Investment banking

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An Investment bank is a financial services company or corporate division that engages in advisory-based financial transactions on behalf of individuals, corporations, and governments. Traditionally associated with corporate finance, such a bank might assist in raising financial capital by underwriting or acting as the client's agent in the issuance of securities. An investment bank may also assist companies involved in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and provide ancillary services such as market making, trading of derivatives and equity securities, and FICC services (fixed income instruments, currencies, and commodities). Most investment banks maintain prime brokerage and asset management departments in conjunction with their investment research businesses. As an industry, it is broken up into the Bulge Bracket (upper tier), Middle Market (mid-level businesses), and boutique market (specialized businesses).

Financial services economic service provided by the finance industry

Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit-card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, consumer-finance companies, stock brokerages, investment funds, individual managers and some government-sponsored enterprises. Financial services companies are present in all economically developed geographic locations and tend to cluster in local, national, regional and international financial centers such as London, New York City, and Tokyo.

A normal corporate structure consists of various departments that contribute to the company's overall mission and goals. Common departments include Marketing, Finance, Operations management, Human Resource, and IT. These five divisions represent the major departments within a publicly traded company, though there are often smaller departments within autonomous firms. There is typically a CEO, and Board of Directors composed of the directors of each department. There are also company presidents, vice presidents, and CFOs. There is a great diversity in corporate forms as enterprises may range from single company to multi-corporate conglomerate. The four main corporate structures are Functional, Divisional, Geographic, and the Matrix. Realistically, most corporations tend to have a “hybrid” structure, which is a combination of different models with one dominant strategy.

Corporate finance area of finance dealing with the sources of funding and the capital structure of corporations

Corporate finance is an area of finance that deals with sources of funding, the capital structure of corporations, the actions that managers take to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders, and the tools and analysis used to allocate financial resources. The primary goal of corporate finance is to maximize or increase shareholder value. Although it is in principle different from managerial finance which studies the financial management of all firms, rather than corporations alone, the main concepts in the study of corporate finance are applicable to the financial problems of all kinds of firms.

Contents

Unlike commercial banks and retail banks, investment banks do not take deposits. From the passage of Glass–Steagall Act in 1933 until its repeal in 1999 by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, the United States maintained a separation between investment banking and commercial banks. Other industrialized countries, including G7 countries, have historically not maintained such a separation. As part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd–Frank Act of 2010), the Volcker Rule asserts some institutional separation of investment banking services from commercial banking. [1]

A commercial bank is a type of bank that provides services such as accepting deposits, making business loans, and offering basic investment products that is operated as a business for profit.

A deposit account is a savings account, current account or any other type of bank account that allows money to be deposited and withdrawn by the account holder. These transactions are recorded on the bank's books, and the resulting balance is recorded as a liability for the bank and represents the amount owed by the bank to the customer. Some banks may charge a fee for this service, while others may pay the customer interest on the funds deposited.

Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act

The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA), also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, is an act of the 106th United States Congress (1999–2001). It repealed part of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, removing barriers in the market among banking companies, securities companies and insurance companies that prohibited any one institution from acting as any combination of an investment bank, a commercial bank, and an insurance company. With the bipartisan passage of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies were allowed to consolidate. Furthermore, it failed to give to the SEC or any other financial regulatory agency the authority to regulate large investment bank holding companies. The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

All investment banking activity is classed as either "sell side" or "buy side". The "sell side" involves trading securities for cash or for other securities (e.g. facilitating transactions, market-making), or the promotion of securities (e.g. underwriting, research, etc.). The "buy side" involves the provision of advice to institutions that buy investment services. Private equity funds, mutual funds, life insurance companies, unit trusts, and hedge funds are the most common types of buy-side entities.

Sell side is a term used in the financial services industry. The three main markets for this selling are the stock, bond, and foreign exchange market. It is a general term that indicates a firm that sells investment services to asset management firms, typically referred to as the buy side, or corporate entities. One important note, the sell side and the buy side work hand in hand and each side could not exist without the other. These services encompass a broad range of activities, including broking/dealing, investment banking, advisory functions, and investment research.

Buy-side is a term used in investment firms to refer to advising institutions concerned with buying investment services. Private equity funds, mutual funds, life insurance companies, unit trusts, hedge funds, and pension funds are the most common types of buy side entities.

