stability; players mainly focused on asset management, whose key vulnerability is the degree of open
architecture,especially in light of future MiFID 2 implementation; and players mainlyfocused on the creation
of well-structured on-line platforms,which offer also brokerage services, thereby reducing their marginality
and potentiallyincreasing their business risk.
Research limitations/implications –Despite the limited time series, the authors’researchgives some
inputs for those interested in deepening the businessmodel analysis focus on the distribution of investment
services and the business and strategic risk assessment, both for the global banks and the niche players
(banks and non-banks).
Practical implications –The authors’results couldbe of some interest during the strategicassessment
of global banksand niche players, both adopting an internal perspectiveor an external one, as regulator.
Social implications –By giving some speciﬁc insights into the assessmentand comparison of business
and strategic risks among global and niche players, the authors’research provides the basis for further
researchin the ﬁeld of the distribution of investment services.
Originality/value –The originality mainly regardsthe business model risk perspective and the focus of
the authors’analysis:the distribution of investment services. This sector, unlike the asset management,does
not have an easily recognisablegroup of comparables at European level,all the European countries analysed
have very differentbusiness models. This research avails of an originaldatabase, that is unique to Europe.
Keywords Strategic risk, Business model risk, Distribution, Bank, Business model analysis,
Investment service, Investment ﬁrms, MiFID2, Wealth management
Paper type Research paper
Business model analysis is acquiring increasing visibility not only in the literature on
business strategy (Casadeus-Masanell and Ricart, 2007;Casadeus-Masanell and Ricart,
2010;Zott et al.,2010;Teece, 2010), but also in the European ﬁnancial regulatory framework,
following the European Banking Authority (EBA) guidelines and impact analysis (EBA,
2014,2015a,2015b, 2015c) and the priorities set by the European Central Bank in its 2016
supervisory plan (ECB,2016).
In literature, the “businessmodel”concept is deﬁned as “the logic of the ﬁrm, the way the
company operates and how it creates value for its stakeholders”(Casadeus-Masanell and
The logic and the way in which the company operates are the reﬂection of the strategic
choices, and in our view, these results are ultimately visible in the company balance sheet.
This information acquires importance, if based on cross-temporal, cross-sector and cross-
country analyses,as we try to show in this work.
Some academic studies are already focused on the evolution of the banking business
models and their impact on bank stability(Altunbas et al., 2011;van Ewik and Arnold, 2013;
van Oordt and Zhou, 2014;Ayadi and De Groen, 2014;Roengpitya et al., 2014;Curi et al.,
2015;Kohler, 2015;Mergaerts and Vander Vennet, 2016); we try to contribute to this
literature, adopting anothervery speciﬁc perspective, zooming in on a single business area,
i.e. the distributionof investment services, where banks and non-banks are competitors.
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the evolution of businessmodels for the provision
of investment services in Europe, focusing our attention on the distribution side. The
distribution of investment services is a very heterogeneous, fee-based business area, where
banks of all size and non-banks are competing,in a changing regulatory frameworkfor both
banks and investment ﬁrms. To understand the real evolution and the business
sustainability, we must be able to overcome the traditional contraposition between banks
and non-banks, adopting a new perspective, based on the comparison between global and