Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Lead the Charge Amidst Sector Growth

The financial landscape on Wall Street is witnessing an unprecedented surge in revenue from prime broking, as banks seek to fortify relationships with their lucrative hedge fund clientele.

According to analytics firm Coalition Greenwich, the top 12 prime brokers collectively generated $20.4 billion in revenue in 2023, marking a remarkable increase of over 25% in the past decade.

Despite recent setbacks such as the collapse of Archegos in 2021, which inflicted substantial losses on Credit Suisse and prompted the closure of its prime broking division, the sector continues to thrive. Jon Cossey, head of global prime finance and global clearing at JPMorgan, noted that prime broking emerged as a standout performer last year, buoyed by a consistent demand for financing solutions amidst favorable market conditions.


Leading the pack are industry giants Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan, collectively commanding a 40% market share. Each of these institutions now manages approximately $1 trillion in client balances, servicing over 1,000 funds, as reported by the Bank for International Settlements. The dominance of these top players has been further solidified by recent market dynamics, with hedge funds gravitating towards reliability and robust risk management in the aftermath of the Archegos fallout.

Prime broking offers banks a relatively low-risk avenue to generate steady income by providing financing for hedge fund trades. Despite the inherent stability during periods of market tranquility, banks face amplified risk during times of heightened volatility, underscoring the importance of prudent risk management practices.

While the allure of steady revenue from financing and securities lending remains compelling, banks also recognize the broader strategic implications of prime broking. Ashley Wilson, global head of prime services at BNP Paribas, emphasized the transformative effect of forging deeper, more enduring relationships with hedge fund clients through prime brokerage services. This strategic alignment fosters a symbiotic partnership that transcends transactional interactions, positioning banks as indispensable allies in the hedge fund ecosystem.

As the prime brokerage landscape evolves, banks must navigate increasingly complex decisions regarding capital deployment and risk management. Penny Novick, global co-head of prime brokerage at Morgan Stanley, highlighted the pivotal role of capital allocation in supporting the burgeoning demands of hedge fund clients across diverse asset classes and trading strategies.

While the big three – Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan – maintain a formidable lead, mid-tier players like BNP Paribas are making significant strides in expanding their market presence. With a focus on offering comprehensive, multi-asset prime brokerage solutions, these players are poised to capitalize on evolving client preferences and regulatory considerations.

Despite the formidable barriers to entry and the competitive landscape dominated by established players, the prime broking sector is witnessing a gradual redistribution of market share. As interest rates factor into cost considerations for hedge funds, smaller players are gaining traction, challenging the hegemony of the big three and fostering a more dynamic competitive environment.

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Staff Report

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