Private equity typically refers to investment funds, generally organized as limited partnerships, that buy and restructure companies that are not publicly traded.

An investment bank can also be split into private and public functions with a Chinese wall separating the two to prevent information from crossing. The private areas of the bank deal with private insider information that may not be publicly disclosed, while the public areas, such as stock analysis, deal with public information. An advisor who provides investment banking services in the United States must be a licensed broker-dealer and subject to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulation. [2]

Chinese wall is a business term describing an information barrier within an organization that was erected to prevent exchanges or communication that could lead to conflicts of interest. For example, a Chinese wall may be erected to separate and isolate people who make investments from those who are privy to confidential information that could improperly influence the investment decisions. Firms are generally required by law to safeguard insider information and ensure that improper trading does not occur.

In financial services, a broker-dealer is a natural person, company or other organization that engages in the business of trading securities for its own account or on behalf of its customers. Broker-dealers are at the heart of the securities and derivatives trading process.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Government agency

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an independent agency of the United States federal government. The SEC holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws, proposing securities rules, and regulating the securities industry, the nation's stock and options exchanges, and other activities and organizations, including the electronic securities markets in the United States.

History

Early history

The Dutch East India Company was the first company to issue bonds and shares of stock to the general public. It was also the first publicly traded company, being the first company to be listed on an official stock exchange. The Dutch also helped lay the foundations of the modern practice of investment banking. [3] [4] [5]

Dutch East India Company 17th-century Dutch trading company

The Dutch East India Company, officially the United East India Company was an early megacorporation founded by a government-directed amalgamation of several rival Dutch trading companies (voorcompagnieën) in the early 17th century. It was established on March 20, 1602, as a chartered company to trade with Mughal India during the period of proto-industrialization, from which 50% of textiles and 80% of silks were imported, chiefly from its most developed region known as Bengal Subah. In addition, the company traded with Indianised Southeast Asian countries when the Dutch government granted it a 21-year monopoly on the Dutch spice trade. It has been often labelled a trading company or sometimes a shipping company. However, VOC was in fact a proto-conglomerate company, diversifying into multiple commercial and industrial activities such as international trade, shipbuilding, and both production and trade of East Indian spices, Formosan sugarcane, and South African wine. The Company was a transcontinental employer and an early pioneer of outward foreign direct investment. The Company's investment projects helped raise the commercial and industrial potential of many underdeveloped or undeveloped regions of the world in the early modern period. In the early 1600s, by widely issuing bonds and shares of stock to the general public, VOC became the world's first formally listed public company. In other words, it was the first corporation to be listed on an official stock exchange. It was influential in the rise of corporate-led globalisation in the early modern period.

Bond (finance) instrument of indebtedness

In finance, a bond is an instrument of indebtedness of the bond issuer to the holders. The most common types of bonds include municipal bonds and corporate bonds.

Share (finance) single unit of ownership in a corporation, mutual fund, or any other organization

In financial markets, a share is a unit used as mutual funds, limited partnerships, and real estate investment trusts. The owner of shares in the company is a shareholder of the corporation. A share is an indivisible unit of capital, expressing the ownership relationship between the company and the shareholder. The denominated value of a share is its face value, and the total of the face value of issued shares represent the capital of a company, which may not reflect the market value of those shares.

Further developments

Investment banking has changed over the years, beginning as a partnership firm focused on underwriting security issuance, i.e. initial public offerings (IPOs) and secondary market offerings, brokerage, and mergers and acquisitions, and evolving into a "full-service" range including securities research, proprietary trading, and investment management. [6] In the 21st century, the SEC filings of the major independent investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley reflect three product segments: (1) investment banking (mergers and acquisitions, advisory services and securities underwriting), (2) asset management (sponsored investment funds), and (3) trading and principal investments (broker-dealer activities, including proprietary trading ("dealer" transactions) and brokerage trading ("broker" transactions)). [7]

Initial public offering (IPO) or stock market launch is a type of public offering in which shares of a company are sold to institutional investors and usually also retail (individual) investors; an IPO is underwritten by one or more investment banks, who also arrange for the shares to be listed on one or more stock exchanges. Through this process, colloquially known as floating, or going public, a privately held company is transformed into a public company. Initial public offerings can be used: to raise new equity capital for the company concerned; to monetize the investments of private shareholders such as company founders or private equity investors; and to enable easy trading of existing holdings or future capital raising by becoming publicly traded.

