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投行难以重现好时光
Halcyon days over for investment banks

2017-1-11 07:22| 发布者: 小鱼儿| 查看: 100| 评论: 0

摘要: The runaway profits of the past will not be repeated. That is the response of investment bankers when asked about the unfamiliar glow that surrounded their industry in the final months of 2016.The sec ...
The runaway profits of the past will not be repeated. That is the response of investment bankers when asked about the unfamiliar glow that surrounded their industry in the final months of 2016.

The sector’s third-quarter results were impressive, with industry revenues up by 30 per cent in some business lines. Shares in investment banks rose more than 25 per cent after Donald Trump’s election as US president, as investors eyed a bright future of better growth, higher rates and less regulation.

To some industry observers it looked like the good times of 2006 had returned. “I don’t think so, I don’t even remember how that [2006] felt,” says Manuel Falco, Citi’s head of corporate and investment banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The most meaningful bright spot in 2016’s apparent flurry of good news was the performance of the fixed income, currency and commodities area of banks’ markets businesses. “It feels like fixed income, an asset class in which wallet has been reducing year in and year out, [it] looks like in 2016 it found its base,” says Daniel Pinto, chief executive of JPMorgan’s investment bank.

Mr Pinto expects the overall fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) wallet — the total amount of fees shared across banks — to be down about 1 per cent for 2016, a far more muted fall than the 12 per cent average annual drop from 2012 to 2015 as extra capital charges and restrictions depressed revenues.

But that is a 1 per cent fall in a year when Brexit and the US presidential election triggered record trading volumes in currencies and bonds. And FICC would have a mountain to climb to get back to its halcyon days. In 2010, 13 of the world’s biggest banks made revenues of $116.5bn in fixed income, or 18 per cent of group-wide revenue, according to data from Deutsche Bank Research and the Financial Times. By 2015, FICC revenue across the group was just $71.65bn, or 12.6 per cent of their total revenue.

Investment banks’ declining importance in their parent company is key to any assessment of their recovery potential. FT research shows that in 2007, the world’s 13 biggest investment banks by revenue dedicated two-thirds of their assets to their investment banking activity. Now investment banks have less than half group-wide assets, and the proportion will fall further once banks complete promised cuts.

With banking groups also dedicating fewer staff to investment banks, it is no surprise that investment banks’ contribution to underlying group-wide profits is diminishing too so any rebound in investment bank profitability would be far less significant for banks’ overall performance now than in 2007.

The investment bank withdrawal was not uniform of course. In recent years it has been more pronounced at European banks, gifting easy wins to the Wall Street banks. Therein lies another reason why 2017 is not looking as rosy as recent months’ headlines suggest.

“That situation is largely over,” says Mr Pinto. “To a very large extent, the changes in business model that each of the banks chose to execute, those are pretty much in place, so I do see less of the differentiation in performance across [European and US banks]. If the wallet grows slightly it’s likely that everyone will do better rather than one bank versus the other.”

Expectations for what that wallet might do in 2017 are largely bound to Mr Trump’s impending presidency, which offers the promise of better US economic growth, higher interest rates and the unwinding of some of the more onerous regulations introduced after the financial crisis.

”The reality is that nothing has been fully confirmed?.?.?.?there is still a lot that is unknown,” says Andrea Orcel, president of UBS’s investment bank. Mr Orcel says the challenge for banks like his is “to remain flexible and nimble so that the businesses can be positioned to capture any upside whilst not deviating from their core strategy”.

In other words, UBS, which became the most prominent example of scaling back investment banking in a 2012 overhaul, will not be moving back in just because some of the omens look good though the bank will be “selectively hiring” in areas such as fixed income, rates and credit and equities “where we are seeing real traction”.

“What will be interesting to see is if a pick-up in activity translates into profitability. Revenues are important, but the measure of success that we should be striving for is growth in profits,” says Mr Orcel. “That’s what really matters and that is what shareholders are demanding — rightly so.”

Citi, which has remained committed to the full-service investment bank model throughout the crisis, is also cautious. Mr Falco stresses that there are a “lot of very important things ahead that will be crucially important for the future of Europe”.

Rating agency DBRS wrote in its outlook note for 2017 that “potential downside risks remain significant for European capital markets participants in 2017”, pointing to the “continued political, regulatory and litigation uncertainty” from Brexit and elections in the EU.

“We are more bullish than we were but we’re going to take it day by day,” says Mr Falco. “The future is very difficult to predict. 2016 has probably been the worst forecasted year [ever].”

