Boston Consulting Group published a big report on the investment banking industry Tuesday.
Buried in the appendix is this chart showing operating profit by business line across Wall Street.
This data is generally pretty hard to get a hold of. It is often possible to get revenue estimates showing, for example, that the fixed income revenue pool is shrinking. Operating profit numbers are less common.
Broadly this paints a bleak picture. In total, operating profit at Wall Street banks is down 29% since 2012.
But you’ll also notice that some business lines, like debt capital markets and rates, generate a huge operating profit. Others, like cash equities and commodities, registered a loss.
Now, that doesn’t mean that DCM and rates are the best businesses to be in, or that cash equities and commodities are the worst (though the cash equities business is notorious on Wall Street for being a money pit).
Some business lines require more capital to be held against them due to regulations, making them unattractive from a return on equity perspective. Still, the chart below makes for interesting reading.
Incidentally, it reflects billions of dollars.