A syndicate is a self-organizing group of individuals, companies, corporations or entities formed to transact some specific business, to pursue or promote a shared interest.


The word ''syndicate'' comes from the French word ''syndicat'' which means " trade union" ('' syndic'' meaning "administrator"), from the Latin word ''syndicus'' which in turn comes from the
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. * Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancesto ...
word σύνδικος (''syndikos''), which means "caretaker of an issue"; compare to
ombudsman An ombudsman (, also ,), ombud, ombuds, ombudswoman, ombudsperson or public advocate is an official who is usually appointed by the government or by parliament (usually with a significant degree of independence) to investigate complaints and at ...
or representative.


The ''Merriam Webster Dictionary'' defines syndicate as a group of people or businesses that work together as a team. This may be a council or body or association of people or an association of concerns, officially authorized to undertake a duty or negotiate business with an office or jurisdiction. It may mean an association of racketeers in organized crime. It may refer to a business concern that sells materials for publication (newspaper, radio, TV, internet) in a number of outlets simultaneously, or a group of newspapers under one management.

Labor syndicates

A syndicate, labor syndicate or worker's syndicate can also mean a trade union. This usage mirrors the common meaning of the word's etymological cousins in languages such as French and Spanish.

Worker-managed enterprise

In this sense, the term is also associated with anarchist theory, specifically
anarcho-syndicalism Anarcho-syndicalism is a political philosophy and anarchist school of thought that views revolutionary industrial unionism or syndicalism as a method for workers in capitalist society to gain control of an economy and thus control influence i ...
, in which trade unions form an alternative to both the nation state and capitalist corporations. Anarchists, syndicalists, and other libertarian socialists use the word "syndicate" to refer to an enterprise managed by its workers. Such an enterprise is governed by a face-to-face meeting of everyone who works there, in which each worker has one vote. Either there are no managers, or the managers are directly elected and recallable. In either case, the most important decisions are made collectively by the whole workforce. This is known as
workers' self-management Workers' self-management, also referred to as labor management and organizational self-management, is a form of organizational management based on self-directed work processes on the part of an organization's workforce. Self-management is a de ...

Crime syndicates

Crime syndicates are formed to coordinate, promote, and engage in
organized crime Organized crime (or organised crime) is a category of transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals to engage in illegal activity, most commonly for profit. While organized crime is generally th ...
, running common illegal businesses on a subnational, national, or international scale. The subunit of the syndicate is a
crime family A crime family is a unit of an organized crime syndicate, particularly in Italian organized crime and especially in the Sicilian Mafia and Italian American Mafia, often operating within a specific geographic territory or a specific set of activi ...
or clan, organized by blood relationships, as seen in the Italian Mafia and the Italian American Mafia crime families (the
Five Families The Five Families refers to five major New York City organized crime families of the Italian American Mafia formed in 1931 by Salvatore Maranzano following his victory in the Castellammarese War. Maranzano reorganized the Italian American gan ...
dominating New York City crime, namely, the
Gambino crime family The Gambino crime family (pronounced ) is an Italian-American Mafia crime family and one of the " Five Families" that dominate organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the ...
Genovese crime family The Genovese crime family, () also sometimes referred to as the Westside, is an Italian-American Mafia crime family and one of the "Five Families" that dominate organized crime activities in New York City and New Jersey as part of the American Ma ...
Lucchese crime family The Lucchese crime family (pronounced ) is an Italian-American Mafia crime family and one of the "Five Families" that dominate organized crime activities in New York City, in the United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as ...
, Bonanno crime family, and the
Colombo crime family The Colombo crime family (, ) is an Italian American Mafia crime family and is the youngest of the "Five Families" that dominate organized crime activities in New York City within the criminal organization known as the American Mafia. It was duri ...

Media syndicates

In media, syndicates are organizations by name and credit. For example, BBC Radio International is a radio syndicated business. A news ticker, residing in the lower third of the television screen image, usually shows syndicated news stories.
Print syndication Print syndication distributes news articles, columns, political cartoons, comic strips and other features to newspapers, magazines and websites. The syndicates offer reprint rights and grant permissions to other parties for republishing content ...
news article An article or piece is a written work published in a print or electronic medium. It may be for the purpose of propagating news, research results, academic analysis, or debate. News articles A news article discusses current or recent news of e ...
s, columns,
comic strip A comic strip is a sequence of drawings, often cartoons, arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions. Traditionally, throughout the 20th and into the 21st c ...
s, and other features to
newspapers A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields such as p ...
magazines A magazine is a periodical publication, generally published on a regular schedule (often weekly or monthly), containing a variety of content. They are generally financed by advertising, purchase price, prepaid subscriptions, or by a combinati ...
and websites. They offer reprint rights and grant permissions to other parties for republishing content of which they own/represent copyrights.