A secondary market offering, according to the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), is a registered offering of a large block of a security that has been previously issued to the public. The blocks being offered may have been held by large investors or institutions, and proceeds of the sale go to those holders, not the issuing company. Also called secondary distribution.

Securities research

Securities research is a discipline within the financial services industry. Securities research professionals are known most generally as "analysts", "research analysts", or "securities analysts"; all the foregoing terms are synonymous. Research analysts produce research reports and typically issue a recommendation: buy ("overweight"), hold, or sell ("underweight"); see target price. These reports can be accessed from a number of sources, and brokerages will often offer the reports free to their customers. Research can be categorized by the security type, as well as by whether it is buy-side research or sell-side research; analysts further focus on particular industries. Although usually associated with fundamental analysis, research also focuses on technical analysis, and reports will often include both.

In the United States, commercial banking and investment banking were separated by the Glass–Steagall Act, which was repealed in 1999. The repeal led to more "universal banks" offering an even greater range of services. Many large commercial banks have therefore developed investment banking divisions through acquisitions and hiring. Notable large banks with significant investment banks include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Barclays. After the financial crisis of 2007–08 and the subsequent passage of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, regulations have limited certain investment banking operations, notably with the Volcker Rule's restrictions on proprietary trading. [8]

The traditional service of underwriting security issues has declined as a percentage of revenue. As far back as 1960, 70% of Merrill Lynch's revenue was derived from transaction commissions while "traditional investment banking" services accounted for 5%. However, Merrill Lynch was a relatively "retail-focused" firm with a large brokerage network. [8]

Organizational structure

Core investment banking activities

Investment banking is split into front office, middle office, and back office activities. While large service investment banks offer all lines of business, both "sell side" and "buy side", smaller sell-side investment firms such as boutique investment banks and small broker-dealers focus on investment banking and sales/trading/research, respectively.

Inns issuing securities and investors buying securities. For corporations, investment bankers offer information on when and how to place their securities on the open market, an activity very important to an investment bank's reputation. Therefore, investment bankers play a very important role in issuing new security offerings. [8]

Front office

Front office is generally described as a revenue-generating role. There are two main areas within front office: investment banking and markets [9]

  • Investment banking involves advising organizations on mergers and acquisitions, as well as a wide array of capital raising strategies.
  • Markets is divided into "sales and trading" (including "structuring"), and "research".
Corporate finance

Corporate finance is the aspect of investment banks, which involves helping customers raise funds in capital markets and giving advice on mergers and acquisitions (M&A); this may involve subscribing investors to a security issuance, coordinating with bidders, or negotiating with a merger target. A pitch book of financial information is generated to market the bank to a potential M&A client; if the pitch is successful, the bank arranges the deal for the client. The investment banking division (IBD) is generally divided into industry coverage and product coverage groups. Industry coverage groups focus on a specific industry—such as healthcare, public finance (governments), FIG (financial institutions group), industrials, TMT (technology, media, and telecommunications), P&E (power & energy), consumer/retail, food & beverage, corporate defense and governance—and maintain relationships with corporations within the industry to bring in business for the bank. Product coverage groups focus on financial products—such as mergers and acquisitions, leveraged finance, public finance, asset finance and leasing, structured finance, restructuring, equity, debt issuance.

Sales and trading

On behalf of the bank and its clients, a large investment bank's primary function is buying and selling products. [10] In market making, traders will buy and sell financial products with the goal of making money on each trade. Sales is the term for the investment bank's sales force, whose primary job is to call on institutional and high-net-worth investors to suggest trading ideas (on a caveat emptor basis) and take orders. Sales desks then communicate their clients' orders to the appropriate trading rooms, which can price and execute trades, or structure new products that fit a specific need. Structuring has been a relatively recent activity as derivatives have come into play, with highly technical and numerate employees working on creating complex structured products which typically offer much greater margins and returns than underlying cash securities. In 2010, investment banks came under pressure as a result of selling complex derivatives contracts to local municipalities in Europe and the US. [11] Strategists advise external as well as internal clients on the strategies that can be adopted in various markets. Ranging from derivatives to specific industries, strategists place companies and industries in a quantitative framework with full consideration of the macroeconomic scene. This strategy often affects the way the firm will operate in the market, the direction it would like to take in terms of its proprietary and flow positions, the suggestions salespersons give to clients, as well as the way structurers create new products. Banks also undertake risk through proprietary trading, performed by a special set of traders who do not interface with clients and through "principal risk"—risk undertaken by a trader after he buys or sells a product to a client and does not hedge his total exposure. Banks seek to maximize profitability for a given amount of risk on their balance sheet. The necessity for numerical ability in sales and trading has created jobs for physics, computer science, mathematics and engineering Ph.D.s who act as quantitative analysts.

