What Is Investment Banking? (And the Top Investment Banks Out There)

Investment banking plays a key role in global economics. For instance, as of July 2019, JP Morgan constituted 9.0% of the global investment banking revenue. However, for the majority of us, investment banking is a mystery.

By learning about investment banking today, you’ll be ready to make informed choices if you want to improve your financial situation through IPO investing.

Read on as we answer the question: “What is investment banking?” 

What is Investment Banking? 

The duties of investment banks are completely different than traditional banking. While the traditional banks we’re used to visiting take in deposits from consumers and businesses and lend out money, investment banks sell securities. They also help finance large projects that traditional banking won’t touch due to the high risks involved.

Robert Johnson, Professor of finance at Heider College of Business, Brighton University, puts it simply. “Investment banking is a method of controlling the flow of money.” With the huge amounts of money at stake, investment banks have a key role in American economics. 

The projects they finance include: 

Large Financial Projects

Projects such as constructing infrastructure need large amounts of upfront cash. Investment banks are able to accumulate this cash by selling securities to investors. 

Company Sales

Instead of acquiring loans to gain capital, entrepreneurs who want to expand their companies sell portions of their companies to the public, or an initial public offering (IPO). Investment bankers are integral to this process, and it’s one of their most important functions. They find investors looking to buy and companies looking to sell.

Initial public offerings are risky investments – there’s no guarantee that they’ll increase in value, though some IPOs are wildly successful. However, if you’re ready to invest in an IPO, you can do so by opening a brokerage account. 

Typically, the IPO price is fixed for a limited group of investors who fit the eligibility requirements. For most investors, the price of the IPO will be higher once it begins officially trading. 

According to the investment bank UBS, out of 7,000 companies between 1975 and 2011, 60% had negative total returns after five years of public trading. Do your research, buy conservatively, and keep a balanced portfolio to mitigate your risks!

Mergers and Acquisitions

Another way that companies can expand is through mergers and acquisitions. Investment bankers will help companies buy another, which can be more cost-effective than trying to compete. 

Despite the risks, buying companies still has a lot of benefits. A company may want access to international markets through a company that’s already established in another region. A larger company may be interested in a smaller company’s technology. They may also want to integrate vertically, such as buying a supplier of materials they need. 

Asset Management and Brokerage Services

Investment bankers help clients manage their money and generate returns. They do this by choosing individual stocks or putting their money into mutual funds. 

The Top Investment Banks

These top investment banks were able to maintain and grow their market positions throughout volatile years. In terms of investment revenue, the top investment banks include: 

1. Goldman Sachs

Headquartered at 200 West Street, New York City, Goldman Sachs operates branches throughout the world in all major financial centres. In 2018, its investment banking revenue was $7.86 billion. In 2019, they had a market capitalization of $78 billion. 

2. JP Morgan

JP Morgan is the second largest investment bank in the world. In 2018, it reported $7 billion in revenue. It’s also one of the oldest financial institutions in the world with a history that goes back to 1799.

3. Bank of America

In 2019, Bank of America rebranded its investment arm to Bank of America Securities. In 2018, it’s investment banking revenue was $5.3 billion. 

4. Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is based in New York with branches in 40 different countries. In 2018, it’s totally investment banking revenues were $6.1 billion. 

5. Citigroup

Also located in New York, Citigroup Inc. had reported total revenue of $72.9 billion in 2018. It’s one of the big four banks in the United States and the third-largest bank in the world. 

6. Barclays 

Barclays Investment Bank, the investment arm of Barclays, is headquartered in London and has branches in 30 different countries. Its global investment banking fee share is approximately 4.2%. 

7. Credit Suisse

In 2018, Credit Suisse reported a net income of $1.8 billion, attributable to shareholders in the United States. Based in Zurich and established in 1856, it has branches in 50 countries. 

8. Deutsche Bank

This is the leading financial institution in Germany and one of the largest investment banks in Europe. It has about $2.5 billion in investment banking revenue and a market capitalization of $15 billion in 2019. It has branches in 60 other countries.

9. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo offers banking and investment services in 40 countries. As of 2018, it’s generated investment banking fees are $1.8 billion.

10. Jefferies Financial Group

This full-service investment bank founded in 1962 is based in New York with regional offices in London and Hong Kong. It also has offices in 30 cities throughout America, Europe, and Asia. In 2018 its investment banking revenues were $1.9 billion.

Demystifying Investment Banking

If you’ve ever asked yourself what is investment banking, you should now understand the basic premise. Investment banking is all about the flow of large amounts of money from one institution to another, and through research, analysis, and recommendations, investment bankers try to find the best deals for their clients. 

Want to read more about the state of investment banking today in the global economy? Keep reading our banking section for more informative articles. 

Deutsche Bank Near Bankruptcy, Could Retail Boss Save It?

The giant Deutsche Bank is near bankruptcy, and, according to the Financial Times, the only way to save it would be if its retail boss, Manfred Knof, could extract €1.4bn in annual cost savings and increase revenues.

The giant Deutsche Bank is near bankruptcy, and, according to the Financial Times, the only way to save it would be if its retail boss, Manfred Knof, could extract €1.4bn in annual cost savings and increase revenues.

When did it all start?

That the Deutsche Bank is near bankruptcy is now news at all. The rumors started back in 2013 when the investment bank recognized the need for capital. To obtain those funds, they sold shares worth 4,500 euros. But that wasn´t enough and, shortly after that, they offered more shared with a 30% discount. This measure, of course, enraged those who had bought shares before.

Two years after those events, it was pretty clear that the Deutsche Bank lacked money, and it faced a net loss of almost 7,000 million euros, something that hadn´t happened since the 2008 crisis.

What put the Deutsche Bank in this situation?

According to the Professor of Economics and Law William Black, what put the Deutsche Bank near bankruptcy were the mistakes and financial crimes. He literally claimed in March 2018, that the Deutsche Bank (DB) was the “largest criminal enterprise in Germany.”

Professor’s Black words caused a huge impact, and many wouldn´t take his words seriously. However, in mid-October 2019, Chicago Federal Judge John Tharp ruled that ex-DB traders can be prosecuted for alleged “spoofing,” under the wire fraud statute. This decision will enable criminal cases against two former Deutsche Bank metal traders, accusing them of spoofing trades. Allegedly, the two men had been manipulating precious metals markets from 2009 to 2011.

Seeking solutions

In the beginning, the solution to save the Deutsche Bank, the possibility of merging it with the Commerzbank, was considered. Yet, as this other German bank had enough problems on its own, German regulators discarded the possibility since merging two entities, both with huge losses, would worsen the scenario.

Drastic measures to deal with Deutsche Bank near bankruptcy

High hopes were put into the “ruthless” retail boss Manfred Knof management, who is determined to deliver results. The recently announced decisions reducing the Executive Council, performing a rigorous restructure of the investment bank, and cutting down 18,000 job positions up to 2022, are part of the strategy of reducing costs and focusing on the activities of corporate banking, financing, currency exchange, private banking, and asset management.

Regarding most cuts, Deutsche Bank has said that most of them will affect back-office staff and support roles, located in places as distant as Florida, India, the Philippines, and Germany. This massive job cuts raised uncertainty and anxiety in all its employees, although in October 8, 2019, it was announced that the Deutsche Bank had no plans to perform further job cuts.

There´s no doubt those new and drastic measures are being taken trying to maintain the giant Deutsche Bank alive – which rather than near bankruptcy seemed to be standing at the edge of the deepest of the cliffs. Will the efforts be enough? Will “Ruthless Knof” save the monster from extinction?

Could cryptocurrency be the saviour? See also about Vatican facing bankruptcy.