SINGAPORE (Mar 28): Singapore investment banking activities generated US$172.8 million ($234 million) in fees in the first quarter ended Wednesday, which was 24.8% lower compared to a year ago.

This according to the latest 1Q19 Singapore Investment Banking Review preliminary data published yesterday by Refinitiv, formerly the Financial and Risk Business of Thomson Reuters.

Advisory fees for completed mergers and acquisitions (M&A) came in 63.6% lower at US$45.2 million from a record high of US$124.0 million in 1Q18.

The report also saw ECM underwriting fees increased 279.1% y-o-y to a six-year high of US$60.8 million, while fees from DCM underwriting fees also increased 14.9% to US$51.9 million.

Syndicated lending fees however saw a 66.5% decline to US$14.9 million, after a strong 1Q18.

Among the local investment banks, Morgan Stanley earned the most investment banking fees in the country for 1Q19, and topped the fee league table with a total of US$21.7 million or a 12.5% share of the total fee pool.

Meanwhile, overall M&A activity in Singapore touched US$24.2 billion so far this year, up 89.2% y-o-y in proceeds.

Singapore targeted M&A deals grew 240.4% from the same period last year, reaching US$15.8 billion in proceeds, making it the highest first quarter period on record. This was mainly thanks to CapitaLand’s US$7.9 billion pending acquisition of Ascendas-Singbridge, which is now the largest Southeast Asian M&A deal so far this year and the largest domestic Singaporean deal on record.

Cross-border deal activity for the quarter came up to US$11.6 billion, an 87.2% increase from last year. Local inbound M&A activity grew 99.4% from a year ago to US$5.9 billion, while outbound M&A activity also increased by 76.2% year-on-year with US$5.7 billion in deal value.

JP Morgan led the Singapore involvement M&A league table rankings this quarter, with 33% market share and US$7.9 billion in related deal value, followed by HSBC Holdings with 6.7% market share and both China Renaissance Securities (HK) and Lazard tied at third place with 6.0% market share each.

Similarly, Singaporean equity and equity-linked (ECM) proceeds this quarter reached US$2.3 billion, a 145.8% increase from the same period last year, mainly due to the US$1.5 billion American depository share follow-on offering from Sea Ltd in New York, the biggest equity offering from a Singaporean company so far this year.

Meanwhile, initial public offerings (IPOs) by local companies have raised US$75.6 million, 79.5% lower than the same period a year ago, while follow-on offerings increased 579.2% from the comparative period last year, raising US$2.2 billion.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are tied for first place in ECM underwriting rankings, each with a 34.2% market share and US$776.3 million in related proceeds.

Primary bond offerings from Singapore-domiciled issuers slowed down this year after a strong start in 2018, recording a 19.2% y-o-y drop to US$7.5 billion raised so far this year. Singaporean companies from the financials sector dominated the bonds markets and raised US$2.6 billion, down 60.1% from the same period last year and captured 34.7% market share.

DBS Group led the Singapore bonds underwriting with US$1.8 billion in related proceeds, with 24.4% market share, followed by United Overseas Bank (UOB) with 14.7% market share and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) with 13.1% market share.