Another way to look at league tables

Now that the FY-21 earnings are out for most major IBs. I thought it'd be interesting to see how the (public) investment banks rank by their advisory revenues, considering people always say that league tables are inaccurate because of undisclosed deals and credit given for financing/relationships. Keep in mind that these numbers aren't completely comparable as these numbers include ALL advisory deal flow (ex. RX revenue also included for EBs), and only banks that provide the break-down of their IB revenues are included.

  1. Goldman Sachs ($5,653M)

  2. JPMorgan ($4,381M)

  3. Morgan Stanley ($3,487M)

  4. Evercore ($2,752M)

  5. Bank of America ($2,139M)

  6. Jefferies ($1,874M)

  7. Citi ($1,796M)

  8. Lazard ($1,778M)

  9. Moelis ($1,558M)

  10. UBS ($988M)

  11. PWP (~$800M estimate from 8-K)

  12. PJT Partners ($763M)

  13. Greenhill ($318M)

Comments (75)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 5, 2022 - 4:58pm

That's fair, but the European and Asian markets are pretty competitive as well, and I don't know how well Greenhill can expand in those regions considering so many banks are focused on expanding there. The independent advisory scene in continental Europe is dominated by Rothschild and Lazard, with CVP, PWP, and Moelis all focused on expanding there, while Rothschild and Jefferies are extremely strong in the UK. The banking scene in Asia may hold a lot more potential for Greenhill, but in Asia the BBs tend to be much stronger than the EBs, especially in cross-border deals, while the internal Chinese M&A scene is largely dominated by CICC/CITIC/Haitong.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Feb 4, 2022 - 12:31pm

PWP has more partners and MDs (like 110 vs 75) and nearly double the employees (600 vs 300) as GHL. TPH alone has like 100 employees and was a great addition To the PWP franchise (plus it helped win oil and gas RX work over the last two years)

I work at a boutique and have seen EB benchmarking internally

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Feb 3, 2022 - 8:36pm

I don't think they've released their detailed FY-21 results yet, and to the best of my knowledge DB doesn't separate debt/equity origination revenue and advisory revenue in their breakdown, so I couldn't include them.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 3, 2022 - 8:50pm

Interesting, GS is still the undisputed top bank, Evercore is the GS of independent banks, Jefferies is obviously making a killing on those sponsor sell-sides with undisclosed transaction values that don't show up on league tables, Citi's playing into their reputation as a balance-sheet BB that gets a league table boost through financing, and Greenhill is nowhere to be found. Judging by their YTD Q3-21 results, Moelis is probably going to land somewhere around Lazard with at least $1.5-1.6B advisory revenues.

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 3, 2022 - 9:13pm

ngl, the GS/JPM/MS disparity was pretty surprising. Obviously GS is the investment bank, but when you consider that MS has a reputation for M&A being their bread and butter and GS/JPM/MS are widely considered to be on the same tier, it's pretty surprising that MS's advisory revenue is only ~60% of GS.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Feb 4, 2022 - 5:16am

Take it as you will. In my group at MS we benchmark ourselves to GS based on deal share of the largest X deals of the quarter to adjust for differences in volume and we go back and forth every year in 1) wallet share and 2) deals as lead. Only focusing on top deals is just another way to look at it 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 3, 2022 - 8:57pm

Real talk, can Greenhill rebuild? How can they afford the fat guaranteed comp packages needed to poach rainmakers when they have more advisory + RX MDs than PWP and PJT generating less than half the revenue?

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Feb 9, 2022 - 8:26pm

That's a fair point...their best strategy may be to develop talent organically and promote from within.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Feb 3, 2022 - 11:17pm

You will make for a very good monkey someday. Keep up the good work solider

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Feb 6, 2022 - 9:05am

Bump, or if headed there would you try to rerecruit for FT

Feb 5, 2022 - 2:00am
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

While these are the "household" IB names, a few of the publicly-traded MM banks / privately-held firms had even bigger years than the firms starting from UBS.