Research

The securities research division reviews companies and writes reports about their prospects, often with "buy", "hold" or "sell" ratings. Investment banks typically have sell-side analysts which cover various industries. Their sponsored funds or proprietary trading offices will also have buy-side research. While the research division may or may not generate revenue (based on policies at different banks), its resources are used to assist traders in trading, the sales force in suggesting ideas to customers, and investment bankers by covering their clients.[ citation needed ] Research also serves outside clients with investment advice (such as institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals) in the hopes that these clients will execute suggested trade ideas through the sales and trading division of the bank, and thereby generate revenue for the firm. Research also covers credit research, fixed income research, macroeconomic research, and quantitative analysis, all of which are used internally and externally to advise clients. With MiFID II requiring sell-side research teams in banks to charge for research, the business model for research is increasingly becoming revenue-generating. External rankings of researchers are becoming increasingly important and bank have started the process of monetizing research publications, client interaction times, meetings with clients etc. All research groups provide a key service in terms of advisory and strategy. There is a potential conflict of interest between the investment bank and its analysis, in that published analysis can impact the performance of a security (in the secondary markets or an initial public offering) or influence the relationship between the banker and its corporate clients, thereby affecting the bank's profitability .[ citation needed ]

Middle office

This area of the bank includes treasury management, internal controls (such as Risk), and internal corporate strategy.

Corporate treasury is responsible for an investment bank's funding, capital structure management, and liquidity risk monitoring.

Internal control tracks and analyzes the capital flows of the firm, the finance division is the principal adviser to senior management on essential areas such as controlling the firm's global risk exposure and the profitability and structure of the firm's various businesses via dedicated trading desk product control teams. In the United States and United Kingdom, a comptroller (or financial controller) is a senior position, often reporting to the chief financial officer.

Risk management

Risk management involves analyzing the market and credit risk that an investment bank or its clients take onto their balance sheet during transactions or trades. Middle office functions such as credit risk focuses around capital markets activities, such as syndicated loans, bond issuance, restructuring, and leveraged finance. They are not considered front office as they tend not to be client-facing and rather 'control' banking functions from taking too much risk. Market risk is the control function for the Markets business and conducts review of sales and trading activities utilizing the VaR model. Other risk groups include country risk, operational risk, and counterparty risks which may or may not exist on a bank to bank basis. Front office risks include credit risk solutions. They are a key part of capital market transactions, involving debt structuring, exit financing, loan amendment, project finance, leveraged buy-outs, and sometimes portfolio hedging. Front office market risk activities provide service to investors via derivative solutions, portfolio management, portfolio consulting, and risk advisory. Well-known risk groups in JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Barclays engage in revenue-generating activities involving debt structuring, restructuring, syndicated loans, and securitization for clients such as corporates, governments, and hedge funds. J.P. Morgan IB Risk works with investment banking to execute transactions and advise investors, although its Finance & Operation risk groups focus on middle office functions involving internal, non-revenue generating, operational risk controls. [12] [13] [14] Credit default swap, for instance, is a famous credit risk hedging solution for clients invented by J.P. Morgan's Blythe Masters during the 1990s. The Loan Risk Solutions group [15] within Barclays' investment banking division and Risk Management and Financing group [16] housed in Goldman Sach's securities division are client-driven franchises. However, risk management groups such as credit risk, operational risk, internal risk control, and legal risk are restrained to internal business functions including firm balance-sheet risk analysis and assigning trading cap that are independent of client needs, even though these groups may be responsible for deal approval that directly affects capital market activities.

Internal corporate strategy tackling firm management and profit strategy, unlike corporate strategy groups that advise clients, is non-revenue regenerating yet a key functional role within investment banks.

