* Global investment banking fees $47.1 bln in H1
* JPMorgan tops league table, earns fees of $3.4 bln
LONDON, July 2 Fees paid for investment banking
services rose 12 percent in the first half of 2014, their
strongest start in seven years, data showed on Wednesday, as
surging stock markets encouraged firms to strike deals.
Global investment banking fees totalled $47.1 billion in the
first six months of the year, compared to $42.2 billion last
year, according to data from Thomson Reuters and Freeman
Consulting. That was the highest level since 2007, when
investment banks earned $56.8 billion.
Fees in Europe showed the most improvement, rising 29
percent so far this year, while in Asia Pacific fees were 10
percent higher. They were up 6 percent in the Americas and down
15 percent in Africa and the Middle East.
Record highs in stock markets and continued low volatility
have prompted an increasing number of firms to hire investment
banks to help them issue equity. Private equity firms have also
sought their services as they seize the opportunity to sell out
of investments made before the financial crisis.
Cash-rich corporations with strong balance sheets, like
Comcast Corp and General Electric Co, have led
a revival in mergers and acquisitions, further adding to
bankers' workloads and fee pools.
Fees earned for advising on equity capital market (ECM)
transactions, such as initial public offerings (IPOs), were 36
percent higher at $13 billion, reflecting a 16 percent increase
in activity over the period. M&A fees rose 6 percent to $10.1
billion as deal volumes surged to $1.75 trillion, up 75 percent.
Fees from syndicated loans were up 10 percent.
JPMorgan was the highest paid bank, bringing in $3.4
billion in the six-month period and accounting for 7.3 percent
of wallet share. In a repeat of the previous year's rankings,
fellow U.S. institutions Bank of America Merrill Lynch
and Goldman Sachs followed in second and third
Freeman Consulting Director Lam Nguyen said the second half
looks positive for fees, as a number of deals are scheduled to
close towards to the end of the year. Another buoyant period for
IPOs is also expected, he added.
If fees continue to be earned at the same pace in the second
half as they did in the first, total fees should reach $95.4
billion, according to the data.
"Overall 2014 should be a very good year," Nguyen said.
Debt capital markets (DCM) have proved the only weak spot so
far this year. Banks were paid $12.6 billion for DCM
underwriting, down 0.6 percent from 2013.
Nguyen said the slight drop compares to an exceptional level
of activity last year and issuance remains strong.
(Reporting by Clare Hutchison, editing by David Evans)