April 4, 2017 / 12:44 PM / in 4 months

North American deals drive global investment banking fees to 10-year high

The Canary Wharf business district is seen at dusk in London, Britain December 11, 2016.Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Global investment banking fees reached a 10-year high in the first quarter of 2017 with more than half of the $24 billion (19.29 billion pounds) in total takings coming from North America, Thomson Reuters data showed on Tuesday.

The rebound in fees to pre-crisis highs will be good news for global advisers who complain they are being squeezed by regulatory requirements amid competition from boutique players.

“The market environment has not been as favourable since the financial crisis with equities at market tops and revived debt origination in anticipation of tightening monetary policy," said Robert Grübner, partner at consultants Bain & Company.

"U.S. banks are dominating the league tables as their ongoing gain in market share post-crisis has been further helped by the strength of their home region," he added.

Wall Street banks took the top five places last quarter, led by JP Morgan (JPM.N), which earned $1.7 billion in fees, followed by Goldman Sachs (GS.N) with $1.5 billion.

Fees from equity issuance almost doubled, although bonds were the biggest contributor to fees globally. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) was the only sector not to improve on last year's dismal first quarter, with fees falling 2.5 percent in the first three months of this year.

Uncertainty surrounding Britain's exit from the European Union, the election in the Netherlands and upcoming polls in France and Germany dampened European activity, but fees still rose almost 20 percent last quarter.

The biggest fee payer was U.S. telecoms operator Charter Communications (CHTR.O), which has been exploring a tie-up with Verizon (VZ.N) and has issued a series of bonds.

Investment banking fees generated by private equity investors and their portfolio companies increased by 50 percent on a year earlier to $2.7 billion for the first quarter of 2017.

Fees paid by private equity giant Blackstone (BX.N) more than tripled to $230 million.

Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Susan Fenton and Mark Potter

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