Large-scale and complex financial transactions always require a trusted intermediary. These top Australian investment banks can easily serve as such.
An investment bank is a specific institution able to process and assist in large financial transfers like those involved in corporate mergers and acquisitions (M&A), as well as initial public offerings (IPOs). Besides, these banks may offer proprietary trading or trading securities, as well as lending and restructuring-related services. Many global investment banks are situated in the US (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, etc) where the annual number of business deals is staggering. What about Australia?
In Q2 2022, Australia witnessed 348 M&A transactions with US$27.3 billion in total transaction value. In the first half of 2023, the country recorded 615 IPOs with US$60.9B capital raised. Although the numbers have declined compared to the more robust 2021, there’s still an obvious need for a strong proposition from both local and global investment banks.
Here is a list of the leading Australian investment banks able to handle both local and global transactions on a large scale. It largely includes domestic institutions though most major banks headquartered in other countries also offer investment banking services to Australian businesses.
National Australia Bank (NAB)
This domestic bank has a global offering, being able to support its Australian customers globally. NAB expertise revolves around debt capital markets, real asset investments, fixed-income solutions, asset servicing and regulation. Besides, it is one of the few banks in Australia providing total capital solutions like trade and working capital, debt capital markets, and transactional banking to Australian businesses.
Moreover, the bank’s international networks of institutional, wealth, private and retail institutional investors allow its corporate customers to access global pools of liquidity. In addition, NAB has a full distribution across the US public, US private placement (USPP) and Australian Residential Mortgage-Backed Security issuance.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (“CBA”) Group is the largest bank and by far the best-known financial services brand in Australia. CBA is one of the largest listed companies on the Australian Stock Exchange included in the Morgan Stanley Capital Global Index. CommBank is also Australia’s largest bank by market capitalisation.
This multinational bank operates across New Zealand, Asia, the US and the UK. The variety of its financial services caters to all categories of customers (individuals, SMEs, corporations, government entities, and other institutions). Namely, the bank offers retail, industry-specialised business and institutional banking, funds management, financial planning, superannuation, insurance, investment, and broking services.
Its B2B customers can avail of flexible term loans as well as Stream Working Capital helping to unlock cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Additional benefits include actionable business insights, sustainable solutions, and advanced fraud protection.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
ANZ provides financial markets solutions across the Asia Pacific and beyond. These include foreign exchange, credit and interest rates, debt capital markets and commodities, bonds, securitisation, credit trading, credit derivatives, specialist research, and risk management expertise.
The bank’s offering across bonds, loans and structured capital markets can be tailored to specific business needs, giving a company better chances to grow its business, make acquisitions or raise working capital.
The leading Swiss bank UBS which has recently acquired Credit Suisse is now a banking group overseeing $5 trillion of assets, with a leading position in key markets. Being a major financial player, UBS deals with M&A transactions for global joint ventures, inbound public takeovers, or cross-border deals.
The bank helps corporate clients in many markets, including Australia, navigate equity and debt capital markets, providing access to capital in multiple products and currencies. Besides, the banking giant assists its clients in managing their equity stakes worldwide for stake-building, hedging, yield enhancement, or disposal.
Moreover, UBS consults its corporate customers over the whole life cycle of their businesses, supports companies on their sustainability journey with carbon emission futures, thematic portfolio and sustainable investment solutions, and organises conferences and industry-specific events to help clients connect with industry experts, policymakers and partner companies on the ground.
The domestic banking group provides loans to retail and business clients as well as manages complex lending on behalf of large institutions. Macquarie offers innovative asset finance like specialised equipment financing for clients in aviation, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, energy and mining, as well as scalable trade-linked payables financing for buyers and receivables financing solutions for vendors.
Having expertise in global securitisation and asset-backed markets, the Group provides clients with access to the capital markets and financing for portfolios of financial assets. Macquarie’s capital solutions include equity, debt and access to private capital markets as well as principal investment from its own balance sheet. The financial institution acts as an advisor, underwriter, co-investor and lender and provides access to the global distribution capability.
As for M&A capabilities, being one of the top Australian investment banks, Macquarie advises business clients on strategic and financial issues, adopting a long-term partnership approach to better understand customer needs. The Group’s expertise specifically focuses on infrastructure; green energy; technology, telecommunications & media; resources; real estate; industrials; healthcare; financial institutions consumer gaming & leisure services; and aerospace, defence & government services.
As you can see from the Australian investment banks list, top local financial institutions provide some form of investment activities, like access to capital markets. However, the local Big Four does not focus much on M&A activities. For these deals, many Australian businesses turn to global banking groups like UBS. American banking giants such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank also provide investment banking services in Australia, though we didn’t include them in the list, as these household names are already well-known among businesses heading towards IPO or mergers across the globe.