Investment banking describes the activities of a firm conducted when serving as an intermediary between an issuer of securities and the investing public. Most of these activities are related to what is called “underwriting” whereby an investment bank commits to buy the new issue shares of a company for resale to the investing public. The majority of investment banks also maintain brokerage and trading operations for institutional and retail clients. As an investment bank, a company can use one of several agreements when assisting a company going through the process of issuing shares to the public. Investment banks will usually undertake one of the following arrangements when assisting a company in the issuance of shares: firm commitment, best efforts, or all or none. Not all of these methods guarantee that the initial public offering of stock will be successful.