“The tone among key decision makers - CEOs, CFOs and then, most importantly, board members - is markedly more positive today than it was a year ago," says Morgan Stanley (MS) global co-head of investment banking Mark Eichorn, whose firm finished in 3rd place in Bloomberg's ranking of investment bank fees in 2013.
Debt and equity issuance gained 4.9% to an estimated $53.4B last year, the highest since 2007, but well below the $86.9B of that bubbly year.
Leading the way again is JPMorgan (JPM), which raked in $3.87B in fees last year. Second place again went to Goldman Sachs (GS) with $3.77B, and third (again) to Morgan with $3.71B. The three have held the top three spots since 2009.
This year is off to a strong start thanks to the Comcast/TWC deal and the rise in the activist investor could mean more business for the bankers who advise boards and managements.
"The big difference this year is the absence of big macro crises,” says BAML's Christian Meissner, whose firm finished 4th with $3.52B. “Maybe something will pop up and change that view. But we’re seeing the green shoots of recovery and the absence of significant tail risk.”