World’s Best Investment Banks 2020: Sector Winners

These sector winners made the best of a lackluster year.

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the investment banking industry was seeing a less-than-stellar 2019 as global investment banking volume continued declining despite a record economic expansion. Ongoing trade issues and slower earnings growth translated into a 4.3% decrease in net revenue to $77.7 billion from $81.2 billion in 2018, according to Dealogic.

Some sectors experienced growth, including financial institutions, real estate and technology; but most suffered declines, with consumer goods and industrials/chemicals posting double-digit setbacks. Regardless, leading investment banks pushed forward with sectoral specialization to maintain momentum in topline growth. Global Finance’s sector awards, given to a total of eight banks in 12 different sectors, recognize exceptional service in a specific industry.

 Maintaining and growing a specialized international practice requires teams with extensive sector knowledge and deep relationships with industry participants and, for some sectors, government and regulatory bodies. The financial institutions named in this year’s awards were best able to use their experience and knowledge to achieve results for clients with innovative and practical solutions.


Dealmakers in industrials/chemicals were under pressure in 2019 as net investment banking revenue for the sector declined 13% to $9.6 billion, according to Dealogic. Goldman Sachs was named this year’s sector winner, capturing a 7.2% market share while net revenue decreased slightly to $690.1 million.

The sector includes a broad universe of industries and companies around the world, ranging from large international megacaps to private, family-owned companies. “With portfolio optimization being a key theme, industrials companies are continuing to seek investments in higher growth, higher margin businesses,” says Matt McClure, global co-head of industrials Investment Banking at Goldman. Bankers are paying close attention to the confluence of industrials and technology as companies focus on opportunities like robotics and automation, instrumentation and the “internet of things.”

M&A in the industrials sector was lively, driven by both strategic acquirers and private equity, with transactions over $10 billion accounting for an outsize percentage of total volume during 2019. Companies continue to seek transformational deals and structured transactions to drive portfolio simplification, create more-nimble entities and maximize shareholder value, says Clare Scherrer, co-head with McClure at Goldman.


Macquarie Capital was the only Australian name in the Best Investment Banks category, taking the prize once again for infrastructure. It employs a team of specialists across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East, providing strategic mergers and acquisitions and capital-raising advice, and contributing early-stage project capital.

Notable deals in 2019 included the A9 Badhoevedorp-Holendrecht private-public partnership project: the final leg of the Schiphol-Amsterdam-Almere corridor (SAA) to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and improve accessibility within the greater Amsterdam area. As part of the project, the existing A9 road near Amstelveen will expand from three to four lanes in each direction, including the construction of a sunken highway with roof structures, bridge upgrades and installation of sound barriers. The SAA project is a 14-year design-build-finance-maintain contract.

Also in 2019, Macquarie Capital partnered with Aberdeen Standard Investments to purchase Spanish telecom operator Masmovil’s fiber-to-the-home network covering some 940,000 units for €218.5 million ($236.1 million). Macquarie also acted as sponsor, lead equity investor, sole debt arranger and sole financial adviser. The network provides bit-stream services across the greater metropolitan areas of five of Spain’s largest cities and will become  the country’s first independent wholesale bit-stream operator; Masmovil itself will be the network’s first major customer.

Metals and Mining

Along with significant political and economic risks, companies in the metals and mining sector faced a host of difficulties in 2019. “In the current environment, where the global economy is held back by factors such as tariffs, trade wars and coronavirus, demand for metals has been impacted in the short term,” says Jamie Rogers, co-head of Global Metals and Mining at BMO Capital Markets, the winner of Global Finance’s award in this sector. “That said, we believe there remains significant opportunity for certain commodities to perform well in the coming years as deficits are forecast for a variety of commodities.”

