DP18531 The Rise of Specialized Financial Products
The number of varieties of financial products that firms can use to raise funds from investors has rapidly expanded over the past decades. And yet, many firms issue only a few standard products, such as common stocks and bonds. This paper studies innovation in financial products using a combination of granular data on security issuance and a model of allocation of financial products to firms in specific sectors. We find three key patterns. First, the differential adoption of products across firms explains most of the observed variation in the amounts of funds raised. Second, firms that adopt new products are more successful in raising funds. Finally, most funds raised from new financial products come from a large number of distinct products that are highly specialized in that only a few firms use them. Our analysis indicates that innovation in financial markets is akin to innovation in consumer markets, which results not just in improvements in the quality of standardized products, but also in increasing varieties in a given market as products become more specialized.