Linkage involves buying a security on one financial exchange and selling it on another, often for profit through arbitrage. It can also refer to the collaboration between formal and informal financial institutions to provide services in underserved areas.
In the financial context, linkage involves the ability to purchase a security on one financial exchange and sell it on another exchange. This practice is not limited to a particular type of security but is commonly associated with depositary receipts, such as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). The primary advantage of linkage is that it enables investors to acquire shares of a company on a foreign exchange and later sell these shares on a domestic exchange.
Linkage vs. Dual Listing
It's essential to distinguish between linkage and dual listing on two exchanges. Linkage involves trading the same security on different exchanges, aiming to capitalize on price disparities between them. Dual listing, on the other hand, entails a company having its shares listed on two or more exchanges simultaneously, but it does not inherently imply active trading between these markets.
Linkage, especially when dealing with ADRs, can create lucrative arbitrage opportunities for investors. Arbitrage, in this context, refers to the practice of profiting from price differentials of the same security on different exchanges. For instance, an investor might buy a particular stock on one exchange at a lower price and then sell it on another exchange where the price is higher, thereby pocketing the price difference as profit.
This arbitrage activity fosters healthy competition among various exchanges and has become more accessible with the rise of electronic trading platforms.
Practical Use of Linkage
One prominent application of linkage is found in the Bitcoin (BTC) economy, where arbitrage plays a vital role. In the world of BTC trading, individual traders and automated bots actively monitor price variations across multiple Bitcoin exchanges. When they identify significant price differences between exchanges, they seize the opportunity to buy on one platform and sell on another to capitalize on the price differential.
Linkage in Microfinance
Linkage also extends its significance beyond traditional exchanges, particularly in the microfinance sector. Here, "linkages" refer to collaborations between well-established formal financial institutions and less formal, often community-based, financial entities. These alliances aim to provide financial services to underserved populations who might not have access to conventional banking services.
Formal financial institutions possess extensive infrastructures, sophisticated systems, and access to substantial funds. However, they often struggle to reach rural or economically disadvantaged clients, gather adequate information, or mitigate their risks effectively.
In contrast, informal financial institutions operate close to rural clients, possess valuable local information, and exhibit greater flexibility and innovation. Nonetheless, they lack the wide range of services and scalability characteristic of formal institutions.
By forming linkages, these two categories of financial institutions complement each other's strengths and weaknesses. This collaboration empowers them to offer essential financial services, including loans, transfers, savings instruments, and more, to millions of underserved individuals, thereby bridging financial gaps in the community.
A common example of linkage in finance is the practice of buying a security on one exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange and selling it on another exchange, such as the London Stock Exchange, where the price may be higher. This allows investors to profit from price disparities between different markets and is commonly associated with depositary receipts, such as ADRs.
Linkage is a versatile concept that spans many areas of finance and economics. From creating arbitrage opportunities in the world of BTC trading to fostering collaborations between formal and informal financial institutions, the applications of linkage are wide-ranging. By understanding how linkage works, investors can take advantage of price disparities across different markets and contribute to healthy competition among various exchanges.