• Investment Banking

JP Morgan’s investment bank off to a record start

Wall Street bank kicks off earnings season with its best ever first-quarter performance for investment banking revenues


JP Morgan has opened the Wall Street earnings season with its investment bank posting its most profitable start to a year on record.

The US banking giant today reported group-wide revenues of $24.7 billion for the first quarter, up 6% year-on-year. Net profits rose 17% to $6.4 billion in what chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon described as “a good start to the year”.

The corporate and investment bank, led by London-based Daniel Pinto, reported revenues of $9.5 billion, up from $8.1 billion a year before. Net profits surged by 64% to a first-quarter high of $3.2 billion, the bank said.

In its advisory and underwriting business, fees for the quarter hit a record $1.8 billion, the bank said. That was thanks to a near-doubling of revenues from equity underwriting as well as strong revenues from debt underwriting. Those gains more than offset a 14% decline in fees from advisory work.

In markets and investor services, fixed income trading revenues of $4.2 billion were up 17% year-on-year, with a smaller rise of just 2% in equities trading. That left total sales and trading revenues at $5.8 billion, rising 12% from the first quarter of 2016.

The bank said in its earnings announcement that the fixed income gains reflected a “robust performance” in securitised products. It added: “Rates improved, with increased market activity, particularly in Europe in advance of upcoming elections and in reaction to central bank actions.”

In a report published on April 12, analysts at S&P Global Ratings said investment banks' first-quarter results would show it had been a strong start to 2017 for the sector. They predicted Q1 revenues would be up around 10% year-on-year across the industry.