Capital Markets: Results Review 1Q15
1Q15 operating revenue totalled $54bn, slightly ahead of $53bn in a prior-year period. M&A, FX and equities put in a strong performance, but this was partly offset by weak DCM loans, credit and mortgages.
Operating expenses grew 4%, from $38bn in 1Q14 to $39bn in 1Q15. Much of the increase was due to litigation charges at Deutsche Bank and RBS, which we allocated to front-line product units; excluding these items, most of the banks in this report increased their operating efficiency.
In March, a member of the ECB’s Executive Board, Yves Mersch (a central banker by training, without any appreciable commercial banking experience), called for the consolidation in the European banking sector, stating that it would result in efficiency gains. That may be, but we doubt this is a good idea in the current environment, characterised by ever-increasing capital and regulatory requirements, fear of ‘too big to fail’ and country-level protectionism. Elsewhere on the regulatory front, the Fed seems ready to introduce even tougher CCAR stress tests.