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As rising market volatility torpedoed equity issuance and slowed M&A and debt market activity, investment banking revenues dropped to a three-year low in the first half of 2022, Refinitiv reported.

Global investment banking fees came in at an estimated US$56.7 billion in the first six months of this year, down by 31% from the same period last year.

The drop was led by the plunge in equity underwriting, which saw fees drop 72% year over year to their lowest level since 2003.

Debt underwriting fees were also down 26%, syndicated lending declined by 9% and M&A advisory fees edged lower by about 6%, Refinitiv said.

The report noted that second quarter fees were 12% lower than in the first quarter, as market volatility persisted.

JP Morgan retained its hold on the top spot in the overall league tables, with an estimated US$3.8 billion in first half fees, which represented a 45% drop year over year.

Goldman Sachs ranked second, with BofA Securities climbing up to third spot as its fees held up better than most of the major Wall Street firms (down 38% from last year).

Morgan Stanley and Citi rounded out the top five.

Two Canadian firms ranked among the top 25 globally, the data showed.

RBC Capital Markets slipped to 13th spot in Refinitiv’s rankings from 10th place last year, amid a 40% drop in estimated fees, while BMO Capital Markets fell to 25th from 20th as its fees were 24% lower.