The 'new normal' for Wall Street

Investment bank revenues have been more or less flat for years, and it looks like they could stay that way for a while.

In a note Wednesday, JPMorgan’s Kian Abouhossein suggested the banks may have reached a “new normal” — and it’s right around the 2005-2006 revenue levels.

Abouhossein estimates that clean investment bank revenues — meaning equities, fixed income, and investment banking revenues, excluding writedowns and accounting adjustments — will total $136.8 billion in 2016.

He expects that will follow a total of $138.8 billion in 2015, and 2017 should be right in that ball park too.

By those estimates, it looks like revenues peaked in 2009 at $207.7 billion. They had grown steadily from about $75.5 billion in the early 2000s, dropped off sharply in 2008, peaked in 2009, and then plateaued after that.

The “new normal” is somewhere in between the 2005 total of $126.2 billion and the 2006 total of $165.9 billion.

And it looks like that may not change any time soon.

In another slide, Abouhossein sets out his estimates for individual business lines in 2016 and 2017. He expects pretty much every single business line to report lower revenues in 2016 than in 2015.

The exceptions are prime services, where revenues are tipped to be flat, and rates and currencies, where revenues are expected to increase.

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