When unveiling a new strategy recently, Deutsche Bank described Asia as its “key driver of revenue growth” in the coming years [subscription required]. It is far from alone. International investment banks large and small are looking to Asia—excluding moribund Japan—for sources of fee-based income to make up for drastically subdued activity in the west.
Throughout a new report on the state of banking from International Financial Services London (IFSL), a lobby group, Asia emerges as the lone bright spot in an otherwise cloudy industry outlook. Global investment banking revenues grew by 12% in 2009, down almost entirely to Asia. The region now accounts for 21% of business in the industry, up from 14% a decade ago. Revenues in Europe, meanwhile, have held relatively steady over this period, while the share of global banking business in America has fallen from 56% of the total in 1999 to 46% last year. As lenders, underwriters and advisors increasingly focus on Asia in the years ahead, the gradual shift of banking power to the east seems likely to continue.