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JPM shakes off ‘Whale’ to nab top spot for fees

Wednesday, 2 Oct 2013 | 9:04 AM ET
Emmanuel Dunand | AFP | Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase shook off the "London Whale" scandal to take the top spot for investment banking fees over the year-to-date, according to a report into the global investment banking industry published on Wednesday.

The Thomson Reuters investment banking review found the U.S. banking giant booked $4.4 billion in fees during the first nine months of 2013, beating rival Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which came in second with $4.0 billion.

JPMorgan emerged from the 2008 financial crisis stronger than many of its competitors, and cultivated a reputation as one of Wall Street's best-run banks. However, it was subsequently accused of "inadequate oversight" by the U.S. Federal Reserve, following the so-called London Whale scandal, which saw U.K.-based traders incur huge losses. The high stakes wagers placed by these traders have now cost JPMorgan nearly $1 billion in fines, and led to the indictment of two former employees last month.

(Read more: JPMorgan pays hefty cost for 'Whale', settles for $920 million)

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Overall, U.S. banks clocked up $30.7 billion in investment banking fees so far this year, out of a global total of $56.8 billion. All five of the top investment banks — JPMorgan, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citi — were domiciled in the U.S., with their relative positions unchanged on last year.

On the buy side, HJ Heinz spent $333 million on investment banking fees in the first three quarters of this year, more than any other corporate in the world. The ketchup maker was purchased by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Brazil's 3G Capital in February, and is currently part of an investigation into insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

(Read more: Who bet on Berkshire-Heinz deal?)

Other big spenders this year included Verizon Communications, SoftBank and GE (General Electric), which each spent over $200 million on fees. Both Verizon and SoftBank have made substantial purchases this year, with Verizon buying out Vodafone's shares in its wireless business in September, and SoftBank acquiring Verizon Wireless's rival Sprint in July. GE, meanwhile, is continuing a substantial scaling down of its finance unit, GE Capital, which nearly sank the whole company during the 2008 crisis.

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato

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