However, robust deal-making activity may buoy the sector from its slump.
The net fee revenue of Asian investment banks plunged to $4.62b in the first five months of the year, representing the weakest showing since 2014, according to data from Dealogic cited by The Financial Times.
Investment banking fees are inclusive of fees earned on M&As, syndicated lending, equity and debt capital markets.
Equity capital markets emerged as the largest growth driver after generating $1.8b of net revenue. However, this represents a weaker showing as fees actually went down from $1.9b on a year-on-year basis.
Debt capital revenue treaded a similar decline from $622.2b to $550b worth of deals whilst syndicated lending also fell from $193.8b to $165.2b on a year-on-year basis.
However, the sector may be set for recovery as Asia’s deal making activity hit $451.8b in 2018 YTD with China and India experiencing strong monthly levels in May, according to Thomson Reuters data.
At least eight mega deals above US$3b were announced in May, which totalled a whopping $74.5b with China M&A activity witnessing the highest May total at $260.7b.
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