World’s Best Investment Banks 2024—Regional Winners

Investment bankers across the globe can commiserate with one another on at least one fact: 2023 was a challenging year. In nearly every region, deal pros continued to feel the sting of sticky inflation, high-interest rates, and an uncertain macroeconomy due to the wars in both Ukraine and Gaza.

This environment failed to spark a meaningful uptick in global M&A activity, which fell to its lowest level in 10 years. In 2013, when dealmakers were still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, bankers reportedly inked just $2.8 trillion worth of deal volume.

The initial public offering (IPO) category was equally tough in 2023, but slightly more optimistic thanks to a slow, but exciting, stream of initial offerings like Arm Holdings ($4.9 billion), Maplebear ($660 million), and Klaviyo ($576 million).

Still, bankers are optimistic about 2024. A McKinsey report indicates that all regions enjoyed a fourth-quarter surge in M&A action, evidenced by global M&A activity spiking 41% in 2023’s fourth quarter compared to the preceding three-month period, and 37% in value from a year earlier, to $1 trillion. —AN

Africa | Standard Bank

In 2023, Standard Bank oversaw 60 deals and raised $18.2 billion in support of client investment and growth initiatives. “We focus on the main themes driving growth in our present markets,” says Brian Marshall, head of investment banking. Energy transition, infrastructure expansion, mining, sovereign borrowings, sustainable financing, refinance, and capital optimization have been those key overriding themes. With a presence in 20 markets, the bank has a footprint across all aspects of investment banking, including structuring of multicurrency and multicountry facilities. In sustainable finance, where it tops most Dealogic league tables, the bank mobilized $4.7 billion in finance and intends to target $13 billion by 2026. Standard Bank’s portfolio of deals includes participation in the ZAR 12 billion (approximately $647 million) syndicated facility for entertainment company MultiChoice and in Walmart’s acquisition of the outstanding shares in South Africa’s retail chain Massmart, having already acquired a majority stake in 2011.—John Njiraini

Asia-Pacific | ICBC

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), one of China’s largest banks, has built Asia’s most significant asset pool, focusing on transportation, water conservancy, energy, and new infrastructure. The Beijing-based bank’s investment banking service is well known for integrated solutions. In 2023, the team outperformed its peers across the board, due to its one-stop investment banking service, which includes M&A, bond underwriting, debt restructuring advisory services, syndicated lending, and equity investment and underwriting. Moreover, ICBC’s comprehensive project design and execution helped several Chinese conglomerates close their domestic and cross-border transactions in 2023. ICBC views innovation as a core competency in creating commercial value and as a social responsibility. The bank also set up a research center that has helped different levels of Chinese government authorities on economic and industrial policies across nearly 150 sectors.—LZ

Central & Eastern Europe | Bank Pekao

Amid a challenging year for European investment banking, due to lingering inflation and high financial costs, Bank Pekao exceeded market expectations and delivered above-average performance in 2023. For the full year, the bank’s operating income grew a hefty 40%, with profits before tax jumping from roughly $720 million in 2022 to a solid $2.1 billion in 2023. This has pushed the bank into an even more dominating position within its home investment banking market, with notable market share increases in debt and equity. Among the Polish-based giant’s greatest achievements in the year is the bank’s first-ever green bond issuance, for €500 million (about $545 million), which received backing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Moreover, Pekao landed a €68 million partnership with the European Investment Bank to extend new financing to support growth in small and midsize enterprises and Polish public sector companies. —LZ

Latin America | Itaú BBA

Itaú BBA operates one of the leading investment banking franchises in Latin America and holds strong positions in M&A, as well as equity and debt capital markets—a result of the bank’s extensive sector coverage and well-established senior management, which has an average 23-year industry tenure. Itaú BBA has led transactions in key sectors including pharmaceutical and biotech, electric utility, energy, power transmission, technology, oil and gas, supermarkets, food manufacturing, automotive, real estate, and construction. Notable mandates include acting as global coordinator on the largest deal in the power and utilities sector in Brazil. In the rental car sector, the bank participated in the largest follow-on offering of the past 12 months. The strength of the bank’s platform is reflected in 2023 Dealogic league table rankings where Itaú BBA ranks third (up from fourth) in Latin America by revenue, for an 8% share. The bank rose to first (from second) in equity volume with $2 billion in proceeds across 33 transactions, for a 15% share. In debt capital markets, Itaú BBA holds the third spot in Latin American debt issuance volume and jumped to sixth (from 14th) in international debt issuance, for a 6% market share. In M&A, it holds the fourth spot (up from fifth) in revenue, with an 8% share; and it is fourth in M&A volume, with 33 deals, for $14 billion in value and a 15% share. In Brazil, Itaú BBA ranks second in volume, with 33 deals, for $14 billion and a 28% share.—DS

