Investment bank income down 23 percent on year

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March 21, 2011 1:08 PM EST

Income for top investment banks fell by almost a quarter last year to $167 billion from a record performance in 2009, according to an industry report.

The drop came as staffing levels at the top 10 investment banks recovered to pre-crisis levels of about 66,000, following a 10 percent drop during the financial crisis, according to the study released on Monday.

Coalition, an independent research firm for the investment banking industry, said income for the top 10 investment banks fell 23 percent from a record $219 billion in 2009. Income had slumped to $124 billion in 2008 from $184 billion in 2007.

The London-based research firm said bankers in fixed income generated more income than their peers, bringing in an average of $3.7 million per person last year, almost double the average $1.8 million generated by bankers in equities and origination.

Fixed income has consolidated its position as the dominant driver of revenues in the last four years, Coalition said, despite greater market volatility and the need for banks to hold more capital for the business.

Fixed income contributed $94 billion of revenues last year, or 56 percent of the total, down from the record $139 billion in 2009 but up from $83 billion in 2007, when it accounted for 45 percent of overall revenues.

Equities brought in $37 billion last year, down from $55 billion in 2007, while origination and advisory revenues were $36 billion in 2010, down from $47 billion three years earlier.

The report estimated that the top 1,000 clients accounted for more than 65 percent of the banks' revenue pools.

(Reporting by Steve Slater)

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