The investment banking industry in Spain is facing a challenging year as revenues continue to decline. However, despite the overall downturn, three entities are competing for the top spot in the country. Santander, the leader for the second consecutive year, is followed closely by JP Morgan and Barclays.
According to data from Dealogic, the fee-based income of the 20 largest investment banks in Spain has reached approximately €450 million so far this year. This represents a 23% decrease compared to the same period last year when they earned around €580 million. The combination of rising inflation, interest rate hikes, and the threat of a recession has negatively impacted mergers and acquisitions, as well as equity and debt markets, leading to a decline in investment banking revenues.
However, there are signs of improvement. While most banks have experienced a decline in figures compared to the previous year, they have managed to substantially improve their numbers in the first half of the year. Santander, for example, has almost doubled its earnings from €37 million to €62 million. JP Morgan has also doubled its revenues from €27 million to €42 million, allowing it to surpass Barclays, which saw a more moderate increase from €10 million to nearly €40 million.
Santander’s recent activity in debt issues has stood out, with the bank working on loans for several companies including Cellnex, Indra, Digital, Eurodivisas, Howden, Ferrovial, Abanca, and Bankinter. JP Morgan, on the other hand, has advised on various transactions such as the Applus+ takeover bid and the sale of Iberdrola’s assets in Mexico and Brazil. Barclays has also been involved in notable deals, including the sale of 49% of Iberdrola’s Romeo Project to Norges and the sale of Sabadell’s payments business to Nexi.
In terms of the overall market outlook, there are cautious signs of stabilization. The anticipated stabilization of interest rates suggests a greater ability for the market to set asset prices, both in public and private markets. While equity transactions have been relatively quiet in 2023, there has been increased activity in the debt markets, especially in investment-grade debt. Market players have a greater conviction about the medium-term stability of a high-interest-rate environment, leading to increased activity in both the United States and Europe.
Beyond the top three banks, the differences between the rest of the institutions are relatively small. The gap between Barclays in third place and Deutsche Bank in fourth place is approximately €12 million. The differences between Deutsche Bank and the subsequent banks on the list, such as Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, UBS, and Crédit Agricole, are also relatively minor.
Overall, while investment banking revenues have suffered in Spain this year, there are some positive signs of improvement. The fourth quarter and the coming year may bring more stability and growth to the industry, particularly in debt markets and IPO activity. The competition among the top three banks and the close figures among the rest of the institutions highlight the intense nature of the market and the need for banks to adapt and innovate to stay ahead in these challenging times.
– This article was originally published on [EL PAÍS](https://english.elpais.com/economy-and-business/2023-11-01/top-three-investment-banks-vie-for-leading-position-in-spain.html).