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Medici, Florence, Group of Companies, Banking
The richness and the importance of Florence during the 14th and 15th centuries are well known all around the world. However only few people know that behind this richness there was a banking group - Banco de’ Medici - managed similarly to a nowadays bank colossus. This paper presents an analysis of the governance and accountability systems of this bank. Based both on precious documents of the Florence State Archive and on the existing literature, this paper offers an in-depth study of one of the earliest examples in the world of a bank holding company. In order to understand both the true nature of the Banco de’ Medici group and the links between holdings and subsidiaries, the governance and the accounting records of the main headquarters in Florence and the Lyon branch were investigated. This article contributes to literature shedding new light on the structure of this important bank, the relationship between the holding company and its subsidiaries and on the relationship between its majority and minority shareholders.