Business syndicates

A group formed of several business entities, like companies or
corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal context) and re ...
s, which share common interests in a market but usually are not direct competitors. Larger companies or corporations form syndicates to strengthen their position in the market.
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, pub ...
companies and corporations, focusing on various
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, pub ...
ventures, tend to form syndicates within their own group, with direct competitors involved. In such cases, they share a certain type of market, like
brand management In marketing, brand management begins with an analysis on how a brand is currently perceived in the market, proceeds to planning how the brand should be perceived if it is to achieve its objectives and continues with ensuring that the brand is pe ...
or search engine optimization, and usually form a Conglomerate Syndicate. They may be syndicated nationally or internationally.

Sales syndicates

A sales syndicate is a
cartel A cartel is a group of independent market participants who collude with each other in order to improve their profits and dominate the market. Cartels are usually associations in the same sphere of business, and thus an alliance of rivals. Mos ...
with a joint sales agency. Such combinations were widespread before the Second World War. The organizational merger of the sales departments of the individual enterprises caused an increased dependence of the cartel member on the cartel administration. This in trend stabilized these combinations. Some headquarters and other premises of these syndicate cartels have remained up to the present via their monument status as historical buildings.

Finance syndicates

In finance, a bank syndicate, often referred to simply as a syndicate, is a group of banks lending a usually large amount of money for a specific purpose and to one single borrower. Syndicated loans are loans underwritten by a bank syndicate and are more common in the US, where financial markets are in corporate ownership rather than private equity markets as in Europe or South America.

Insurance syndicates

Insurance contracts (contracts of indemnity) processed under the syndicate form of business organization date to the Hammurabi Code. The notion of insurance syndicate as a process for supplying indemnity was first codified in Lex Rhodia and is still used today as shipping's Law of General Average.

The Insurance Syndicate as Distinguished from the Corporate Insurer

It is canon to the operation of the insurance syndicate that the liability of the suppliers of surplus is several and not joint. This means that members or subscribers at insurance syndicates obligate themselves to a precise individual separate and several liability rather a joint liability. Insurance syndicates are not "incorporated" and may not be incorporated: the US Supreme Court has held in Roby v Lloyd'sRoby v Lloyd's; 996 F.2d 1353, 61 USLW 2796, Fed. Sec. L. Rep. P 97,458, RICO Bus.Disp.Guide 8307, 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 13089 that insurance syndicates have no separate existence. Today, insurance syndicates seem present in three forms:

The UK-based Lloyd's of London Insurance Exchange Model

Some insurance markets such as
Lloyd's of London Lloyd's of London, generally known simply as Lloyd's, is an insurance and reinsurance market located in London, England. Unlike most of its competitors in the industry, it is not an insurance company; rather, Lloyd's is a corporate body gove ...
provide insurance coverage underwritten by syndicates of investors who bear the full liability for meeting the costs of any claims. Each member of the syndicate has several liability which is a full and unfettered liability for the costs and expenses for the consequences of the underwriting entered into by the syndicate.

The US-based Insurance Exchange Model

In the United States there are four major insurance syndicates that supply indemnity through the several liability of their syndicate names - which are called subscribing members. * United Services Automobile Association; * Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club; * Erie Indemnity Company; * Farmers Group Inc; These types of insurance syndicates are operated by Attorneys-in-Fact.

Unregulated governmental and industrial insurance syndicates

Because these arrangements are neither public nor regulated, they are hard to describe and attribute. But upon information and belief, there are thousands of such arrangements in existence around the world where risks are shared by affinity/governmental/industrial groups on a several liability basis.

Lottery syndicates

Lottery syndicates are formed to pool tickets thus increasing the chances of winning. Lottery syndicates are more common in the UK and Europe in general. They are legal in the US, but legal problems are regularly reported.


Researchers argue that syndicates may reduce the potential for market failure in crowdfunding, a method that allows creators to raise funds for projects from many different investors through online platforms. Equity crowdfunding allows creators to issue equity to investors when they make an investment in the project. In equity crowdfunding, information asymmetry between the creator and investor may result in a variety of problems and, in some cases, market failure.Agrawal, Ajay, Christian Catalini, and Avi Goldfarb. "Are Syndicates the Killer App of Equity Crowdfunding?" ''California Management Review'' (2015): 1-1

A syndicate can be started by an individual, angel investor, or venture capitalist. An individual who wants to form a syndicate creates an investment strategy and discloses it on a crowdfunding platform. Other investors can choose to back the individual, who is the leader. The backing investors must follow the leader's investment strategy and pay them a fee. Syndicates do not exist on all equity crowdfunding platforms.

See also

* Syndication (disambiguation) * Syndic *
Cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-control ...
Guild A guild ( ) is an association of artisans and merchants who oversee the practice of their craft/trade in a particular area. The earliest types of guild formed as organizations of tradesmen belonging to a professional association. They sometimes ...
Learned society A learned society (; also learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exists to promote an academic discipline, profession, or a group of related disciplines such as the arts and science. Membership may ...
Professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals and organisations engaged in that profession, and the ...
* Working group


{{Real estate Types of organization Syndicalism Corporate groups