US banks extend lead over European rivals

Top five US banks have taken 33.5% of global investment banking fee pool so far this year

US banks are moving ahead of their European rivals in global investment banking, taking advantage of strategic upheavals and concerns over capital to pile on market share.

The top five US banks have taken 33.5 per cent of the global investment banking fee pool so far this year, according to Dealogic. This is almost double the five highest ranked European banks, at 17.2 per cent. The gap between the combined shares of the groups is now the widest since 2009, when the industry was beginning to recover from the Lehman crisis.

The Europeans' retreat from investment banking activities – advising on mergers and supporting capital raisings – has been deliberate to some extent, with UBS, Barclays and Deutsche Bank seeing smaller, leaner investment banks as a way to improve returns to shareholders.

Lower fees

Shrinking can impair banks’ ability to underwrite big equity or bond deals or carry out other complex transactions, which inevitably leads to lower fees.


The US banks have benefited from stability at the top. While three of the top five European banks have removed their chief executives within the past few months, for example, none of the top five US banks has made a change since Mike Corbat replaced Vikram Pandit at the helm of Citigroup almost three years ago. The remaining four US chiefs – Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan, Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs, James Gorman at Morgan Stanley and Brian Moynihan at Bank of America – have a combined 28 years of service between them.

By contrast, Credit Suisse swapped Brady Dougan for Tidjane Thiam in July, Deutsche Bank replaced its co-chief executives with John Cryan, and Barclays is looking for a permanent successor to Antony Jenkins. All three of those banks have a lower share of global investment banking fees this year than in 2014 and 2013. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2015