BMO advised Newmont Mining in 2019 on the $10 billion acquisition of Goldcorp that established Newmont Goldcorp as the world’s largest gold company, on the formation of a joint venture in Nevada with Barrick Gold combining their mining operations, assets, reserves and expertise. BMO acted as an adviser to Detour Gold on its 4.9 billion Canadian dollar ($3.4 billion) sale to Kirkland Lake Gold and acted as bookrunner on several of the sector’s largest equity, equity-linked and leveraged finance transactions globally.

A bright spot in mining is “new-era” metals such as lithium and cobalt, which are becoming important as the world moves toward wider electric vehicle use. “While certain commodity prices pulled back significantly from highs achieved in 2018, we believe there will be a substantial adoption of electric vehicles globally,” says Ilan Bahar, Rogers’ co-head at BMO. “The electric-vehicle theme supports outperformance of lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper.” He expects a robust future of financing and IPOs in these newly important commodities.


Citi took the title as best investment bank in the power sector, having raised just over $17 billion of equity for capital investment in North America in 2019 while acting as book runner on every transaction over $1 billion.

“Financing markets for power and utilities are extremely robust,” says Jack Paris, co-head of Global Power Investment Banking at Citi. “The combination of strong investment-grade credits and solid growth drove demand for paper to all-time highs. Power is a capital-intensive sector as a result of constant reinvestment in infrastructure for safety, growth, and compliance with changing laws and regulation—and more recently, in particular, the energy transition.”

However, changes in technology, commodity prices and social priorities—particularly in the shadow of climate change—promote companies to reconsider their capital-deployment priorities. Investors are focused on stable, predictable yield and ESG, and producers must be cognizant of those preferences as well. “Onshore wind, solar, and offshore wind, in particular, will be enormous growth drivers for the power sector globally, as these replace older fossil assets,” says Philip ten Bosch, co-head with Paris at Citi. Companies will need to focus on “investment in flexibility to complement the renewables growth and digitization of both power networks and end-consumer businesses.”


Technology continues to be a hub for global innovation, with the potential to support future manufacturing momentum. In 2020, CCB International was once again awarded the best investment bank prize for technology.

Stable trade and increased high-tech foreign direct investment, along with a recovering global IT cycle, drove growth in China last year. Corporate balance sheets improved, despite global growth slowed by uncertainty around US-China trade negotiations. Uncertainty softened manufacturing activity and affected global supply chains.

The private sector continued to restructure and consolidate in recent years, creating overcapacity and receding deflationary pressure, resulting in price surges. Hardware, consumer electronics and high-end equipment suffered soft demand as well. Investment banking activity in the technology sector grew only modestly in 2019, with net revenue rising just 3.9% to $11.3 billion, according to Dealogic.

As trade negotiations continue, global IT sales would normally pick up in 2020 as the semiconductor cycle turns positive—but COVID-19 threw these expectations into doubt.

Other Winning Banks

Along with taking the title as top investment bank in the power sector, Citi was singled out in media/entertainment, with $228.8 million in net revenue (5.5% share). J.P. Morgan took this year’s prize for multiple sectors after raising $1.2 billion in funding in deals for financial institutions (7.4% share in the industry) and $737.4 million for oil and gas producers (7.5% share) as well as the title for Best Investment Bank for Telecoms.

Morgan Stanley took prizes in two sectors. It raised $727.3 million in revenue for healthcare (8.3% share), a focus for megadeals. M&A deals involving pharmaceutical companies were a key driver of topline growth and market-share expansion, including Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $95 billion acquisition of Celgene, with Morgan Stanley as adviser. Morgan was also named top investment bank for real estate, raising $372.8 million in revenue (6.8% share).

Bank of America was honored in the consumer sector, having earned $530.9 million in net revenue (7.5% share).


Consumer Bank of America
Financial Institutions J.P. Morgan
Healthcare Morgan Stanley
Industrials/Chemicals Goldman Sachs
Infrastructure Macquarie Capital
Media/Entertainment Citi
Metals & Mining BMO Capital
Oil & Gas J.P. Morgan
Power Citi
Real Estate Morgan Stanley
Technology CCB International
Telecoms J.P. Morgan