  • 2
Feb 5, 2022 - 10:59am
ThiccPik, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I like this way of looking at things alot better, even though it doesn't allow for the coverage-level view, it still gives a better perspective on who is making fees. The only point I'd make is that this is probably most reflective of 2H20 -> 1H21 given how IBs recognize advisory revenue.

Obviously Barclays will be in top 10 but I'll predict moelis will be as well. 


  • 2
Feb 5, 2022 - 1:39pm
5678199345575, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you want to make this more interesting. Break this down by advisory revenue per advisory headcount. Then you really start to see whats what.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Feb 5, 2022 - 1:49pm

Easy to do for the boutiques but not really possible for investment banks that do more than advisory since they usually only list MD headcount for IB division as a whole, and different firms have different hierarchies (MD/SMD/Partner, etc). That being said, for the independents, the numbers are as follows (Senior headcount numbers from FY-21 reports if available or Q3 reports):

- Evercore: $3,205M Total IB revenue / 254 IB SMDs + MDs= $12.6M per MD+

- Jefferies: $4,423M Total IB revenue / 278 IB MDs = $15.9M per MD

- Lazard: $1,778M Advisory revenue / 182 Advisory MDs = $9.8M per MD

- Moelis: $1,558M Advisory revenue / 136 MDs = $11.5M per MD 

- PWP: ~$800M Advisory revenue / ~110 Partners + MDs = ~$7.3M per MD+

- PJT: $763M Advisory + RX revenue / 71 Advisory + RSSG Partners = $10.7M per Partner

- Greenhill: $318M Advisory revenue / 79 MDs = $4.0M per MD.

Obviously the numbers aren't all comparable, since Jefferies and Evercore also do underwriting. Also I'm not sure if PJT has MDs below Partners, so PJT's numbers may not be exactly comparable.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Feb 5, 2022 - 6:31pm

Believe Evercore MD = ED at others and Evercore SMD = MD at others. On earnings call, primary productivity metric talked about by management is Revenue per SMD and that's how the firm benchmarks itself vs other independent firms 

Feb 10, 2022 - 1:39pm
5678199345575, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Should be 120. 16 were internal promotes this year and not year end. So 120 MDs brought in $1.5BN rev.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Feb 14, 2022 - 8:53am

HL boasts $2,299m in advisory revenue (right between BAML and Evercore). Furthermore, it ranks better than PWP and GHL in revs per MD. HL 2021 (Jan-Dec):

-CF: $1,615m in revs / 198 MDs = $8.2m per MD. From Dec '20 to Dec '21, the amount of MDs in CF has increased from 123 to 198. If you consider an average # of MDs of 160.5, then the revenues per MD are $10.1m

-RX: $414.0m in revs / 52 MDs = $8.0m per MD

-FAS: $270.8m / 34 MDs = $8.0m per MD

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Feb 5, 2022 - 3:05pm

Wonder how CVP did in 2021 considering their past annual fees have been rumored to be around $1.2B and they likely blew that out of the water.

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 5, 2022 - 5:43pm

To answer the question empirically, RBC's IB advisory + underwriting revenue for FY-21 (they don't separate advisory revenues in their financials) was ~$2,110M (at current exchange rates), compared to $14,876M for Goldman, $13,359M for JPM, $10,272M for MS, $7,513M for Citi, $5,107M for BofA, $4,423M for Jefferies, $4,038M for CS, $3,158M for UBS, $2,969M for DB, and $1,654M for WF. So, from that, it seems like their IB division is still below BBs + Jefferies (don't know the information for DB as I think they include S&T revenues within their IB division for reporting purposes but I'd imagine that DB IB revenue > UBS IB revenue considering DB is a debt underwriting powerhouse), and above WF.

Feb 6, 2022 - 7:19am
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Often difficult to piece together the difference between the two. Many banks (ie Citi / DB) will appear as an "advisory" advisor when really all they did on the deal was provide balance sheet financing.

