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UBS and ECM: A public-private partnership

Banks’ third-quarter results show fixed income trading still depressed and CIB revenues mostly down, but UBS is looking remarkably perky, especially in equity capital markets. What’s up?


UBS just clocked up the same equity capital markets revenue as JPMorgan and Citi, and more than anyone else. That also means more than Goldman Sachs: for two quarters in succession. While the global fee pool in the third quarter actually fell by 1%, UBS’s quarterly ECM revenues, were up year on year by 132%. 

So what’s going on? In the third quarter of 2017, UBS’s ECM bookrunner league table credit was about $7.8 billion, according to Dealogic data. That’s a 3.88% market share for 7th place – some way off JPM’s 8.6% leading position. Back in the same quarter of 2016 UBS’s share was… 3.45% for 7th place, some way off JPM’s 9% leading position. The bank’s league table position might not have changed, but it has clocked up more attributed credit, up from $7.1 billion. But that still doesn't explain it.

The answer is private ECM business, which doesn’t appear in league tables but shows up very nicely in the top and bottom lines. 


UBS doesn’t talk a whole lot about it, but it’s certainly paying rich dividends right now.

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