INVESTMENT banks earned $17.6bn in fees during first quarter of 2012 – a 14 per cent decline on the same period last year, according to research by data provider Thomson Reuters.
Fees fell sharpest in the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions, with both areas registering a decline of more than 20 per cent.
There was better news in the Americas where fees declined just eight per cent to $9.9bn, accounting for more than half of global investment banking fees.
“We’re still seeing an overhang from the European sovereign debt crisis and the US is less affected by that. The industry is very confidence driven and I think we could see deal activity picking up,” said Lucille Quilter, a deals intelligence analyst with Thomson Reuters.
Debt Capital Markets (DCM) fees accounted for a third of all fees during the period as income from M&A fell by a quarter.
“DCM fees are really driving the fee pool at the moment. In Europe they accounted for 41 per cent of activity. We usually see confidence growing first in capital markets and then it spills over into M&A later on,” said Quilter.
Investment banking activity in the financials, energy, industrials and materials sectors accounted for 64 per cent of the global fee pool during the first quarter of 2012.
Fees from healthcare, retail and consumer staples all fell by over a quarter.