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Revenue at the world’s 10 largest investment banks rose 9%, year-on-year, to $44.9 billion in the first quarter, as financial market volatility and central bank stimulus measures boosted profits.
Trading in fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) divisions, which are particularly exposed to economic conditions, were the outperformers, up 5% on a constant dollar basis, data from industry analytics firm Coalition shows.
Revenues from FICC have slumped in recent years on the back of tougher regulations and low market volatility, that has prompted investment banks to reshape themselves, shedding staff and exiting certain business lines.
Since 2009 revenues in FICC, which make up about half of investment banks’ revenues, have declined by about 50% at the top 10 investment banks globally, data from Coalition shows.
A pick-up in activity has so far not translated into a pick-up in hiring. Across all the investment banks tracked by Coalition — which include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and UBS — headcount dipped 4%. Since 2011, headcount has fallen by 20%. May is proving to be a relatively weak month for revenue from FICC.
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