If you read the Financial Times and pay close attention to banks' results, you might think investment bankers' time has come (back).
'Traders Surpassed in Wall Street Reshuffle' said the FT in an article last week. As fixed income trading revenues have declined and M&A and advisory revenues have soared, the people working in investment banking divisions (IBD) are experiencing a resurgence, said the FT. This resurgence is likely to pick up pace as IPOs and M&A deals revive in 2014, it predicted.
Stats for the performance of trading and advisory businesses in the fourth quarter seem to underpin this theory. Banks 'clean' revenue figures, provided by Nomura, show M&A and advisory revenues increasing by an average of 9% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, while equities sales and trading and fixed income revenues rose by 1% and fell by 8% respectively.
Unfortunately, however, IBD's new vigor doesn't seem to be making itself felt when managing director (MD) promotions are allocated. Even though Morgan Stanley's investment bankers outperformed its traders and salespeople in the last quarter. Financial News has seen a memo showing that they only accounted for 16 of the bank's 153 new MDs.
The memo, sent from Franck Petitgas and Mark Eichorn, the global co-heads of investment banking at Morgan Stanley, reportedly informs members of the IBD division on their promotions. Petitgas and Eichorn are responsible for client coverage, M&A and capital markets at Morgan Stanley.
Two of the recently elevated MDs are in London and four are in New York, with the remaining ten distributed around the world.
Now does not, therefore, look like the time to make it as a senior investment banker in the City or on Wall Street - now matter how much incremental revenue you bring in this year.