Financial services

Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit-card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, consumer-finance companies, stock brokerages, investment funds, individual managers and some government-sponsored enterprises.[1] Financial services companies are present in all economically developed geographic locations and tend to cluster in local, national, regional and international financial centers such as London, New York City, and Tokyo.

History

The term "financial services" became more prevalent in the United States partly as a result of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of the late 1990s, which enabled different types of companies operating in the U.S. financial services industry at that time to merge.[2]

Companies usually have two distinct approaches to this new type of business. One approach would be a bank which simply buys an insurance company or an investment bank, keeps the original brands of the acquired firm, and adds the acquisition to its holding company simply to diversify its earnings. Outside the U.S. (e.g. Japan), non-financial services companies are permitted within the holding company. In this scenario, each company still looks independent, and has its own customers, etc. In the other style, a bank would simply create its own brokerage division or insurance division and attempt to sell those products to its own existing customers, with incentives for combining all things with one company.

Banks

Commercial banking services

A commercial bank is what is commonly referred to as simply a bank. The term "commercial" is used to distinguish it from an investment bank, a type of financial services entity which instead of lending money directly to a business, helps businesses raise money from other firms in the form of bonds (debt) or stock (equity).

The primary operations of commercial banks include:

  • Keeping money safe while also allowing withdrawals when needed
  • Issuance of chequebooks so that bills can be paid and other kinds of payments can be delivered by the post
  • Provide personal loans, commercial loans, and mortgage loans (typically loans to purchase a home, property or business)
  • Issuance of credit cards and processing of credit card transactions and billing
  • Issuance of debit cards for use as a substitute for cheques
  • Allow financial transactions at branches or by using Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)
  • Provide wire transfers of funds and Electronic fund transfers between banks
  • Facilitation of standing orders and direct debits, so payments for bills can be made automatically
  • Provide overdraft agreements for the temporary advancement of the bank's own money to meet monthly spending commitments of a customer in their current account.
  • Provide internet banking system to facilitate the customers to view and operate their respective accounts through internet.
  • Provide charge card advances of the bank's own money for customers wishing to settle credit advances monthly.
  • Provide a check guaranteed by the bank itself and prepaid by the customer, such as a cashier's check or certified check.
  • Notary service for financial and other documents
  • Accepting the deposits from customer and provide the credit facilities to them.
  • Sell investment products like mutual funds Etc.

The United States is the largest location for commercial banking services.

Investment banking services

New York City and London are the largest centers of investment banking services. NYC is dominated by U.S. domestic business, while in London international business and commerce make up a significant portion of investment banking activity.[5]

Foreign exchange services

Foreign exchange services are provided by many banks and specialist foreign exchange brokers around the world. Foreign exchange services include:

  • Currency exchange - where clients can purchase and sell foreign currency banknotes.
  • Wire transfer - where clients can send funds to international banks abroad.
  • Remittance - where clients that are migrant workers send money back to their home country.

London handled 36.7% of global currency transactions in 2009 – an average daily turnover of US$1.85 trillion – with more US dollars traded in London than New York, and more Euros traded than in every other city in Europe combined.[6][7][8][9][10]

Investment services

  • Investment management - the term usually given to describe companies which run collective investment funds. Also refers to services provided by others, generally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as Registered Investment Advisors. Investment banking financial services focus on creating capital through client investments.
  • Hedge fund management - Hedge funds often employ the services of "prime brokerage" divisions at major investment banks to execute their trades.
  • Custody services - the safe-keeping and processing of the world's securities trades and servicing the associated portfolios. Assets under custody in the world are approximately US$100 trillion.[11]

New York City is the largest center of investment services, followed by London.[12]

Insurance

  • Insurance brokerage - Insurance brokers shop for insurance (generally corporate property and casualty insurance) on behalf of customers. Recently a number of websites have been created to give consumers basic price comparisons for services such as insurance, causing controversy within the industry.[13]
  • Insurance underwriting - Personal lines insurance underwriters actually underwrite insurance for individuals, a service still offered primarily through agents, insurance brokers, and stock brokers. Underwriters may also offer similar commercial lines of coverage for businesses. Activities include insurance and annuities, life insurance, retirement insurance, health insurance, and property insurance and casualty insurance.
  • Finance & Insurance - a service still offered primarily at asset dealerships. The F&I manager encompasses the financing and insuring of the asset which is sold by the dealer. F&I is often called "the second gross" in dealerships who have adopted the model
  • Reinsurance - Reinsurance is insurance sold to insurers themselves, to protect them from catastrophic losses.