Feb 6, 2022 - 1:32pm
loanboy043, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Financing = Lending money. Leveraged finance/capital markets. Title required for league tables credi: Joint Bookrunner or Joint Lead Arranger On Credit Agreement at closing. Commitment Letter - sign a commitment to lend $$. League table credit requires title of aj

Advisory = not lending money. Valuation heavy - IBD. providing advisory services thru deal process including Fairness Opinion, summarizing the valuation is fair based on comps - a requirement for M&A/LBO transactions. Sign Engagement Letter as role of Financial Advisor after commencement of Due Diligence. Ending at signing of Commitment Letter above.

Feb 6, 2022 - 1:04pm
sheldonxp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can we also see this for equity and debt issuance fees per bank? For this of us more interested in that side of the business.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Feb 10, 2022 - 5:37pm

Frankly very impressed by Jefferies. With the way they are performing, how would you group Jefferies? Who are their primary competitors / comps? Seems like people refuse to group them in with the EBs, yet they are performing on par with them… please someone enlighten me.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Feb 10, 2022 - 6:17pm

Jefferies is impossible to group. Their primary competitors range from reputable MM firms like Blair, Baird, and HL, to top independents like Lazard and Evercore, to BBs. They simply operate everywhere (Completed 314 M&A deals worth $380.4B in FY-21 for an average size of $1.21B so they're way too large to be compared to top MM firms, but they clearly dip into the MM territory more often than most BBs. They also completed 102 M&A transactions >$1B last year, far more than every other top independent).

The other large institutionalized independents (Lazard, Evercore) are also similar in that their deals range everywhere from MM to mega-cap, but their average deal size is still larger than Jefferies as Jefferies does far more volume in the MM than them, and Jefferies doesn't have the entrenched reputation that they have. Asides from historical reputation, I think it'd make most sense to compare Jefferies to Lazard and Evercore as the same "type of firm" (have branched out and established AM and/or ER and/or S&T divisions, but are still first and foremost IB firms). Jefferies, Evercore, and Lazard also have somewhat close IB headcounts (Jefferies the largest, followed by Lazard and then Evercore). However, Jefferies has diversified their IB revenue far more than Evercore and Lazard, which are still mostly if not all pure advisory, so Jefferies doesn't belong there.

The top "pure IB" independents (Moelis, PWP, PJT, CVP) obviously don't fit with Jefferies, as Jefferies is a full-scale IB while those are pure/almost-entirely advisory firms. The next place to look would be BBs. Like the BBs, Jefferies offers multiple products, and I don't think "Jefferies doesn't have a global presence" nearly holds as much water as it used to (Jefferies is rapidly expanding in Europe, has solid deal flow from Asia and the Middle East despite not even having an office in the ME, and is very high in the ECM and M&A league tables in the UK). However, Jefferies still isn't a full-service bank unlike the BBs, and as a result, Jefferies does not have anywhere close to the levels of lending capabilities that the BBs build their IB divisions on, even though Jefferies's M&A and ECM practices are up there with mid-BBs.

Jefferies also doesn't really belong with the "in-between" banks, as the "in-between" banks (WF, BMO, etc) are much more like BB-lites (full-service banks, large balance sheets, IB driven by lending practice), but they simply have small IB divisions and advisory practices. Even though Jefferies isn't a full-service bank, their IB practice is way stronger than any "in-between" bank.

Thus, in my opinion, Jefferies doesn't belong in any category, but straddles somewhere between the BBs and the institutional independents.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Feb 10, 2022 - 6:24pm

Wow that was incredibly well-articulated and convincing

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Feb 10, 2022 - 11:29pm

For some reason, I can't edit the posts, so here are the FY-21 advisory revenues for CS and DB below:

CS: $967M 

DB: ~$559M  

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Feb 23, 2022 - 11:41am

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  • Intern in IB - Cov
Feb 23, 2022 - 11:46am

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Feb 14, 2022 - 8:20am

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Mar 1, 2022 - 8:56am
iruufnnshsudod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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