Shadow banking in developing and emerging countries (DECs) oscillates between two semantic poles. One definition is typically deployed by scholars for the narrow analysis of non-bank financial intermediation as viable alternative to banking. The other, more recent, circulates in the policy world to capture a new agenda of engineering (securities) market-based finance. The second, the paper argues, is the essential but neglected aspect of DECs shadow banking. The ‘shadow banking into market-based finance’ narrative reaffirms the celebratory tone of the financial globalization cum liberalization thesis dominant before the global financial crisis. It seeks to depoliticize contentious debates about capital flows and the constraints that globalized finance poses to development, instead asking DECs to abandon capital controls, encourage portfolio flows, relax the regulatory grip on shadow funding markets and tap into the growing global demand for securities that marks the new age of asset management.