This very useful volume provides a ‘ground up’ survey, from a business law point of view, of the concept of finance as a vital component of the economic structure of the European Communities. In deeply informed detail it describes the architecture of the financial system, its institutions (banks, stock exchanges, etc.), the variety of financial instruments, the progress of liberalisation and harmonisation initiatives in Europe, relevant EC legislation, regulation of capital markets and securities, the development of international financial law, and the management of legal risk. The authors are all outstanding authorities in the field, with extensive experience both as practitioners and academics in many European countries and elsewhere in the world. The essays in this book grew out of lecture courses delivered under the auspices of the PALLAS Consortium organised by nine universities in seven EU Member States. Among the wealth of material covered, the reader will find, among much else, precise and interrelated explanations of the following: the transferring, sharing and insuring of risks; relevant contractual arrangements; the intermediation and distribution functions of financial institutions; primary markets versus secondary markets; money markets versus capital markets; stock market ‘players’; the role of letters of credit; pension funds; and the management of payment systems; The book is especially valuable for its middle way between a ‘top down’ EU regulatory perspective and a strictly national framework—a method that supports and reinforces a practice-oriented approach corresponding to the ‘real world’ in which domestic and cross-border aspects of financial services are inevitably intertwined. Practitioners and business law students will find the book extraordinarily useful for its expert guidance and insight in clarifying many situations involving financial services and in resolving typical problems.