(Be)league(red) tables

Preliminary first-quarter data from Thomson Reuters on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and capital markets are out. And unsurprisingly, spring has not sprung in investment banking, with the big exception of a record deluge of corporate bonds.

Fees across investment banking (M&A, loans, and debt and equity capital markets) halved, while fees for completed M&A topped that with a 68 percent fall. Overall announced M&A fell by a third, compared to the same period last year, to $444 billion.

And even that figure is flattered by two huge pharma deals, which bankers doubt will be followed by more of the same, and a flurry of bank bailouts.

Still, some houses will find reasons to be cheerful — Morgan Stanley, for example, which is no. 1 globally and in the United States, up from a dismal 10th a year earlier.

You can see a full round-down of previous quarters (and eventually of this quarter) here.

Is the tide turning for Switzerland’s banks?


UBS and Credit Suisse both have strong wealth management businesses — and the new year seems to have brought new hope.

UBS, which has written down more toxic assets than any other European bank, says it has had an “encouraging” start to 2009, with inflows into both its wealth and asset management businesses in January. Credit Suisse says it had a “strong start to 2009″ and was profitable across all its units so far this year.

This could be music to the ears of the Swiss, whose country may be faring better than others in the downturn (so far, at least) but is particularly reliant on its financial sector.

Citi to keep Banamex

Citi logoCiti is keeping its Mexican banking unit Banamex. Sources told Reuters that Citi sees the Mexican bank as a solid business and has no plans to sell it.

In recent days, analysts and business columnists have speculated that leading businessmen in Mexico could be planning to buy Banamex as Citigroup tries to shed assets.

Telecommunications┬ámogul Carlos Slim, the world’s second wealthiest man, was widely seen as a potential buyer, but his spokesman told Reuters on Friday that he was not in talks to acquire the bank.