以往那种利润迅猛增长的局面将不会重演。这是投资银行家们在被问及2016年最后几个月该行业出现不常见的繁荣时给出的回应。

投行业去年第三季度业绩靓丽,一些业务收入增长30%。在唐纳德?特朗普(Donald Trump)当选美国总统后,投行股价上涨逾25%,投资者认为经济将会加速增长、利率将会上升,而监管将会放宽,未来一片光明。

对一些行业观察者来说,看起来2006年的好时光又回来了。花旗(Citi)的欧洲、中东和非洲区企业及投行业务主管曼纽尔?法尔科(Manuel Falco)表示:“我不这么认为,我甚至不记得(2006年)是什么感觉。”

在2016年表面上的一系列好消息中,最有意义的亮点是各银行市场业务的固定收益、外汇和大宗商品(FICC)领域的表现。摩根大通(JPMorgan)投行部门首席执行官丹尼尔?平托(Daniel Pinto)表示:“感觉固定收益就是一个业务年年缩水的资产类别,看起来它在2016年找到了底部。”

平托预计,FICC整体业务收入(各银行总收费收入)在2016年下降大约1%,远低于2012年至2015年12%的年度平均降幅,后者是因为额外的资本要求和限制抑制了收入。

但这种1%的降幅是在英国退欧和美国总统大选引发外汇和债券创纪录交易规模的一年里发生的。FICC业务将需要克服如山的困难才能恢复其巅峰时期的盛况。德意志银行研究部(Deutsche Bank Research)和英国《金融时报》的数据显示,2010年,全球13家最大银行实现固定收益收入1165亿美元,占到集团总收入的18%。到2015年,FICC收入只有716.5亿美元,占到集团总收入的12.6%。



投行在母公司中的重要性下降是评估它们复苏潜力的关键。英国《金融时报》研究显示,在2007年,按收入计算的全球13家最大投行将三分之二的资产配置给投行业务。如今,投行拥有不足一半的集团资产,而一旦银行完成承诺的削减,这一比例还会进一步下降。

鉴于各银行集团也在减少投行人手,投行对集团基础利润的贡献也出现下降就不足为奇了,因此投行盈利能力反弹对银行整体业绩表现的重要性远低于2007年。

当然,各银行在缩减投行业务方面并不整齐划一。近几年,欧洲银行退出投行业务更为明显,这让华尔街银行轻松得利。这其中隐藏着2017年看起来不像最近几个月新闻头条所暗示的那么美好的又一个原因。

摩根大通的平托表示:“那种局面基本上已经结束。在很大程度上,各银行选择执行的商业模式转变基本上已经到位,因此我的确看到(欧洲与美国银行之间的)业绩差异不那么大。如果业务略有增长,那很可能意味着所有银行都表现更好,而非某家银行比其他银行更出色。”

对2017年业务表现的预期,在很大程度上与特朗普即将开始的总统任期密切相关,他入主白宫有望加快美国经济增长,导致美元利率走高,而金融危机过后出台的一些比较繁重的法规被解除。

瑞银(UBS)投资银行部首席执行官安德烈亚?奥塞尔(Andrea Orcel)表示:“现实是什么都没有得到完全证实……还有许多未知因素。”他表示,对于像瑞银这样的银行,挑战“依然是保持灵活和敏捷,使业务保持有利定位,能够抓住市场上行机会,同时又不会偏离它们的核心战略”。

换言之,瑞银不会只是因为一些预兆看起来不错就恢复投行业务,尽管该行将会在固定收益、利率、信贷和股票等“我们看到真正牵引力的领域选择性地聘用一些人才”。瑞银在2012年发起的重组中成为最突出的缩减投行业务的例子。

奥塞尔表示:“看看业务回升会否转化为盈利能力,将是很有意思的事情。收入很重要,但我们应该为之奋斗的成功标准是利润增长。这是真正重要的事情,这也是股东要求的——理当如此。”

在整个危机期间坚持全业务投行模式的花旗也保持谨慎。该行的法尔科强调称,“下一阶段会有许多非常重要的事件,它们对欧洲的未来将至关重要。”

评级机构DBRS在2017年评级展望中写道,“欧洲资本市场参与者在2017年依然面临显著的潜在下行风险”,该机构指向英国退欧和欧盟国家选举带来的“持续的政治、监管和诉讼不确定性”。

法尔科表示:“我们比前些时候更为乐观,但我们将每天观察局势。未来非常难以预测。2016年很可能是(有史以来)预测最糟糕的一年。”

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