The United States, followed by Japan and the United Kingdom are the largest insurance markets in the world.[14]

Other financial services

  • Bank cards - include both credit cards and debit cards. According to the Nilson Report, JP Morgan Chase is the largest issuer of bank cards.[15]
  • Credit card machine services and networks - Companies which provide credit card machine and payment networks call themselves "merchant card providers".
  • Intermediation or advisory services - These services involve stockbrokers (private client services). Stock brokers assist investors in buying or selling shares. Primarily internet-based companies are often referred to as discount brokerages, although many now have branch offices to assist clients. These brokerages primarily target individual investors. Full service and private client firms primarily assist and execute trades for clients with large amounts of capital to invest, such as large companies, wealthy individuals, and investment management funds.
  • Private equity - Private equity funds are typically closed-end funds, which usually take controlling equity stakes in businesses that are either private, or taken private once acquired. Private equity funds often use leveraged buyouts (LBOs) to acquire the firms in which they invest. The most successful private equity funds can generate returns significantly higher than provided by the equity markets.
  • Venture capital is a type of private equity capital typically provided by professional, outside investors to new, high-growth-potential companies in the interest of taking the company to an IPO or trade sale of the business.
  • Angel investment - An angel investor or angel (known as a business angel or informal investor in Europe), is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. A small but increasing number of angel investors organize themselves into angel groups or angel networks to share resources and pool their investment capital.
  • Conglomerates - A financial services company, such as a universal bank, that is active in more than one sector of the financial services market e.g. life insurance, general insurance, health insurance, asset management, retail banking, wholesale banking, investment banking, etc. A key rationale for the existence of such businesses is the existence of diversification benefits that are present when different types of businesses are aggregated. As a consequence, economic capital for a conglomerate is usually substantially less than economic capital is for the sum of its parts.
  • Financial market utilities - Organisations that are part of the infrastructure of financial services, such as stock exchanges, clearing houses, derivative and commodity exchanges and payment systems such as real-time gross settlement systems or interbank networks.
  • Debt resolution is a consumer service that assists individuals that have too much debt to pay off as requested, but do not want to file bankruptcy and wish to pay off their debts owed. This debt can be accrued in various ways including but not limited to personal loans, credit cards or in some cases merchant accounts.

Financial exports

A financial export is a financial service provided by a domestic firm (regardless of ownership) to a foreign firm or individual. While financial services such as banking, insurance and investment management are often seen as a domestic service, an increasing proportion of financial services are now being handled abroad, in other financial centres, for a variety of reasons. Some smaller financial centres, such as Bermuda, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands, lack sufficient size for a domestic financial services sector and have developed a role providing services to non-residents as offshore financial centres. The increasing competitiveness of financial services has meant that some countries, such as Japan, which were once self-sufficient, have increasingly imported financial services.

The leading financial exporter, in terms of exports less imports, is the United Kingdom, which had $95 billion of financial exports in 2014.[16] The UK's position is helped by both unique institutions (such as Lloyd's of London for insurance, the Baltic Exchange for shipping etc.)[17] and an environment that attracts foreign firms;[18] many international corporations have global or regional headquarters in the London and are listed on the London Stock Exchange, and many banks and other financial institutions operate there or in Edinburgh.[19][20]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Financial Services: Getting the Goods". IMF. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Bill Summary & Status 106th Congress (1999 - 2000) S.900 CRS Summary - Thomas (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2011-02-08.
  3. ^ "Private Banking definition". Investor Words.com. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  4. ^ "How Swiss Bank Accounts Work". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  5. ^ Roberts, Richard (2008). The City: A Guide to London's Global Financial Centre. Economist. p. 2.
  6. ^ "Research and statistics FAQ". The City of London. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Triennial Central Bank Survey - Foreign exchange and derivatives market activity in 2004" (PDF). Bank for International Settlements. March 2005. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  8. ^ "Key facts Archived 4 June 2012 at Archive.today", Corporation of London. Retrieved 19 June 2006.
  9. ^ European Central Bank (July 2017) "The international role of the euro". European Central Bank. p. 28.
  10. ^ Chatsworth Communications (April 6, 2016) "London's leading position as a USD 2.2 trillion hub for FX trading would be harmed by a Brexit, according to poll of currency market professionals". Chatsworth Communications.
  11. ^ "Prudential: Securities Processing Primer" (PDF). cm1.prusec.com.
  12. ^ "Asset Management in the UK 2016-2017" (PDF). The Investment Management Association. September 2017. p. 12. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Price comparison sites face probe". BBC News. 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  14. ^ "UK Insurance & Long Term Savings Key Facts 2015" (PDF). Association of British Insurers. September 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  15. ^ "The Nilson Report - News and Statistics for Card and Mobile Payment Executives".
  16. ^ "UK trade surplus in financial services highest ever". TheCityUK. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  17. ^ Clark, David (2003). Urban world/global city. Routledge. pp. 174–176. ISBN 0415320976; Shubik, Martin (1999). The theory of money and financial institutions. MIT Press. p. 8. ISBN 0262693119.
  18. ^ Roberts, Richard (2008). The City: A Guide to London's Global Financial Centre. Economist. pp. 1–22.
  19. ^ "UK's financial services trade surplus biggest in the world, dwarfing its nearest rivals". TheCityUK. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Special report on services exports" (PDF). EY Item Club. June 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2015.

