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Opinion

Awards for Excellence: Flipping investment banking

Lines are being blurred as advisers get better at financing, and firms that used to lead through balance sheet up their game in advisory.

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If you had fallen asleep a few years ago and woken up just in time to pick up Euromoney’s awards issue, you might be forgiven for thinking that there must have been a mistake at the printers. Goldman Sachs is the world’s best bank for financing? Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the world’s best bank for advisory? Shouldn’t that be the other way around?

No, it shouldn’t. One of the strongest themes to come out of our pitch meetings this year is the extent to which banks have broken out of their traditional comfort zones into parts of the business that seem far from their natural turf. Of course Goldman is a financing bank: just look at what it will commit to the Amazon/Whole Foods deal. In fact, it has already committed $20 billion to investment-grade bridge deals so far in 2017. 

By the same token, BAML’s lead advisory role in the agreed Bayer takeover of Monsanto shows how its advisory franchise has deepened, but it has also shown its structuring chops with deals such as Actelion’s sale of its existing pipeline to Johnson & Johnson. 

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