It's not been a good quarter for investment banking fees. Globally, they've slumped by 14% year-on-year, but in EMEA they've tumbled by nearly 22% compared to the first quarter of 2011, according to new Thomson Reuters figures.
In terms of sectors, hot spots include financials, energy & power, industrials and materials, which accounted for 64% of the fee pool in Q1. The other bright spot was debt capital markets, where fees increased by 4% year-on-year, but this was more than offset by a 22% decline in M&A and a 33% drop in equity capital markets activity.
In such a scenario, it's worth asking which investment bank is the safest bet to work for. The quick answer would be J.P Morgan, which has maintained its preeminence – globally, it's still in the number one spot and is second only to Deutsche Bank in EMEA.
However, there's also been a fair bit of movement in the EMEA league tables this quarter. One of the notable advancers was HSBC, which rose from 10th to 3rd in the rankings, and was the only bank to increase its fee income in the quarter.
EMEA has also been particularly dependent on DCM activity: "DCM fees are really driving the fee pool at the moment. In Europe they accounted for 41 per cent of activity. We usually see confidence growing first in capital markets and then it spills over into M&A later on," said Lucille Quilter, a deals intelligence analyst with Thomson Reuters.
Here are EMEA league tables in full:
Source: Thomson Reuters