It was not a blockbuster year for investment bankers. The Financial Times reported that the grand total of all fees paid to such bankers around the world in 2012 was $69.4 billion—down 7% from last year and lower than it’s been since 2009, at the height of the recession. Fees are paid to bankers for brokering deals such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) or for issuing stocks or corporate bonds.
Bankers make most of their money off of M&A, which suffered this year, with the total value of deals falling 8.3% in the US and 9.7% in Europe. Stock offerings were also a lousy activity, except in the US, where the Facebook IPO boosted equity-related activity to its highest level since 2007.
Fox Business News notes that some banks are responding to the poor showing of their investment arms by cutting them:
Some banks, such as British group Royal Bank of Scotland, have already chosen to practically abandon equities trading, while Swiss lender UBS is ditching the bulk of its bond trading business.