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商业 - 金融

花旗投行业务缩水折射华尔街困境

Stephen Gandel 2012年07月18日

花旗多项投行业务收入锐减40%,裁员的可能性正在增大。尽管如此,今年上半年,如果按投行收入计算,花旗仍然排名第七——与一年前持平。这意味着投行问题是整个华尔街的问题,而不只是花旗一家。

    华尔街人士或许正在暗自庆幸黯淡的第二季度终于过去了,但问题是第三季度一定会好转吗?

    从花旗(Citigroup)身上,我们看到,更多迹象显示,眼下投行业务的情况到底有多么的糟糕。总的来说,花旗周一早间发布的第二季度业绩好于预期。但几乎所有的好消息都来自于传统的贷款和支付处理业务,投行业务依然惨淡。

    第二季度,花旗的股票和债券交易均环比下降了40%左右。承销业务看起来相对好一些,第二季度债券和股票发行收入环比仅下降了1%。但这主要是因为第一季度数据同样低迷。与去年同期相比,花旗的股票和债券承销收入分别下降了40%和20%。

    第二季度,花旗自营交易利润同比出现了增长,但目前尚不清楚这一利好到底有多大。如果多德-弗兰克法案(Dodd-Frank)下的《沃克尔法则》(Volcker rule)生效,大多数所谓的“自营交易”都可能被禁,限制银行进行风险性交易的能力。不过,花旗的自营交易仍然取得了相当的收入——仅今年上半年就达到了34亿美元,占机构客户业务(包括投行业务等)收入总额的20%。等到2014年初《沃克尔法则》完全生效之时,花旗将如何填补这部分收入目前尚不得而知。

    并购咨询业务是一个亮点:今年第二季度收入环比增长近一倍,同比也略有增长。但这项业务收入合计仅2亿美元,相比收入逾180亿美元的其他业务而言,显得微不足道。

    而且,这项业务似乎正处于变动之中。今年早些时候,花旗银行调整了并购业务领导层,2008年从奄奄一息的雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)挖来的马克•沙菲尔不再是花旗并购业务的唯一负责人。而且,花旗可能已经给新任联合主管保罗•泰格另外找了个搭档,让沙菲尔走人。据《彭博商业周刊》(Bloomberg Businessweek)报道,瑞•麦克维尔已接管花旗并购业务。因此,并不清楚花旗并购业务的增长是源于前任、还是新任主管,也不清楚这股势头能否持续下去。花旗拒绝给本文作者回电说明究竟是谁在掌管其并购业务。

    周一早间的投资者会议上,花旗首席财务官约翰•戈斯帕奇称,如果市场继续不景气,投行业务可能会裁员。但猎头公司称,他们听说花旗早已开始裁减初级银行家,并且正在准备一轮更大规模的裁员。一位猎头称,他听花旗一位新入职的应届生说,他被调到纽约市工作1个月后就被裁掉了。

    但是,戈斯帕奇淡化了花旗投行业务表现欠佳的问题。他说,他和其他高管对投行业务的表现感到满意。个中原因或许是虽然花旗的投行业务呈现下滑,但并不比其他公司下滑得更厉害。今年上半年,按投行收入计算,花旗排名第七——与一年前持平。这意味着投行问题是整个华尔街的问题,而不只是花旗一家。

    而且,虽然花旗有相当一部分业务依然来自于投行,但它在一定程度上可以将这些问题隐藏在其庞大的全球银行业务之下,而其全球银行业务看起来的确有所改观。本周晚些时候,高盛(Goldman Sachs)和摩根大通(Morgan Stanley)发布业绩时就享受不到这种好处了。

    译者:早稻米

    Wall Streeters are probably happy to have the second quarter behind them. The question is whether the third will be any better.

    More evidence for just how bad the investment banking business is emerged from Citigroup (C). Overall, the bank's profits, which Citi reported Monday morning, were better than expected. But nearly all of the good news came from the bank's traditional lending and payment processing businesses. When it came to investment banking, things continued to look bleak.

    Both equity and bond trading fell around 40% in the second three months of the year, compared to the first quarter. Underwriting looked better. Fees from bond and stock offerings were only down 1% from the first three months for the year. But that's mostly because the first quarter was weak as well. Compared to a year ago, Citi's equity underwriting fees were down 40%. Debt underwriting fell 20%.

    The money Citi made from trading the bank's own money was up from a year ago. But it's not clear how much of a positive that is. Most so-called principal transactions are likely to be banned under Dodd-Frank's Volcker rule, which hasn't gone into effect yet and is supposed to curtail the banks' ability to make risky trades. Nonetheless, Citi still generates significant revenue from principal transactions - $3.4 billion in the first half of the year alone, or 20% of its total institutional client business, which includes investment banking, along with some other businesses. How it will replace that revenue when Volcker is fully put into place in early 2014 is unclear.

    One bright spot was Citi's mergers and acquisition advisory business. Revenue in that business nearly doubled in the second quarter from the first three months of the year, and was up slightly from the same period a year ago. But that business, just $200 million in revenue, is tiny relative to the rest of the bank, which generated over $18 billion in sales.

    What's more, the division has seemed in transition. Earlier this year, Citigroup split the leadership of the unit, taking control away from Mark Shafir, who had been lured from the dying Lehman Brothers in 2008 to be Citi's sole head of M&A. But Citi may have already given the partnership of Paul Tague, the new co-head, and Shafir the boot. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Ray McGuire has taken over leading the bank's M&A business. So it's not clear whether the jump in Citi's M&A business is the result of the old bosses or the new one, or whether it will continue. The bank declined to call me back to comment on who was currently running its M&A business.

    On a conference call this morning with investors, Citi's Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said layoffs were possible in its investment bank if markets remain choppy. Recruiters, though, say they have heard Citi has already started cutting junior bankers, and that the bank is preparing plans for a larger round of layoffs soon. One search executive said he had heard from a Citi recruit and recent college graduate who was let go one month after relocating to New York City.

    Still, Gerspach downplayed the poor performance of Citi's investment bank. He said he and other executives at the bank were happy with how the division was doing. The reason, perhaps: while Citi's I-bank might be sinking, it's not falling faster than anyone else. In the first half of the year, Citi ranked as the seventh largest investment bank in terms of overall fees - the same place it had a year ago. Meaning investment banking is a Wall Street problem, not just a Citi one.

    And while Citi still gets a good portion of its business from investment banking, it can somewhat hide those problems behind its large global banking operations, which do appear to be doing better. That's a luxury that Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS), both of which report earnings later in the week, don't have.

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