Wednesday's Headlines: Investment banking fees recovering to pre-crisis levels

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Global investment banking fees have recovered sharply over the past few years and are nearing levels last seen in 2006, Reuters says. Fees have reached $48.9 billion so far and are expected to reach almost $100 billion by the end of the year. In the first half of 2011, fees jumped 23 percent globally compared to the previous half, and were up 26 percent in Europe and in Asia-Pacific, but fell 23 percent in Japan.

J.P. Morgan retained its top global investment banking fees ranking, with $3.4 billion in fees, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch was second with $3 billion and Morgan Stanley rose one spot to rank third with $2.7 billion in fees. Once again, merger and acquisition activity generated the bulk of fees. Loans posted the biggest jump.

"M&A advisory fees totaled $17.4 billion during the first half of 2011, an increase of 19.1 percent over the same period last year, and accounted for 35.6 percent of the global fee pool. Fees from equity capital markets underwriting increased 22.6 percent to $12.5 billion while loan fees improved 56.7% percent to $7.6 billion. Debt capital markets underwriting fees totaled US$11.4 billion during the first half of 2011, registering an 11.7 percent increase over the same time last year," the news agency reported.

Other news:

Major US banks may pay $60 billion to settle DOJ mortgage wrongdoing complaint. [New York Post]

Large M&I CEO payout following BMO takeover shocks observers. [MarketWatch]

Banks resist FDIC rule allowing pay clawbacks after liquidation. [Reuters]

HSBC plans to cut almost 700 jobs in France to improve efficiency and growth. [Wall Street Journal]

Duff & Phelps buys Houston-based investment bank Growth Capital Partners. [Forbes]

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bidding for CitiFinancial consumer lending business. [Wall Street Journal]

J.P. Morgan's Dimon having trouble growing international business. [Wall Street Journal]

RBC Wealth Management says not looking for big acquisitions.[Investment News]

Regulators have no power to wind down failing banks, top international regulator says. [Bloomberg]