Further reading

  • Porteous, Bruce T.; Pradip Tapadar (December 2005). Economic Capital and Financial Risk Management for Financial Services Firms and Conglomerates. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-3608-0.

External links

AMP Limited

AMP is a financial services company in Australia and New Zealand providing superannuation and investment products, insurance, financial advice and banking products including home loans and savings accounts. AMP shares are included in the Australian Securities Exchange's S&P/ASX 50 index. Its headquarters are in Sydney, Australia.

The Australian Mutual Provident Society was formed in 1849 as a non-profit life insurance company and mutual society. In 1998, it was demutualised into an Australian public company, AMP Limited, and listed on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges.

AMP has one of Australia’s largest shareholder registers, with most shareholders living in Australia and New Zealand. This is because when the society demutualised, all policy holders received shares in the new company.

In 2003, the company demerged its UK operations, creating the Henderson Group.

On 20 April 2018 Craig Meller resigned as CEO after it was revealed in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry that AMP charged clients for financial advice which was not provided, and misled the Australian Securities & Investments Commission on numerous occasions. More than $1 billion in market value was stripped from AMP shares as news of the company's failings were revealed before the Royal Commission. In the wake of revelations at the banking royal commission and his resignation from AMP, Meller resigned as a financial services adviser to the Turnbull government.

Ally Financial

Ally Financial is a bank holding company organized in Delaware and headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. The company provides financial services including car finance, online banking via a direct bank, corporate lending, vehicle insurance, mortgages, credit cards, and an electronic trading platform to trade financial assets.

Ally is ranked 19th on the list of largest banks in the United States by assets, is the largest car finance company in the U.S. by volume, and serves over 6 million customers. Via its SmartAuction online marketplace for auto auctions, launched in 2000, the company has sold more than 5 million vehicles including 281,000 vehicles sold in 2018.The company was known as GMAC, an acronym for General Motors Acceptance Corporation, until 2010.

Bank regulation

Bank regulation is a form of government regulation which subjects banks to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, designed to create market transparency between banking institutions and the individuals and corporations with whom they conduct business, among other things. As regulation focusing on key actors in the financial markets, it forms one of the three components of financial law, the other two being case law and self-regulating market practices.Given the interconnectedness of the banking industry and the reliance that the national (and global) economy hold on banks, it is important for regulatory agencies to maintain control over the standardized practices of these institutions. Supporters of such regulation often base their arguments on the "too big to fail" notion. This holds that many financial institutions (particularly investment banks with a commercial arm) hold too much control over the economy to fail without enormous consequences. This is the premise for government bailouts, in which government financial assistance is provided to banks or other financial institutions who appear to be on the brink of collapse. The belief is that without this aid, the crippled banks would not only become bankrupt, but would create rippling effects throughout the economy leading to systemic failure. Compliance with bank regulations is verified by personnel known as

Bombay Stock Exchange

The Bombay Stock Exchange (Marathi: मुंबई रोखे बाजार, Hindi: बंबई स्टॉक एक्सचेंज) (BSE) is an Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Mumbai.

Established in 1875, the BSE (formerly known as Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd.) is Asia's first stock exchange. The BSE is the world's 10th largest stock exchange with an overall market capitalization of more than $4.9 trillion on as of April 2018.

Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments Inc., commonly referred to as Fidelity, earlier as Fidelity Management & Research or FMR, is a multinational financial services corporation based in Boston, Massachusetts.

It is one of the largest asset managers with $2.46 trillion in assets under management as of March 2018. Fidelity Investments operates a brokerage firm, manages a large family of mutual funds, provides fund distribution and investment advice, retirement services, wealth management, securities execution and clearance, and life insurance.

Financial Services Authority

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) was a quasi-judicial body responsible for the regulation of the financial services industry in the United Kingdom between 2001 and 2013. It was founded as the Securities and Investments Board (SIB) in 1985. Its board was appointed by the Treasury, although it operated independently of government. It was structured as a company limited by guarantee and was funded entirely by fees charged to the financial services industry.Due to perceived regulatory failure of the banks during the financial crisis of 2007–2008, the UK government decided to restructure financial regulation and abolish the FSA. On 19 December 2012, the Financial Services Act 2012 received royal assent, abolishing the FSA with effect from 1 April 2013. Its responsibilities were then split between two new agencies: the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority of the Bank of England.

Until its abolition, Lord Turner of Ecchinswell was the FSA's chairman and Hector Sants was CEO until the end of June 2012, having announced his resignation on 16 March 2012.Its main office was in Canary Wharf, London, with another office in Edinburgh. When acting as the competent authority for listing of shares on a stock exchange, it was referred to as the UK Listing Authority (UKLA), and maintained the Official List.

Financial institution

Financial institutions, otherwise known as banking institutions, are corporations that provide services as intermediaries of financial markets. Broadly speaking, there are three major types of financial institutions:

Depository institutions – deposit-taking institutions that accept and manage deposits and make loans, including banks, building societies, credit unions, trust companies, and mortgage loan companies;

Contractual institutions – insurance companies and pension funds

Investment institutions – investment banks, underwriters, brokerage firms.Financial institutions can be distinguished broadly into two categories according to ownership structure:

Commercial Banks

Cooperative BanksSome experts see a trend toward homogenisation of financial institutions, meaning a tendency to invest in similar areas and have similar business strategies. A consequence of this might be fewer banks serving specific target groups, and small-scale producers may be under-served.

Financial regulation

Financial regulation is a form of regulation or supervision, which subjects financial institutions to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, aiming to maintain the integrity of the financial system. This may be handled by either a government or non-government organization. Financial regulation has also influenced the structure of banking sectors by increasing the variety of financial products available. Financial regulation forms one of three legal categories which constitutes the content of financial law, the other two being market practices, case law.

Financial technology

Financial technology, often shortened to FinTech or fintech, is the new technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services. It is an emerging industry that uses technology to improve activities in finance. The use of smartphones for mobile banking, investing services and cryptocurrency are examples of technologies aiming to make financial services more accessible to the general public. Financial technology companies consist of both startups and established financial institutions and technology companies trying to replace or enhance the usage of financial services provided by existing financial companies. Many existing financial institutions are implementing Fintech solutions and technologies in order to improve and develop their services, as well as gaining an improved competitive stance.

Macquarie Group

Macquarie Group Limited () is an Australian multinational independent investment bank and financial services company. Headquartered and listed in Australia (ASX:MQG), Macquarie employs more than 14,000 staff in 25 countries, is the world's largest infrastructure asset manager and Australia's top ranked mergers and acquisitions adviser, with more than $A495 billion in assets under management. The company's operating groups include Macquarie Asset Management and Macquarie Capital.

Macquarie holds a number of licences enabling it to conduct activities in the jurisdictions in which it operates and is regulated by a significant number of regulators globally. In Australia, Macquarie Bank Limited holds a banking licence and as an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADI), is supervised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). Other key Australian regulators include the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and AUSTRAC. Globally, key regulators include the UK FCA and PRA, US CFTC, FINRA, NFA, FERC, SEC and Federal Reserve Board, IIROC, MAS, Hong Kong SFC, HKMA, SEBI, Japan FSA, Korean FSS and New Zealand FMA.

Macquarie's philanthropic arm, the Macquarie Group Foundation, has contributed more than $A330 million globally since 1985 with its community investment strategy “to support social innovation, and to strengthen the impact of non-profit organisations by funding capacity building and collaboration.”The firm's collection of artworks, the Macquarie Group Collection, established in 1987 to support emerging artists and displayed in more than 30 Macquarie offices worldwide, is one of world's largest corporate collections of Australian art comprising more than 750 individual works.

