Copying and distributing are prohibited without permission of the publisher.

Watermark

P&M Notebook: scorecards out for Barclays and UBS

notebook_Adobe_575x375_25September2020
By Jasper Cox
26 Oct 2020

UBS enjoyed a successful third quarter for debt capital markets, its results last week showed, as it racked up 63% more in revenue than in the third quarter of 2019, according to GlobalCapital's estimate.

This is a much higher growth rate than the big US names or Barclays achieved (the major investment banks to have reported so far). It was leveraged capital markets that drove it, raking in $77m more than last year.

With revenue in equity capital markets rocketing by 156% — again ahead of the US and Barclays — and advisory fees holding up somewhat despite the M&A slump, UBS's global banking bunch gave group chief executive Sergio Ermotti a good send-off. Ralph Hamers steps in as new CEO from the start of next week.

With primary and secondary capital markets activity enjoying a strong year in general, it can be harder to tell relative performance between shops.

Barclays attempted to show its strengths in its results on Friday, with figures detailing that it had grown market share in the markets business in each of 2018, 2019 and the first half of 2020, even as European banks as a whole fell back in every one of those periods.

However, for the third quarter, comparisons for Barclays' banking business aren't quite so good. In equity capital markets, even increasing revenue by more than half year-on-year did not allow it to match up to the growth rate of any of the rivals to print so far, aside from JP Morgan. And while advisory proceeds were poor for all banks, at Barclays revenue more than halved.

As a caveat, such year-on-year comparisons between banks are weighted by the performance last year — when Barclays scored better than UBS, thus making its task harder this time around.

Like at UBS, there's management change at the UK bank: as of this month, Paul Compton has replaced Joe McGrath as head of the banking franchise, while CS Venkatakrishnan has replaced Stephen Dainton as head of the markets franchise.

Elsewhere, Credit Suisse's former global head of emerging markets has turned up at HSBC. Vikas Seth, who held that position in the Swiss bank's investment banking and capital markets division, has been hired for a vice-chairman position with an emerging markets focus.

While he sits within HSBC's global banking division in the investment bank, his remit also encompasses clients in the commercial banking arm too. HSBC is set on bringing global banking and commercial banking closer together.

And — in a Credit Suisse-esque way — he will work with the firm's private bankers too, offering products to ultra-high net worth clients and their related businesses and family offices.

Meanwhile, Bank of America has made some changes in Europe. The first is that Fernando Vicario becomes chief executive of its Dublin-based EU bank, replacing Bruce Thompson, who worked to establish the new entity ahead of Brexit. Thompson heads stateside to lead a newly created institutional credit exposure management group.

Vicario was head of corporate banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Richard King replaces him in this function. Vicario also vacates his post as head of corporate and investment banking for the EU, but it's not clear who is taking over the reins here.

At the end of the chain of dominoes, Simeon Stevens steps in to take over from King as head of UK corporate banking. King will continue as co-head of UK and Ireland corporate and investment banking.

Finally, it is not just people that jump between firms. Makinson Cowell may sound like a seat-hopping investment banker, but it is actually the name of a company that advises on equity capital markets and investor relations. It is joining Lazard, moving over from KPMG, which acquired it in 2013.

By Jasper Cox
26 Oct 2020