Investment and corporate banking market study: MS15/1

Terms of reference
Open consultation: Interim report
Interim report consultation closed
Final report

In 2015-2016, we carried out a market study on investment and corporate banking services, focusing on primary market and related activities provided in the UK. We considered issues around choice of banks and advisers for clients, transparency of the services provided by banks, and bundling and cross-subsidisation of services. 

Show MS15/1.3 Final report (PDF)

Our market study

In the feedback statement to our wholesale sector competition review we heard of a number of concerns in relation to primary markets. Many of these concerns centred on cross-subsidies in the universal banking model between corporate banking and investment banking as well as specific market practices such as syndication and reciprocity.

We published the terms of reference for the market study in May 2015. Following our terms of reference, we conducted data analyses of over 10,000 transactions spanning a period of up to five years, and we met with over 100 stakeholders.

In April 2016 we published the interim report. Our interim report included an accompanying occasional paper on factors influencing IPO allocations to investors and a discussion paper on the availability of information in the UK equity IPO process.

Having considered the consultation feedback to the interim report and carried out further work, we are now confirming our interim findings as final.

Our findings

Our final findings are that there is a wide range of banks and advisers active in primary market activities. While many clients, particularly large corporate clients, feel the universal banking model of cross-selling and cross-subsidisation from lending and corporate broking services to primary market services works well for them, there are some practices that could have a negative impact on competition, particularly for smaller clients. 


We have developed a targeted package of remedies to address these concerns and to ensure competition takes place on the merits:

  • a ban on restrictive contractual clauses
  • ending league table misrepresentation in banks’ pitches to clients
  • removing incentives for loss-making trades to climb league tables
  • supervisory programme for initial public offering (IPO) allocations
  • revised IPO process

Next steps

In June 2017, we published a Policy Statement (PS17/13) to ban contractual clauses that restrict competition without being clearly beneficial to clients. 

In March 2017, we also published a consultation paper on our proposed changes to the IPO process.

Interim report

In April 2016 we published our interim report which set out our views based on our work to date on how competition works and on outcomes for clients.

Show MS15/1.2 Investment and corporate banking: Interim report (PDF)

The interim report included annexes:

Terms of reference

This outlined the scope of our market study.

Show MS16/1.1 Terms of reference (PDF)