Capital Markets reported record Investment Banking and overall Equity Capital Markets (ECM) revenues in 2018, driven primarily by robust Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) activity. This growth in M&A helped offset the impact of a challenging environment for equity and fixed income institutional commissions, as well as Public Finance Underwriting.
Public finance & fixed income capital markets initiatives
Expanding the Public Finance core footprint
In fiscal 2018, Public Finance increased market share and rankings in three states with significant municipal issuances: New York, Illinois and California. These results were partially driven by the Public Finance team’s strategy of recruiting experienced bankers to build Raymond James’ presence in key geographic areas. For example, the recruitment of a successful K-12 banking team in Illinois late in fiscal 2017 resulted in market share increases of more than 175% in that state, and the addition of three new bankers in California, Colorado and Texas bodes well for future results in those areas.
Enhancing integration with the Private Client Group
Increased attention on driving awareness of the Public Finance Referral Fee Program, which provides a pipeline of potential new clients for Public Finance while supporting the business growth efforts of the firm’s financial advisor population, paid off handsomely in fiscal 2018. Internal referrals that resulted in transactions were up 93%, giving rise to an almost fourfold increase in related revenue.
Developing new products to support client needs
As interest rates increased during the year and tax laws changed as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, clients searched for ways to minimize borrowing costs for new projects and refinance existing debt. Public Finance was able to meet these needs through products such as forwards and structured financing – two areas of expected growth in fiscal 2019.
Reducing operating expenses in the Fixed Income Capital Markets group
Saddled with dour business conditions for fixed income assets, the Fixed Income Capital Markets team focused on reducing costs to continue to produce satisfactory levels of profitability, while also increasing the group’s ability to take advantage of opportunities in the future.
Equity capital markets initiatives
Continued investment in the advisory business
In fiscal 2018, Investment Banking produced record advisory revenues of nearly $297 million, up 30% from the prior year. This was driven by continued investment in the North American M&A business, including four new managing director hires in 2018, as well as in Europe, where the addition of senior bankers and managing directors over the last two years helped push European advisory revenues up 112% year over year. The Investment Banking team was successful in its efforts to focus on larger deals and fees, including earning the five highest advisory fees in the firm’s history during the last two years.
Enhancements to private equity relationships
Raymond James continued to expand its capabilities, product offerings and touchpoints with the private equity community, a key client segment. The firm closed more than 80 private equity-involved M&A engagements in 2018, with over 80% of sell-side fees involving private equity firms. In addition, the team launched a Credit Finance business unit in 2018 to arrange senior secured funding facilities for private equity firms on a buy-and-hold basis; this initiative is expected to deepen relationships with key private equity and corporate clients.
Expansion of Asia coverage
In addition to European growth, Raymond James added additional senior bankers to enhance its coverage of private equity investors and strategic buyers located in Asia, and now has three bankers dedicated to access to the Asian markets, particularly China. The firm also continued to explore international partnerships to enhance the distribution of North American equities, including a new partnership in Singapore.
Bolstering equities leadership
Raymond James hired industry veteran David De Luca as global head of equities in April of this year to strengthen efforts across Research, Sales and Trading. The position was created to focus on coordinating capabilities to capture additional market share both domestically and internationally.
A strong M&A environment and the firm’s robust M&A pipeline bode well for ongoing performance. Meanwhile, Capital Markets continues to invest across the platform, with several common themes among the businesses. First, expanding into new markets – both domestic and international – through the opportunistic hiring of experienced professionals or via potential acquisitions. Second, capitalizing on relationships within Raymond James, such as through advisor referrals to Public Finance and Investment Banking, cross-selling of products across the platform, and through partnerships with third parties or among business units to create new products or services for various clients. And finally, by continuing to deepen existing client relationships in the middle market space, listening to client needs and responding with solutions to support their growth, which in turn supports the firm’s growth.