Total revenues at the top global investment banks reached a 13-year low in the first half of 2019 amid geopolitical tensions, slowing growth and low interest rates, the Financial Times reported.
The 12 biggest US and European investment banks generated $76.8 billion in revenue from their trading and advisory operations during the six-month period, a fall of 11% from 2018, making it was the slowest first half since 2006.
The banks individually reported poor second-quarter earnings for their markets and investment banking divisions, including an 18% fall in fixed-income revenues at Morgan Stanley and a 32% decline in equities revenues at Deutsche Bank.
Equities fared the worst, with total revenue dropping 17% due to declines in client demand for derivatives and prime brokerage services, the business of lending to and trading for hedge funds.
On average, the stocks of European banks posted double-digit falls every year since 2016, with many of the biggest drops at those that have maintained large trading operations.
Additionally, headcount also shrank by 1,500 in the first half of 2019, with the number of front-office, client-facing employees in the industry declining for a tenth consecutive year, falling 3% to 50,400 year on year, and down from 56,700 in 2014.