Investment bank

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Investment banks are special banks whose core business from the investment business , the asset management for its customers, the trade with securities and support for companies in corporate actions , such as an IPO is.


Investment banks serve to support trading in financial markets through investment transactions. They were originally in US -tier banking system as a counterpart to the commercial banks ( english commercial banks ) which the recording was permitted by customer deposits, but were subject to tighter supervision. In the wake of the US banking crisis in 2008, however , the remaining large investment banks renounced their special legal status in September 2008. In countries with a universal banking system, such as Germany , there are usually no separate status for the investment banking business. An exception is the in all EU Member States applicable investment code with special arrangements for the investment business.

Historical development

In the era of the Gilded Age , companies such as US Steel and General Electric were created in the USA through the acquisitions of John Pierpont Morgan's shares in companies and their subsequent merger . The Rothschild family's banking houses ( Rio Tinto , Eramet , Imerys , De Beers ) and Sal. Oppenheim played a comparable role in Europe .

Investment banks as they are today developed in the USA after the introduction of the Glass-Steagall Act (1933), which prescribed a strict separation of commercial banks and investment banks. Although the strict business segregation required by this law was lifted in 1999, investment banks continued to be subject to less stringent regulation.

An increasing takeover of investment banks by universal banks could already be observed since the end of the 1980s . In addition to the attractiveness and image of the business, this was justified by the fact that mixed banks could give their customers greater guarantees for issues and cover the entire financing portfolio. Credit Suisse took over First Boston in 1988, Deutsche Bank in 1989 Morgan Grenfell and in November 1998 / June 1999 Bankers Trust New York Corp., Dresdner Bank in 1995 Kleinwort Benson and in 2000 Wasserstein Perella, UBS S. G. Warburg and Paine Webber, the Citigroup Smith Barney and Salomon Brothers .

With the US banking crisis of 2008 , the five largest US investment banks disappeared between May and September 2008. For example, due to refinancing difficulties, the traditional company Merrill Lynch was taken over by Bank of America in September 2008 and Lehman Brothers had to file for bankruptcy. Bear Stearns had to approve its sale to the financial group JPMorgan Chase in March . The previous investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley also gave up their legal status as investment banks. In light of these developments, former Bear Stearns boss Alan Greenberg, who had worked on Wall Street for over 60 years , described investment banking as "done" in a December 2008 interview with Bloomberg TV .



According to the financial newspaper Financial Times , the following banks had the world's largest investment banking business in 2018 (by income ):

rank Bank country Income (USD million)
1. JPMorgan Chase United StatesUnited States United States 7,028.00
2. Goldman Sachs United StatesUnited States United States 6,447.96
3. Morgan Stanley United StatesUnited States United States 5,261.01
4th Bank of America Merrill Lynch United StatesUnited States United States 5,052.70
5. Citigroup United StatesUnited States United States 4,681.19
6th Credit Suisse SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 3,338.08
7th Barclays United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 3,220.81
8th. Deutsche Bank GermanyGermany Germany 2,573.35
9. Wells Fargo & Co United StatesUnited States United States 2,151.26
10. HSBC Holdings PLC United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 2,055.34

The income listed results from the classic investment banking activities of banks (M&A, issuance of equity and debt). Income from securities trading or asset management was not taken into account.



  • Michael Schröder u. a .: The Role of Investment Banking for the German Economy . ZEW Mannheim, No. 12–01, 2012, ISSN  1611-681X (PDF; 4.1 MB) .
  • Alan D. Morrison, William J. Wilhelm, Jr .: Investment Banking: Institutions, Politics, and Law . Revised new edition. Oxford University Press, 2008, ISBN 0-19-954418-2 .
  • Heinz-Josef Hockmann (Ed.), Friedrich Thießen: Investment Banking . 2nd revised edition. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 3-7910-2590-2 .
  • Ann-Kristin Achleitner: Investment Banking Handbook . 3. Edition. Gabler, Wiesbaden 2000, ISBN 3-409-34184-6 .

Individual evidence

  1. Source: Bloomberg
  2. League Tables. In: September 25, 2019, accessed November 13, 2019 .
  3. Annette Scharnberg: Demystified: The banking documentary "Master Of The Universe". In: 3sat . August 13, 2013, accessed June 11, 2015 .
  4. "Master of the Universe" by Marc Bauder wins critics' award in Locarno. (PDF; 69 kB) Hessian Film Funding , August 19, 2013, accessed on June 11, 2015 (press release).