Forget investment banking league tables – this shows places like Goldman Sachs are doing less well than they seem

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League tables for the first quarter of 2012 are out. The usual suspects are at the top of the pile: Goldman Sachs was top in completed M&A globally, J.P. Morgan was top in investment grade DCM underwriting, Citi led global ECM.

However, charts from research firm CreditSights, reproduced below, reveal that standard league tables can be misleading.

For example, although Goldman dominated global M&A in Q1, the volume of deals it worked on fell off a cliff quarter-on-quarter, as did their value (and therefore the fees it earned). The same can be said for Bank of America, Citi and Lazard – although the latter two were at the bottom of the table. Q2 will therefore be important for M&A at these firms: a repeat of Q1 is likely to lead to a review of the cost base and potentially another round of layoffs.

The situation is less dire in ECM and DCM, where deals increased significantly in Q1. Notably, however, UBS and Credit Suisse – which ranked eighth and fifth respectively – were the big winners in ECM globally during the quarter. On the other hand, RBS – which ranked 10th – was the big winner in global DCM.

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