This list is not a comprehensive summary of all middle-office functions within an investment bank, as specific desks within front and back offices may participate in internal functions. [17]

Back office

The back office data-checks trades that have been conducted, ensuring that they are not wrong, and transacts the required transfers. Many banks have outsourced operations. It is, however, a critical part of the bank.[ citation needed ]

Technology

Every major investment bank has considerable amounts of in-house software, created by the technology team, who are also responsible for technical support. Technology has changed considerably in the last few years as more sales and trading desks are using electronic trading. Some trades are initiated by complex algorithms for hedging purposes.

Firms are responsible for compliance with local and foreign government regulations and internal regulations.

Other businesses

Industry profile

As an industry it is broken up into the Bulge Bracket (upper tier), Middle Market (mid-level businesses), and boutique market (specialized businesses). There are various trade associations throughout the world which represent the industry in lobbying, facilitate industry standards, and publish statistics. The International Council of Securities Associations (ICSA) is a global group of trade associations.

In the United States, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) is likely the most significant; however, several of the large investment banks are members of the American Bankers Association Securities Association (ABASA), [19] while small investment banks are members of the National Investment Banking Association (NIBA).

In Europe, the European Forum of Securities Associations was formed in 2007 by various European trade associations. [20] Several European trade associations (principally the London Investment Banking Association and the European SIFMA affiliate) combined in November 2009 to form the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME). [21]

In the securities industry in China (particularly mainland China), the Securities Association of China is a self-regulatory organization whose members are largely investment banks.

Global size and revenue mix

Global investment banking revenue increased for the fifth year running in 2007, to a record US$84 billion, which was up 22% on the previous year and more than double the level in 2003. [22] Subsequent to their exposure to United States sub-prime securities investments, many investment banks have experienced losses. As of late 2012, global revenues for investment banks were estimated at $240 billion, down about a third from 2009, as companies pursued less deals and traded less. [23] Differences in total revenue are likely due to different ways of classifying investment banking revenue, such as subtracting proprietary trading revenue.

In terms of total revenue, SEC filings of the major independent investment banks in the United States show that investment banking (defined as M&A advisory services and security underwriting) only made up about 15–20% of total revenue for these banks from 1996 to 2006, with the majority of revenue (60+% in some years) brought in by "trading" which includes brokerage commissions and proprietary trading; the proprietary trading is estimated to provide a significant portion of this revenue. [7]

The United States generated 46% of global revenue in 2009, down from 56% in 1999. Europe (with Middle East and Africa) generated about a third while Asian countries generated the remaining 21%. [22] :8 The industry is heavily concentrated in a small number of major financial centers, including New York City, City of London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo. The majority of the world's largest Bulge Bracket investment banks and their investment managers are headquartered in New York and are also important participants in other financial centers. [24] The city of London has historically served as a hub of European M&A activity, often facilitating the most capital movement and corporate restructuring in the area. [25] [26] Meanwhile, Asian cities are receiving a growing share of M&A activity.

According to estimates published by the International Financial Services London, for the decade prior to the financial crisis in 2008, M&A was a primary source of investment banking revenue, often accounting for 40% of such revenue, but dropped during and after the financial crisis. [22] :9 Equity underwriting revenue ranged from 30% to 38% and fixed-income underwriting accounted for the remaining revenue. [22] :9

Revenues have been affected by the introduction of new products with higher margins; however, these innovations are often copied quickly by competing banks, pushing down trading margins. For example, brokerages commissions for bond and equity trading is a commodity business but structuring and trading derivatives has higher margins because each over-the-counter contract has to be uniquely structured and could involve complex pay-off and risk profiles. One growth area is private investment in public equity (PIPEs, otherwise known as Regulation D or Regulation S). Such transactions are privately negotiated between companies and accredited investors.

Banks also earned revenue by securitizing debt, particularly mortgage debt prior to the financial crisis. Investment banks have become concerned that lenders are securitizing in-house, driving the investment banks to pursue vertical integration by becoming lenders, which is allowed in the United States since the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act in 1999. [27]

Top 10 banks

Many of the largest investment banks, including JPMorgan Chase, belong to the Bulge Bracket. 270 Park Avenue (WTM by official-ly cool 100).jpg
Many of the largest investment banks, including JPMorgan Chase, belong to the Bulge Bracket.

According to the Financial Times , in terms of total advisory fees for the whole of 2018, the top ten investment banks were: [28] Many of these firms belong either to the Bulge Bracket (upper tier), Middle Market (mid-level businesses), or are boutique investment banks (specialized businesses).

