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TheStreet Open House

JPMorgan Investment Bank Avoids Crisis, for Now (Update 2)

Stocks in this article: JPMGSMSCBACKBWBCSTRI

JPMorgan's earnings also rebut analyst's forecasts that the investment bank would contribute the smallest share of revenue to the overall bank since the fourth quarter of 2008, a time when global capital markets were nearly frozen. According to median estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters analysts expected JPMorgan to earn $23.40 billion in revenue, making managements forecast of $4.77 billion in investment banking revenue, roughly 20% of overall forecasted revenue the smallest revenue contribution by the investment bank since it nearly pushed the overall bank to a loss in the 4th quarter of 2008.

For now, the DVA boosted earnings reverses a trend of falling investment banking revenue, which accounts for between a quarter and a third of JPMorgan Chase's overall revenue and has, in post-crisis quarters, supplied up to 75% of overall profits to the second largest bank in the U.S. For JPMorgan's investment bank, which has shown quarter-over-quarter declines in revenue in 6 of the last 8 quarters, today's earnings still jeopordize expectations earlier in the year that 2011 would be better than 2010. In the first two quarters of the year revenue increased 16% and net income increased 49%.

Falling revenue and an increase in profits were driven by expense savings, mainly pay. Compensation expense as a percentage of revenue fell to 29%, from 35% in the second quarter and 38% a year earlier --overall the investment bank paid employees $1.85 billion. In the quarter, it reduced headcount by about 1,100 employees, or 4% of total workers. Barclays Capital's Goldberg wrote in his note, "as revenues decline, we would expect a commensurate decrease in expenses." Expense reductions may continue to come via a shrinking staff. After earnings were announced Dimon said that while the bank does not have a formal layoff program, he expects the investment bank to reduce headcount by about 1,000 over the next 18 months.

Investment banking fee revenue fell 46% to $1.04 billion, after growing 23% and 37% in the first and second quarters respectively when compared with 2010. In the second quarter, the investment bank posted its best quarter since earning $2.24 billion in that period two years prior. According to Dealogic, global investment banking revenue was $13.5 billion in the third quarter, the lowest level since the first quarter of 2009 and down nearly 40% from second quarter levels of $21.4 billion. The third quarter results still showed that JPMorgan led all banks in investment banking fees, taking an 8.4% overall market share. Results showed that through the first 9 months of the year, it led all banks in fees earned from debt issuance and was second in equity capital market, M&A and Loan fees earned.

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