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Down-Market Dealmakers

October 2, 2017

Large-cap issuers have been the driving force behind U.S. debt market growth for years. However, the wave of issuance fueled by refinancing, share buybacks, and acquisition finance for mega-mergers has now begun to crest. Smaller public firms and private or sponsor-owned firms now generate the vast majority of debt fee pool growth. Our analysis suggests that North American banks and the bulge-bracket, with their diversified client bases, are the best positioned to capitalize on this market shift. European and Japanese banks are in a more precarious position. Their focus on large-caps has been a boon for years as IB revenue grew alongside large-cap issuance. Now that deal-making activity is shifting down-market, foreign banks may have to broaden their client focus to stay competitive.

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