Deutsche Bank vs. UBS: Which European Bank Has A Larger Advisory & Underwriting Business?

DB: Deutsche Bank logo
Deutsche Bank

Advisory & Underwriting operations form an integral part of the Investment Banking division of UBS (NYSE: UBS) and Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB). While Deutsche Bank has historically generated more Advisory & Underwriting fees compared to UBS, the latter has edged ahead over recent years.

Advisory & Underwriting operations include fees from advisory services in Merger & Acquisition deals as well as commissions earned from equity and debt underwriting services. German banking giant Deutsche Bank, once a leader in the industry, has seen it’s market share decline over the years due to restructuring as well as its inability to compete with the larger and better-capitalized American banks. While Swiss banking giant UBS has also lost its market share to the ever-growing American banks, but has fared better than its German peer over recent years. Trefis captures trends in Advisory & Underwriting operations for UBS vs. Deutsche Bank in an interactive dashboard, along with our forecast for individual revenue drivers for full-year 2019.

Advisory & Underwriting Revenues Have Steadily Declined For Both Banks Over The Years

  • UBS and Deutsche Bank reported similar revenues of $2.3 billion in 2018, with UBS’s revenues being equally distributed among three sub-divisions while Deutsche Bank was making more than 50% of its revenues from Debt origination fees.
  • However, these revenues have steadily declined for both the banks over the years.
  • Since 2010, Deutsche Bank has lost more than $1 billion in total advisory revenue at an average annual rate of 4.4% while UBS has shed nearly $450 million at a rate of 2.2%.
  • Notably, the decline can be attributed to a loss in market share for both banking giants.
  • In 2010, the individual share of these banks in completed M&A Deals stood around 13% while this has gone down to just 7% in 2018.
  • Similarly, the banks have also lost ground in the completed Debt and Equity Capital Markets Deals to the large American banks.
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A closer look at the comparative breakdown of the advisory and underwriting revenues of UBS and Deutsche Bank:

#1. UBS Makes More Money Per M&A Deal And Also Generates More Revenues

  • UBS’s M&A revenues in 2018 stood at $717 million – almost 25% more than that of Deutsche Bank’s $580 million.
  • Moreover, UBS was making more money per deal as indicated by its higher average fees of 0.28%.
  • For FY’19, we expect the fees for both the banks to decline due to a combination of stiff competition and a decline in the global M&A Activity.

#2. UBS’s Equity Underwriting Revenues Are 1.8x more than that of Deutsche Bank’s

  • As of 2018, UBS’s Equity Origination revenues stood at $786 million, 1.8x that of Deutsche Bank’s $430 million.
  • Moreover, UBS’s fees of 2.8% was comfortably higher than Deutsche Bank’s 2.2%.
  • For FY’19, we expect the fees for both the banks to decline primarily due to a reduction in global fee pools.

#3. However, Deutsche Bank’s Debt Origination Revenues Are 1.5x More Than that of UBS’s

#4. Advisory & Underwriting Revenues Account For Nearly 28% Of UBS’s Investment Banking Revenues While Their Contribution to Deutsche Bank’s IB revenues is only 15%

  • UBS’s Advisory & Underwriting fees make up around 28% of its investment banking revenues while these revenues contribute only 15% to Deutsche Bank’s total investment banking revenues.
  • UBS’s IB division is more reliant on its Advisory & Underwriting operations since it has a smaller trading desk than Deutsche Bank.
  • However, things are about to change, as Deutsche Bank’s latest reorganization plan entails sizable cuts to its securities trading business to focus more on stable revenue sources.
  • As a result, the importance of the Advisory & Underwriting business is expected to increase for Deutsche Bank over the coming years.


  • Although UBS and Deutsche Bank generate a significant portion of their IB revenues from the Advisory & Underwriting business, the market share and corresponding revenues for these banks have steadily declined over the years.
  • This decline can be primarily attributed to sluggish growth in the European economy, stricter regulations and a less developed structure than that of the American banks.
  • To sum things up, the American banks have gained ground in the advisory & underwriting industry while Deutsche Bank and UBS are struggling to maintain their positions.


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