RankCompanyTickerFees ($m)
1. Flag of the United States.svg J.P. Morgan & Co. JPM6,839.51
2. Flag of the United States.svg Goldman Sachs GS6,130.43
3. Flag of the United States.svg Morgan Stanley MS4,967.27
4. Flag of the United States.svg Bank of America Merrill Lynch BAC4,798.13
5. Flag of the United States.svg Citigroup C4,515.42
6. Flag of Switzerland.svg Credit Suisse CS3,246.51
7. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Barclays BARC3,078.16
8. Flag of Germany.svg Deutsche Bank DBKGn2,489.35
9. Flag of the United States.svg Wells Fargo Securities WFC2,049.83
10. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg HSBC HSBC1,914.66

The above list is just a ranking of the advisory arm (M&A advisory, syndicated loans, equity capital markets and debt capital markets) of each bank and does not include the generally much larger portion of revenues from sales and trading and asset management. Mergers and acquisitions and capital markets are also often covered by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

Global market share of revenue of leading investment [29]
institutionspercentage
JPMorgan
8.1
Goldman Sachs
7.2
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
6.1
Morgan Stanley
5.8
Citi
5.3
Credit Suisse
4.5
Barclays
4.3
Deutsche Bank
3.2
UBS
2.2
RBC Capital Markets
2.2
(as of December 2017)

Financial crisis of 2007–2008

The financial crisis of 2007–2008 led to the collapse of several notable investment banks, such as the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers (one of the largest investment banks in the world) and the hurried sale of Merrill Lynch and the much smaller Bear Stearns to much larger banks, which effectively rescued them from bankruptcy. The entire financial services industry, including numerous investment banks, was rescued by government loans through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Surviving U.S. investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley converted to traditional bank holding companies to accept TARP relief. [30] Similar situations occurred across the globe with countries rescuing their banking industry. Initially, banks received part of a $700 billion TARP intended to stabilize the economy and thaw the frozen credit markets. [31] Eventually, taxpayer assistance to banks reached nearly $13 trillion, most without much scrutiny, [32] lending did not increase [33] and credit markets remained frozen. [34]

The crisis led to questioning of the business model of the investment bank [35] without the regulation imposed on it by Glass–Steagall.[ neutrality is disputed ] Once Robert Rubin, a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, became part of the Clinton administration and deregulated banks, the previous conservatism of underwriting established companies and seeking long-term gains was replaced by lower standards and short-term profit. [36] Formerly, the guidelines said that in order to take a company public, it had to be in business for a minimum of five years and it had to show profitability for three consecutive years. After deregulation, those standards were gone, but small investors did not grasp the full impact of the change. [36]

A number of former Goldman Sachs top executives, such as Henry Paulson and Ed Liddy were in high-level positions in government and oversaw the controversial taxpayer-funded bank bailout. [36] The TARP Oversight Report released by the Congressional Oversight Panel found that the bailout tended to encourage risky behavior and "corrupt[ed] the fundamental tenets of a market economy". [37]

Under threat of a subpoena, Goldman Sachs revealed that it received $12.9 billion in taxpayer aid, $4.3 billion of which was then paid out to 32 entities, including many overseas banks, hedge funds and pensions. [38] The same year it received $10 billion in aid from the government, it also paid out multimillion-dollar bonuses; the total paid in bonuses was $4.82 billion. [39] [40] Similarly, Morgan Stanley received $10 billion in TARP funds and paid out $4.475 billion in bonuses. [41]

Criticisms

The investment banking industry, and many individual investment banks, have come under criticism for a variety of reasons, including perceived conflicts of interest, overly large pay packages, cartel-like or oligopolic behavior, taking both sides in transactions, and more. [42] Investment banking has also been criticised for its opacity. [43]

Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest may arise between different parts of a bank, creating the potential for market manipulation, according to critics. Authorities that regulate investment banking, such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom and the SEC in the United States, require that banks impose a "Chinese wall" to prevent communication between investment banking on one side and equity research and trading on the other. However, critics say such a barrier does not always exist in practice. Independent advisory firms that exclusively provide corporate finance advice argue that their advice is not conflicted, unlike bulge bracket banks.

