Investment bank Q1 fees highest since 2007

LONDON (Reuters) – Nearly $22 billion was paid in fees for global investment banking services in the first three months of this year, the largest first-quarter amount since 2007.

The boom was driven by activity in the financials and energy and power sectors, which together accounted for 45 percent of the global fee pool over the period, up 3 percent and 21 percent respectively on the first quarter of last year, according to Thomson Reuters data released on Tuesday.

J.P. Morgan (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) topped the global investment banking league table by fees, receiving $1.39 billion in the first quarter. Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) was close behind on $1.36 billion and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) was third on $1.2 billion.

Barclays Capital (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research) was the biggest top 10 gainer, seeing a 41 percent rise in first-quarter fees, which propelled it three places up the table to sixth.

Total fees, for services ranging from capital markets underwriting to advising on mergers and acquisitions, rose 7.9 percent on the same period last year to $21.9 billion. The biggest rise was in the United States, up 13.8 percent.

M&A was the biggest money generator for banks over the quarter, bringing in $7.1 billion, boosted by mega-deals such as the $59 billion recapitalization of bailed-out U.S. insurer AIG (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research).

International Power’s (IPR.L: Quote, Profile, Research) tie-up with GDF Suez (GSZ.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), and Comcast’s (CMCSA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) takeover of NBC Universal were also among the biggest mergers and acquisitions to complete this year, Thomson Reuters data show.

Fees from debt capital markets underwriting were the only product to decline, falling 1.3 percent on the year to $5.9 billion.

Seven of the top 10 global fee payers were U.S. based financials or government-controlled financial entities, including bailed-out mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB: Quote, Profile, Research) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB: Quote, Profile, Research) which have together paid more than $2.8 billion in fees since 2009.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Quentin Webb; Editing by David Cowell)

Investment bank Q1 fees highest since 2007