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is an American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered at 1585 Broadway in the Morgan Stanley Building, Midtown Manhattan, New York City. With offices in more than 42 countries and more than 55,000 employees, the firm's clients include corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. Morgan Stanley ranked No. 67 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.The original Morgan Stanley, formed by J.P. Morgan & Co. partners Henry Sturgis Morgan (grandson of J.P. Morgan), Harold Stanley and others, came into existence on September 16, 1935, in response to the Glass–Steagall Act that required the splitting of commercial and investment banking businesses. In its first year the company operated with a 24% market share (US$1.1 billion) in public offerings and private placements.

The current Morgan Stanley is the result of merger of the original Morgan Stanley with Dean Witter Discover & Co. in 1997. Dean Witter's Chairman and CEO, Philip J. Purcell, became the Chairman and CEO of the newly merged "Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Discover & Co." Eventually, the new firm changed its name back to "Morgan Stanley" in 2001. The main areas of business for the firm today are institutional securities, wealth management and investment management.

NASDAQ

The Nasdaq Stock Market ( (listen), also known as Nasdaq) is an American stock exchange. It is the second-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, behind only the New York Stock Exchange located in the same city. The exchange platform is owned by Nasdaq, Inc., which also owns the Nasdaq Nordic (formerly known as OMX) and Nasdaq Baltic stock market network and several U.S. stock and options exchanges.

PNC Financial Services

PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (stylized as PNC) is a bank holding company and financial services corporation based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its banking subsidiary, PNC Bank, operates in 19 states and the District of Columbia with 2,459 branches and 9,051 ATMs. The company also provides financial services such as asset management, wealth management, estate planning, loan servicing, and information processing.PNC is ranked 9th on the list of largest banks in the United States by assets. It is the 5th largest bank by number of branches, 6th largest by deposits, and 4th largest in number of ATMs.The name "PNC" is derived from the initials of both of the bank's two predecessor companies: Pittsburgh National Corporation and Provident National Corporation, which merged in 1983.

Sequoia Capital

Sequoia Capital is an American venture capital firm. The firm is located in Menlo Park, California and mainly focuses on the technology industry. It has backed companies that now control $1.4 trillion of combined stock market value. Sequoia manages multiple investment funds including funds specific to India, Israel, and China.

The Hartford

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., usually known as The Hartford, is a United States-based investment and insurance company. The Hartford is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in its namesake city of Hartford, Connecticut. It was ranked 156th position in Fortune 500 in the year of 2018. The company’s earnings are divided between property-and-casualty operations, group benefits and mutual funds.

The Hartford is the 12th-largest property and casualty company in the United States. They sell products primarily through a network of agents and brokers, and have also been the auto and home insurance writer for AARP members for more than 25 years.

UBS

UBS Group AG is a Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company founded and based in Switzerland. Co-headquartered in the cities of Zürich and Basel, it maintains a presence in all major financial centers as the largest Swiss banking institution in the world. UBS client services are known for their strict bank–client confidentiality and culture of banking secrecy. The bank's large positions in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific markets make it a global systemically important financial institution.

UBS was founded in 1862 as the Bank in Winterthur alongside the advent of the Swiss banking industry. During the 1890s, the Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) was founded, forming a private banking syndicate that expanded aided by Switzerland's international neutrality. The Bank of Winterthur merged with Toggenburger Bank in 1912 to form the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) and grew rapidly after the Banking Law of 1934 codified Swiss banking secrecy. Following decades of market competition between the SBC and UBS, the two merged in 1998 to create a single company known solely as "UBS". During the early 2000s, the commensurate rise of UBS and Credit Suisse established a legally-sanctioned oligopoly on Swiss private market activity. After UBS managed heavy losses during the 2008 financial crisis with an asset relief recovery program, it was hit with the 2011 rogue trader scandal resulting in a US$2 billion trading loss. In 2012 the bank reoriented itself around wealth management and limited its sell side operations.

Apart from private banking, UBS provides wealth management, asset management, and investment banking services for private, corporate, and institutional clients with international service. UBS manages the largest amount of private wealth in the world, counting approximately half of the world's billionaires among its clients. Despite its trimming of sell side operations, UBS is among the world's nine "Bulge Bracket" investment banks and is considered a global primary market maker. The bank also maintains numerous underground bank vaults, bunkers, and storage facilities for gold bars around the Swiss Alps and internationally. Partly due to its banking secrecy, it has been at the center of numerous tax avoidance investigations undertaken by U.S., French, German, Israeli, and Belgian authorities. UBS operations in Switzerland and the United States were ranked first and second, respectively, on the 2018 Financial Secrecy Index.

