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作者: 来源: 日期:2016/10/27 8:54:16

Western banks are more resigned to Asia’s low deal-fee culture





Ask a banker in Asia about the $25,000 fee that Morgan Stanley accepted for leading an $800m dairy deal in Vietnam, and eyebrows are raised. One wag even joked that he knew bankers who paid more for their suits. But, quickly, the surprise and the quips are replaced by another question: what else did Morgan Stanley receive to make the deal worth it?

问问亚洲银行业者关于摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)担当越南一笔价值8亿美元的奶制品业交易的首席财务顾问仅收费2.5万美元的事,对方会惊讶地抬起眉毛。其中一个爱开玩笑的甚至打趣道,他认识的银行业者有的买西服都不止这么多钱。但是,惊讶和打趣很快被另一个问题取代:摩根士丹利还得到了什么值得它接下这单业务的东西?广州银行翻译公司。


A payday of $25,000 is a low absolute number by any standards for a bank that just collected $120m for advising on another deal: Monsanto’s takeover by Bayer. But it is hardly the lowest of lowballs in a region where tales abound of Indian flotations that paid a single rupee and Chinese tycoons who only grudgingly pay up, if at all.



Morgan Stanley declined to comment on its reasons for accepting such a relatively small fee for leading the sale of a 9 per cent stake in Vinamilk, worth $830m. A western rival who was also prepared to do the deal for that fee said the banks involved would make additional money from brokerage charges on the sale of the shares.



Even so, it is still an example of the difficulties of making money in Asia, where the most profitable opportunities are not usually found in the highest-profile deal work. In the US, the most lucrative market for investment banking, brokerage fees or profits from lending to an investor are the cherry on the cake. In Asia, they are — as the structure of the Vinamilk deal suggests — often the cake.



This partly reflects the fact that few banks will still accept loss-leading work in the hope of a payout down the line, as they once did — and certainly none will admit it. Rather, they have learnt to box clever and find other ways of covering costs, such as brokerage fees.



Morgan Stanley’s willingness to do this helped it snatch a deal from Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse two years ago; its loans to an investor helped it “steal” a $4.7bn private placement for Ping An, the insurer, at the eleventh hour.

摩根士丹利愿意聪明地做业务的态度,帮助它在两年前从高盛(Goldman Sachs)和瑞信(Credit Suisse)手中抢走了一笔交易:摩根士丹利向一个投资者发放的贷款,帮助它在最后一刻“偷走了”保险公司中国平安(Ping An)一笔价值47亿美元的定向增发交易。


And costs need covering. Even as Asia produces record investment banking fees — up 15 per cent this year compared with a one-fifth drop in the US, according to Thomson Reuters — the total pool is still small. Asia has produced 17 per cent of the global investment bank fees pool this year while the US accounts for nearly half.

成本也的确需要弥补。尽管亚洲产生了创纪录的投行费用——根据汤森路透(Thomson Reuters)的数据,今年亚洲的投行费用收入增长了15%,相比之下美国下滑了五分之一——但总值仍然较小。今年,全球投行在亚洲获得的费用收入占总额的17%,而在美国获得的金额占了将近一半。广州银行翻译公司。


It’s fair to say the Asian growth story didn’t play out in certain ways where we needed it to,” says one long-time dealmaker, in reference to the period since 2010, which marked the last aggressive push by western banks.



Staffing levels are certainly under threat. Goldman cut 15 per cent of its investment banking force and had considering axing up to 30 per cent. Rivals see it as the bank reducing its workforce to match their own staffing levels, not a retreat per se. But even those rivals talk at best about “selective” hiring and many bankers say privately they are bracing for cuts. For the banks, Asia’s low fees and market fragmentation are hard to change. Banks need locally based teams in each market they want to target and there is little crossover, say, between a team in Seoul and one in Shanghai. That carries high fixed costs.



Fee structures show little sign of movement. In Asia, equity capital raisings reliably account for the biggest single pool of work for the international banks, producing on average 40 per cent of their total fee pool. But even in Hong Kong, which has topped the global initial public offering rankings for five of the past eight years, fees are just between 1 per cent and 3 per cent of a deal, compared with between 5 per cent and 7 per cent in New York.



Equity fees have also been overtaken by those from debt deals this year — a factor unlikely to cheer the bigger banks that have invested less in building bond desks as they seek big IPO payouts. That leaves China’s M&A boom as the region’s bright spot. Fees are nowhere near the levels on western deals but some bankers believe they are, in fact, rising. “They are realising there are things we can do that they can’t do on their own,” says one bank’s regional head for dealmaking. “Sometimes we’re seeing US-level fees and sometimes lower — but the trend is up.”

今年,来自债券交易的费用收入已超过股票交易,这一因素不太可能鼓舞较大银行,它们对债券交易部门的投入较少,因为它们希望从IPO中赚取大笔费用。这令中国的并购热潮成为该地区的亮点。亚洲交易的费用水平远不及西方交易,但一些银行业者相信,亚洲的费用水平事实上正在上涨。“他们渐渐意识到,有些我们能做到的事情是他们靠自己无法完成的,”一家银行的交易撮合区域主管表示,“有时,我们看到费用水平跟美国相当,有时比美国低——但趋势是上升的。” 广州银行翻译公司。


In a region where banks are prepared to assign top teams to a project for $25,000 plus the expectation of brokerage fees, optimism, anywhere, is welcomed. One Asia hand not on the Vinamilk deal sighed: “Vietnam won’t be the first government to ask for something for no money — and it won’t be the last.”