INVESTMENT BANK OF THE YEAR

THE story of the last year for investment banks has been recovery. While the rest of the economy has remained sluggish the smartest bankers have bounced back and returned to profit – sometimes spectacularly so. Still, things will never be the same. A re-ordering of the banking world is ongoing, and our list reflects this.

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CREDIT SUISSE

It has paid out bonuses early to try to prevent its star bankers jumping ship, and there was a slight embarrassment when its name was dragged into the Pru’s aborted takeover of AIA – the Swiss bank advised the insurer – but overall Credit Suisse has been one of the winners from the downturn. Over the past 12 months money has flooded into its private banking arm and it has proved itself a creative and surprisingly adaptable bank.
ne of a young team of partners at wealth management boutique Thurleigh Investment Managers, where he was

GOLDMAN SACHS

True, this has not been the best year for Goldman. PR-wise. “Fabulous” Fab Tourre and the Abacus CDO will forever haunt it, and there is still talk that it will spin off its prop trading operation. But the bank has continued to flourish. Trading remains its heart and soul, but UK M&A has brought it $70m so far this year, and despite its woes it remains a by-word for reliability and creativity, and the go-to bank for the brightest and best.

JP MORGAN CAZENOVE

JP Morgan fully bought out the blue-blooded Cazenove earlier this year, and with 35 FTSE 100 clients, it has more than any other investment bank. It is nominated, however, for its work on the troubled Essar Energy float in May at the height of the southern Europe debt crisis. The biggest float on the London Stock Exchange in more than two years, the investment bank had to buy shares to stabilise the price. But it got away.

NUMIS

Where the big banks have suffered since 2008, many of their middle-sized rivals have flourished. So it is with Numis, which offers both banking and stockbroking services, and whose revenues were up 63 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2010. Its numbers of clients have rocketed, as many move away from the corporate banks and look for a more personalised, hands-on approach. It recently announced that it had won its first FTSE 100 client, investment firm Alliance Trust. A bank that is on the up.

ONDRA

Set up by former Lehman Brothers bankers Benoit D’Angelin and Michael Tory in 2008, this boutique has attracted top talent ever since – so much that it has even been described as “the A-Team of investment banking”. Over the past months its reputation has been further boosted by the news that it has already turned a profit. For some, Ondra shows that the future of banking lies not with the corporate behemoths, but with small, nimble operations like this. A trailblazer, perhaps.