As of 2017, UBS is the 11th largest bank in Europe with a market capitalization of $64.5 billion. It has over CHF 3.2 trillion in assets under management (AUM), approximately CHF 2.8 trillion of which are invested assets. In June 2017, its return on invested capital was 11.1%, followed by Goldman Sachs' 9.5%, and JPMorgan Chase's 9.2%. In late 2016, UBS established a blockchain technology research lab in London to advance its cyber security and encryption of client activities. Based on regional deal flow and political influence, UBS is considered one of the "biggest, most powerful financial institutions in the world". The company's capital strength, security protocols, and reputation for discretion has yielded a substantial market share in banking and high level of brand loyalty. Alternatively, it receives routine criticism for facilitating tax noncompliance and off-shore financing.

United States House Committee on Financial Services

The United States House Committee on Financial Services, also referred to as the House Banking Committee and formerly known as the Committee on Banking and Currency, is the committee of the United States House of Representatives that oversees the entire financial services industry, including the securities, insurance, banking and housing industries. The Financial Services Committee also oversees the work of the Federal Reserve, the United States Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial services regulators. It is currently chaired by Democrat Maxine Waters from California. Waters was elected as chair of the committee, and assumed office on January 3, 2019.

Volkswagen Group

Volkswagen AG (German: [ˈfɔlksˌvaːgn̩]), known internationally as the Volkswagen Group, is a German multinational automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany and indirectly majority owned by the Austrian Porsche-Piëch family. It designs, manufactures and distributes passenger and commercial vehicles, motorcycles, engines, and turbomachinery and offers related services including financing, leasing and fleet management. In 2016, it was the world's largest automaker by sales, overtaking Toyota and keeping this title in 2017 and 2018, selling 10.8 million vehicles. It has maintained the largest market share in Europe for over two decades. It ranked seventh in the 2018 Fortune Global 500 list of the world's largest companies.

Volkswagen Group sells passenger cars under the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and the flagship Volkswagen marques; motorcycles under the Ducati brand; and TRATON (commercial vehicles, trucks, and buses) under the marques MAN, Scania, and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. It is divided into two primary divisions, the Automotive Division and the Financial Services Division, and as of 2008 had approximately 342 subsidiary companies. Volkswagen also has two major joint-ventures in China (FAW-Volkswagen and SAIC Volkswagen). The company has operations in approximately 150 countries and operates 100 production facilities across 27 countries.

Volkswagen was founded in 1937, to manufacture the car which would become known as the Beetle. The company's production grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, and in 1965 it acquired Auto Union, which subsequently produced the first post-war Audi models. Volkswagen launched a new generation of front-wheel drive vehicles in the 1970s, including the Passat, Polo and Golf; the latter became its bestseller. Volkswagen acquired a controlling stake in SEAT in 1986, making it the first non-German marque of the company, and acquired control of Škoda in 1994, of Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti in 1998, Scania in 2008 and of Ducati, MAN and Porsche in 2012. The company's operations in China have grown rapidly in the past decade with the country becoming its largest market. In June 2018, Volkswagen Trucks and Buses which comprises the MAN, Scania, and RIO truck brands are renamed to TRATON AG but the marques will not change, said by Andreas Renschler.

Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft is a public company and has a primary listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, where it is a constituent of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index, and secondary listings on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, SIX Swiss Exchange. It has been traded in the United States via American depositary receipts since 1988, currently on the OTC Marketplace. Volkswagen delisted from the London Stock Exchange in 2013. The state of Lower Saxony holds 12.7% of the company's shares, granting it 20% of the voting rights.

Zurich Insurance Group

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. is a Swiss insurance company, commonly known as Zurich, headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland. The company is Switzerland's largest insurer. As of 2017, the group is the world's 91st largest public company according to Forbes' Global 2000s list, and in 2011 it ranked 94th in Interbrand's top 100 brands.Zurich is a global insurance company which is organized into three core business segments: General Insurance, Global Life and Farmers. Zurich employs almost 54,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries and territories around the globe. The company is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. As of 2012 it had shareholders' equity of $34.494 billion.

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