Conflicts of interest often arise in relation to investment banks' equity research units, which have long been part of the industry. A common practice is for equity analysts to initiate coverage of a company in order to develop relationships that lead to highly profitable investment banking business. In the 1990s, many equity researchers allegedly traded positive stock ratings for investment banking business. Alternatively, companies may threaten to divert investment banking business to competitors unless their stock was rated favorably. Laws were passed to criminalize such acts, and increased pressure from regulators and a series of lawsuits, settlements, and prosecutions curbed this business to a large extent following the 2001 stock market tumble after the dot-com bubble.

Philip Augar, author of The Greed Merchants, said in an interview that, "You cannot simultaneously serve the interest of issuer clients and investing clients. And it’s not just underwriting and sales; investment banks run proprietary trading operations that are also making a profit out of these securities." [42]

Many investment banks also own retail brokerages. During the 1990s, some retail brokerages sold consumers securities which did not meet their stated risk profile. This behavior may have led to investment banking business or even sales of surplus shares during a public offering to keep public perception of the stock favorable.

Since investment banks engage heavily in trading for their own account, there is always the temptation for them to engage in some form of front running – the illegal practice whereby a broker executes orders for their own account before filling orders previously submitted by their customers, thereby benefiting from any changes in prices induced by those orders.

Documents under seal in a decade-long lawsuit concerning eToys.com's IPO but obtained by New York Times' Wall Street Business columnist Joe Nocera alleged that IPOs managed by Goldman Sachs and other investment bankers involved asking for kickbacks from their institutional clients who made large profits flipping IPOs which Goldman had intentionally undervalued. Depositions in the lawsuit alleged that clients willingly complied with these demands because they understood it was necessary in order to participate in future hot issues. [44] Reuters Wall Street correspondent Felix Salmon retracted his earlier, more conciliatory, statements on the subject and said he believed that the depositions show that companies going public and their initial consumer stockholders are both defrauded by this practice, which may be widespread throughout the IPO finance industry. [45] The case is ongoing, and the allegations remain unproven.

Compensation

Investment banking is often criticized for the enormous pay packages awarded to those who work in the industry. According to Bloomberg Wall Street's five biggest firms paid over $3 billion to their executives from 2003 to 2008, "while they presided over the packaging and sale of loans that helped bring down the investment-banking system." [46]

The highly generous pay packages include $172 million for Merrill Lynch & Co. CEO Stanley O'Neal from 2003 to 2007, before it was bought by Bank of America in 2008, and $161 million for Bear Stearns Co.'s James Cayne before the bank collapsed and was sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in June 2008. [46]

Such pay arrangements have attracted the ire of Democrats and Republicans in the United States Congress, who demanded limits on executive pay in 2008 when the U.S. government was bailing out the industry with a $700 billion financial rescue package. [46]

Writing in the Global Association of Risk Professionals, Aaron Brown, a vice president at Morgan Stanley, says "By any standard of human fairness, of course, investment bankers make obscene amounts of money." [42]

See also

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A financial analyst, securities analyst, research analyst, equity analyst, investment analyst, or rating analyst is a person who performs financial analysis for external or internal financial clients as a core part of the job.

Charles Schwab Corporation American company

The Charles Schwab Corporation is a bank and stock brokerage firm based in San Francisco, California. It was founded in 1971 by Charles R. Schwab. It is ranked 13th on the list of largest banks in the United States and it is also one of the largest brokerage firms in the United States. The company offers an electronic trading platform to trade financial assets including common stocks, preferred stocks, futures contracts, exchange-traded funds, options, mutual funds, and fixed income investments. It also provides margin lending, and cash management services, as well as services through registered investment advisers.

CIBC World Markets

CIBC World Markets is the investment banking subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The firm operates as an investment bank both in the domestic and international equity and debt capital markets. The bank provides a variety of financial services including credit and capital market products, mergers and acquisitions, merchant banking and other investment banking advisory services.

Dean Witter Reynolds was an American stock brokerage and securities firm catering to retail clients. Prior to the company's acquisition, it was among the largest retail firms in the securities industry with over 9,000 account executives and was among the largest members of the New York Stock Exchange. The company served over 3.2 million clients primarily in the U.S. Dean Witter provided debt and equity underwriting and brokerage as mutual funds and other saving and investment products for individual investors. The company's asset management arm, Dean Witter InterCapital, with total assets of $90.0 billion prior to acquisition, was one of the largest asset management operations in the U.S.

