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Investment Center


An Investment Center is a business unit or division within an organization that has control over its own revenues, expenses, and investments in capital. It is not only responsible for its profit and loss but also for its return on investment. The overall performance of an investment center is evaluated based on its efficiency and profitability.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Investment Center” is: Investment: /ɪnˈvɛs(t)mənt/Center: /ˈsɛntər/

Key Takeaways

  1. Responsibility: One of the main aspects of an Investment Center encompass the responsibility of the center for the allocation of funds and the overall financial performance of a particular unit within the organization. The center doesn’t just overlook costs, but is also responsible for revenue and the use of company assets.
  2. Performance Evaluation: An Investment Center is used in performance evaluation, particularly in large corporations. They use factors such as return on investment (ROI), residual income, and economic value added to evaluate the performance of various divisions.
  3. Decentralization: Investment Centers contribute to the decentralization of a company. Each manager in the center has full control over their sector, making decisions regarding investments and operations. This allows for more accurate assessing of the income, costs, and profits of the department, ultimately benefiting the company’s profitability and efficiency.


Investment center is a crucial term in business and finance because it represents a section, division or department within a company that is directly responsible for generating profits as well as controlling costs and investments. Operating as a separate entity within a larger corporate structure, an investment center is crucial for performance management and evaluation, as it allows an organization to assess the income generated alongside the invested capital. Apart from income and expenditure tracking, investment centers also factor in assets management which includes both operational and investment assets. This is important as it provides a comprehensive picture of the true profitability and efficiency of a department, enabling the company to make informed decisions about resource allocation, performance improvement, and strategic planning.


An Investment Center is a business unit within an organization that has control over its own revenue generation, cost control, and has authority over decisions related to capital investment. It operates like a separate business within the overall organization, often with its own income statement and balance sheet. The purpose of an investment center is to enable more localized decision-making and accountability, to boost overall company efficiency, and generate profits. It offers a detailed level of control and evaluation of business operations dividing a large firm into smaller, more manageable units.Investment Centers serve as a tool for organizations to measure the efficiency and financial performance of their operational units. This is usually calculated by comparing the center’s profits with its used capital. For instance, if an investment center is generating higher revenue and profits using lesser capital, it is considered more efficient. Furthermore, management often uses such performance data while making decisions regarding resource allocation or capital investment. Thus, by assigning responsibilities to separate investment centers, companies can foster competition, encourage innovation, and increase cost-effectiveness across their organizational structure.


1. Asset Management Companies: An example of an investment center in business would be an asset management company like Vanguard or BlackRock. These companies are responsible for managing and investing large amounts of money on behalf of their clients. They make decisions on where to invest (which stocks, bonds, or other assets to buy), monitor the performance of these investments, and adjust their strategies as needed. 2. Business Units in Large Multinational Corporations: Large multinational corporations often have many different business units, each of which can be considered as an investment center. For example, a company like General Electric has various business units such as aviation, healthcare, renewable energy, etc. Each unit’s performance is evaluated based on its profit and the return on the investments made in the unit.3. Bank’s Investment Banking Division: A bank’s investment banking division is another example. These divisions might make investments in various sectors such as real estate, technology, healthcare or energy sector, and their performance is evaluated based on the return on these investments as well as the profitability from advising on M&A transactions or underwriting securities.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Investment Center?

An investment center is a business unit responsible for generating revenue but also significantly involved in decisions about capital investments, and hence costs.

How does an Investment Center differ from a Profit Center or a Cost Center?

Unlike a profit or cost center, an investment center is evaluated based on its return on investment and efficiently utilizing assets. While a profit center focuses solely on revenue and a cost center is concerned with minimizing expenses, an investment center sits at the junction of both, dealing with revenue, costs, and investments.

What metrics are used to evaluate the performance of an Investment Center?

Key indicators include Return on Investment (ROI), Residual Income, and Economic Value Added (EVA). These metrics help assess the efficiency and profitability of the investment center.

How does an Investment Center contribute to a company’s overall strategy?

By carefully choosing and managing investments, an investment center can strategically influence a company’s profitability and industry positioning. Good decisions can lead to growth, innovation, and increased competitive advantage.

Who usually oversees an Investment Center?

An investment center is typically overseen by a high-level manager, such as a division manager or the CEO. This individual would be responsible for making decisions regarding investments and managing assets.

Why is an Investment Center crucial in a decentralized organization?

In a decentralized organization, autonomy is granted to various business units. Investment Centers, in such a setting, are critical as they undertake decisions about capital investments, striving for profitability and effective asset utilization.

Can a department within a company be considered an Investment Center?

Yes, any unit, department, or division within a company that handles its own revenues, costs, and has control over its investment decisions can be considered an Investment Center.

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