buying and selling bills on London, and intercolonial money transfers. These opportunities however were not without risks such as the speculative and highly vulnerable nature of colonial commerce, the anomalous state of the colonial currency and the ignorance and even prejudices of the colonists as well as those in both the home and colonial government. Particular attention was paid to the strengths and weaknesses endowed by a Royal charter, such as limited liability, the right to issue bank notes, or minimum paid-up captal requirements, etc. Another chapter was devoted to the strengths and weaknesses of multi-branch banking. While synergistic strengths appeared to exist for certain operations, there were clearly diminishing returns in net revenue from an increasingly larger network. This was particularly the case for operations outside the British Empire. Further attention was focused on the strategic control the formal corporate hierarchy, information flows, and the accounting system gave directors over disclosures of bad debt for dividend purposes, for tax purposes, and to instill confidence in the shareholders and the general public. Finally, the last chapter discussed the human strengths and weaknesses, including the inherent weaknesses in the control systems which encouraged various frauds.