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Investment banking: Australia is the fly in Morgan Stanley’s ointment

Threatens UBS dominance in core IB revenue; Still lags competitors in Australia

Morgan Stanley is leading its investment banking peers in Asia excluding Japan and Australia as the year ends, despite the loss of several senior bankers at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010.

Bolstered by its global coordinator role in both of the year’s $20 billion-plus IPOs, those of Agricultural Bank of China and AIA, the US-investment bank has (alongside perennial rival Goldman Sachs) managed a leading performance in the region’s most important product, equities.

While management says that progress has been made in Australia, the firm’s traditional weak spot in the Asia-Pacific region, the data show that Morgan Stanley still has much work to do there. If it can get that right, the bank has the opportunity of regaining the title of leading Asia investment bank that it held before UBS’s extraordinary rise to the top in recent years.

With the Swiss bank now having lost many of the capital markets bankers that took it to the top, Dealogic data show that its market share of core investment banking revenue for Asia (inc-Australia, ex-Japan) has dropped from 9.3%

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