Prime brokerage is the generic name for a bundled package of services offered by investment banks, wealth management firms, and securities dealers to hedge funds which need the ability to borrow securities and cash in order to be able to invest on a netted basis and achieve an absolute return. The prime broker provides a centralized securities clearing facility for the hedge fund so the hedge fund's collateral requirements are netted across all deals handled by the prime broker. These two features are advantageous to their clients.

Piper Jaffray Companies is American multinational independent investment bank and financial services company focused on mergers and acquisitions, financial restructuring, public offerings, public finance, institutional brokerage, investment management and securities research. Through its principal subsidiary, Piper Jaffray & Co., the company targets corporations, institutional investors, and public entities.

Cowen Inc., is an American multinational independent investment bank and financial services company that operates through two business segments: a broker-dealer and an investment management division. The company's broker-dealer division offers investment banking services, equity and credit research, sales and trading, prime brokerage, global clearing and commission management services. Cowen's investment management segment offers actively managed alternative investment products. Founded in 1918, the firm is headquartered in New York and has offices worldwide. As of 2018, Cowen managed US$11 billion in alternative investment strategies.

Evercore American financial services company

Evercore Inc., formerly known as Evercore Partners, is a global independent investment banking advisory firm founded in 1995 by Roger Altman, David Offensend, and Austin Beutner.

Stifel Financial Corp. is an American multinational independent investment bank and financial services company created under its present name in July 1983 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange on November 24, 1986. Its predecessor company was founded in 1890 as the Altheimer and Rawlings Investment Company and is headquartered in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.

EFG Hermes Holding S.A.E. is an Egyptian investment bank present in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and specializes in securities brokerage, asset management, investment banking, private equity and research. EFG Hermes serves a range of clients including sovereign wealth funds, endowments, corporations, financial institutions, high-net-worth clients and individual customers. EFG Hermes is listed on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) and London (LSE) stock exchanges. EFG Hermes has offices in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon with over 800 people from 25 nationalities. They serve clients from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the United States. EFG Hermes owns a 63.7% majority stake in the Lebanese commercial bank, Credit Libanais.

Oppenheimer Holdings is an American multinational independent investment bank and financial services company offering investment banking, financial advisory services, capital markets services, asset management, wealth management, and related products and services worldwide. The company, which once occupied the One World Financial Center building in Manhattan, now bases its operations at 85 Broad Street and world headquarters at 125 Broad Street in New York City.

China International Capital Corporation

China International Capital Corporation Limited is one of China's leading investment banking firms that engages in investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients.

Wachovia Securities was the trade name of Wachovia's retail brokerage and institutional capital markets and investment banking subsidiaries. Following Wachovia's merger with Wells Fargo and Company on December 31, 2008, the retail brokerage became Wells Fargo Advisors on May 1, 2009 and the institutional capital markets and investment banking group became Wells Fargo Securities on July 6, 2009.

TD Securities is a Canadian investment bank and financial services provider that offers advisory and capital market services to corporate, government, and institutional clients worldwide. The firm provides services in corporate and investment banking, capital markets, and global transaction services. It is the investment bank of Toronto-Dominion Bank Group, and has offices in 18 cities worldwide with over 3,000 employees.

BMO Capital Markets is the investment banking subsidiary of Canadian Bank of Montreal. The company offers corporate, institutional and government clients access to a range of financial services. These include equity and debt underwriting, corporate lending and project financing, merger and acquisitions advisory services, securitization, treasury management, market risk management, debt and equity research and institutional sales and trading.

Guosen Securities

Guosen Securities Company Limited is a Chinese state-owned financial services company headquartered in Shenzhen, China, with more than 70 branches and 11,500 employees nationwide. It has offices in 47 major cities in China including Shenzhen, Beijing, Guangzhou, Foshan, Nanjing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong. Guosen Securities provides sales and trading, investment banking, research, asset management, private equity, and other financial services with both institutional and retail clients in China and Hong Kong. It also operates a trading platform called GuoXin TradingStation.

Mellat Investment Bank financial services company

Mellat Investment Bank, also known as MellatIB is an Iranian investment banking firm based in Tehran. The company offers investment banking services. Mellat Investment Bank is a private joint stock company.

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Further reading