There are hundreds of investment banks worldwide, but each bank is different based on many categories, including revenue, total employees, global presence, and market share. The top investment banks are generally viewed as those with the highest numbers across the different categories. This article will provide a brief description of each of the top ten investment banks, along with an overview of their standings related to the categories mentioned above.
The top ten investment banks, ranked by their size as of November 2020 (determined by market capitalization), are as follows:
- JPMorgan Chase
- Bank of America
- Wells Fargo
- Morgan Stanley
- Goldman Sachs
- Credit Suisse
It is important to note that the below investment banks are not ranked based on other factors besides market capitalization. As such, the list is not an indication of which banks are the “best.
JPMorgan Chase is likely the most recognizable name in investment banking. Its history dates back to the late 1800s, but naturally, it has transformed drastically over time. It was founded on December 1, 2000, when the merger between JPMorgan and Chase Manhattan Bank merged. The bank operates in over 60 countries with more than 240,000 workers worldwide and has clients consisting of the world’s most distinguished corporations, governments, institutional investors, and individuals. It posted revenues of $115.6 billion in 2019, and it has a market share of 9.6 percent. As of November 2020, it has a market capitalization of $298.8 billion.
Bank of America
The large part of Bank of America’s investment banking activities came from its acquisition of Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis in 2008. It has since stated that it is rebranding Merrill Lynch and dropping the name entirely. Bank of America offers a wide range of financial services, including investment banking, asset management, and other financial and risk management products and services. It operates in over 35 countries with over 170,000 employees. It posted revenues of $91.24 billion in 2019, and it has a market share of 7.2 percent. As of November 2020, it has a market capitalization of $205.3 billion.
The Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution incorporated in 1869 and is currently one of North America’s leading financial services companies. Today it has strong positions in five key business segments, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management, investor and treasury services, capital markets, and insurance. It operates in 36 countries, including the United States and Canada, and employs over 86,000 people who serve the company’s seventeen million clients. It posted revenues of 46 billion CAD (approximately $34.5 billion) in 2019. As of November 2020, it has a market capitalization of $99.58 billion.
Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo & Company has grown to become one of America’s largest corporations, let alone investment banks. It provides services in banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial financial services. Unlike some of the other banks on
the list, Wells Fargo focuses largely on wholesale banking and investment management, and it runs a consumer bank. It has offices in over 40 countries and has over 260,000 employees. It posted revenues of $85.06 billion in 2019, and it has a market share of 2.1% in the investment banking industry. As of November 2020, it has a market capitalization of $88.64 billion.
Citigroup operates mainly in a few segments, including Global Consumer Banking, Institutional Clients Group, and Corporate and Other. The Institutional Clients Group is where its investment
banking activities occur. Overall, Citigroup has over 200,000 employees who serve approximately 200 million customers throughout 160 countries. It posted revenues of $74.29 billion in 2019, and it has a market share of 5.8% in its investment banking activities. As of November 2020, it has a market capitalization of $86.24 billion.
HSBC (The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) Holdings was founded in 1865 and is a British investment bank and financial services holding company. It focuses on investment banking than some of the other listed banks, as it deals primarily with investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, and private banking. As of November 2019, it was the biggest company in the United Kingdom by market capitalization. It operates in 64 countries and
territories and has approximately 230,000 employees serving over 40 million customers. Its revenues were $56.1 billion in 2019, and as of November 2020, it has a market capitalization of $85.33 billion, showing a 27 percent decline from one year earlier when it was $117.6 billion.
Morgan Stanley has about $550 billion in assets under management, far less than its main competitors in the investment banking industry. After the financial crisis in 2008, Morgan Stanley was hurt significantly, and it got substantial aid from the United States Government. Regardless, it is one of the most important players in the industry and one of the most recognizable names as well. It specializes in wealth and investment management and corporate restructuring. In 2019 it showed revenues of $41.42 billion. It has a market share of 6.4
percent, making it one of the top four banks in market share based on revenue. It has about 60,000 employees who work to benefit consumers in 41 countries worldwide. As of November
2020, it has a market capitalization of $84.19 billion.
Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 and focuses primarily on investing and lending, investment management, institutional client investments, and private equity. The majority of its revenue is
generated from investment banking. While it is one of the most recognizable names in banking, it has also had its fair share of controversies over the years. The bank fell into trouble for its role in the financial crisis of 2008 and has faced many other allegations since then. Regardless, it remains one of the largest financial institutions, with over $1.7 trillion in assets under management. It has about 40,000 employees who work throughout the 30 countries it operates in. In 2019 it had revenues of $36.55 billion, and it currently has a market share of 8.4 percent, second only to JPMorgan Chase. As of November 2020, it has a market capitalization of $65.04 billion.
UBS (the Union Bank of Switzerland) is a Swiss bank founded in 1862. In addition to its roles in investment, retail, and commercial banking, it has a strong presence in providing financial services to ultra-wealthy individuals. It has offices in 50 countries and has about 60,000 employees. It posted revenues of $30.21 billion in 2019 and, as of November 2020, has a market capitalization of $41.72 billion.
Along with UBS, Credit Suisse is a leading Swiss investment bank founded in 1856. It is famous for its confidentiality and secrecy related to its customer’s assets. Besides its investment banking division, it has strong foundations in taxation and advisory, structural lending, and investment research. Although headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, Credit Suisse has an extensive presence in the United States. It operates in 50 countries around the world and has over
40,000 employees. In 2019 its revenues were 22.48 CHF ($24.49 billion), and it has a market share of 4.1 percent. As of November 2020, it has a market capitalization of $22.82 billion.
This article was written by Marshall Dolan Henshaw, student at Cornell and aspiring financial services professional.
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