Middle East | Emirates NBD Capital

Emirates NBD Capital (EmCap) has built a strong track record in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by delivering innovative financing across public and private markets with both conventional and Shariah-compliant offerings. As part of the No. 2 bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), backed by the government of Dubai (40.9% ownership), the bank’s franchise extends from its domestic UAE market to four major MENA financial centers and an additional nine global locations. This footprint results in mandates from regional governments, public investment funds, and corporate issuers across a broad range of industries. EmCap is a leading debt capital markets bank in the MENA region, with 2023 issuance of $39 billion across 72 deals, representing an increase of 180%, and in loans and credit facilities that involved 52 transactions for $38 billion in value, ranking among the top four in MENA league tables. Additionally, significant potential exists for EmCap to grow in IPOs, where the bank ranks first in the UAE and has participated in every IPO on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) since 2021. As local governments continue to privatize state assets, EmCap has been instrumental in developing and implementing the blueprint for government IPOs, and is leveraging its e-IPO investment portal, which connects to the DFM, for better distribution and investor participation. —DS

North America | J.P. Morgan

With its extensive global franchise, J.P. Morgan continues to navigate the many challenges and risks of volatile global markets, earning the New York–based bank the distinction of Best Investment Bank in North America. Regionally, the bank retained the top spot in the US, thanks due to its deeply talented team of bankers. Under the helm of Daniel Pinto, CEO of the corporate and investment bank, Morgan reportedly hired 16,000 people in 2023—an increase of 5%. While there were cuts toward the end of the year, Pinto anticipates more hires in 2024 as dealmaking makes a comeback. To better serve its commercial clients with a comprehensive range of wholesale banking products and solutions, J.P. Morgan also expanded its commercial and investment bank to aggregate Morgan’s major wholesale businesses of global investment banking, corporate banking in addition to markets, securities services, and global payments. —DS

Western Europe | Barclays

By providing customers with sophisticated financial strategies, our Best Investment Bank in Western Europe, Barclays, rode the yearly rebound on equities and debt to gain significant market share and garner a hefty $650 million in investment banking proceeds in Europe and the Middle East alone. The main secret behind the bank’s success has been its commitment to anticipating the most critical trends in investment banking, allowing it to participate in some of the year’s most important deals. The bank was the leading adviser on Heineken’s €3.7 billion stock and equity-linked deal with Mexican multinational beverage and retail company FEMSA for part of its holdings in the Dutch Group, including €1 billion in share buybacks by Heineken. The UK bank also closed the year as the leading M&A adviser for the retail sector, closing five deals worth a total of $14.6 billion. As a result, Barclays’ investment banking division steadily increased its total asset base to $1.45 billion.—TM

Regional Winners
Best Investment Bank Standard Bank
Best Equity Bank Chapel Hill Denham
Best Debt Bank Standard Bank
Best M&A Bank Absa
Best Investment Bank for Infrastructure Finance Rand Merchant Bank
Best Investment Bank ICBC
Best Equity Bank DBS Singapore
Best Debt Bank CCB International
Best M&A Bank CCB International
Best Investment Bank for Infrastructure Finance Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
Best Investment Bank Bank Pekao
Best Equity Bank PKO Bank
Best Debt Bank Erste Group
Best M&A Bank UniCredit
Best Investment Bank for Infrastructure Finance Akbank
Best Investment Bank Itaú BBA
Best Equity Bank Banco BTG Pactual
Best Debt Bank Itaú BBA
Best M&A Bank Banco BTG Pactual
Best Investment Bank for Infrastructure Finance Bradesco BBI
Best Investment Bank Emirates NBD Capital
Best Equity Bank First Abu Dhabi Bank
Best Debt Bank Emirates NBD Capital
Best M&A Bank Standard Chartered
Best Investment Bank for Infrastructure Finance Standard Chartered
Best Investment Bank J.P. Morgan
Best Equity Bank Goldman Sachs
Best Debt Bank BofA Securities 
Best M&A Bank Morgan Stanley
Best Investment Bank for Infrastructure Finance Goldman Sachs
Best Investment Bank Barclays
Best Equity Bank UBS
Best Debt Bank Deutsche Bank
Best M&A Bank J.P. Morgan
Best Investment Bank for Infrastructure Finance BNP Paribas

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