Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

These are bad days for big boys in high finance

Investment banking's golden era ... over?

These are not happy days for big banks whether on Wall Street or Fleet Street.

There's been a steady stream of negative headlines suggesting that five years after the end of the financial crisis, the bell finally may be tolling for too-big-to-fail financial institutions.


  • JPMorgan Chase and Barclays both have announced huge first-quarter trading declines—20 percent and 41 percent respectively—and others are expected to follow suit. Barclays said it will begin a massive layoff program in which it will lose 19,000 employees over the next two and a half years.
  • Fines from regulators continue to pile up stemming from crisis-era bad behavior. The latest domino looks to be Bank of America, which could have to pay a levy in excess of the $13 billion already extracted from JPMorgan.
  • Recent leaks in major publications indicate that Credit Suisse is nearing a settlement that will see it plead guilty to criminal charges for aiding its customers in avoiding taxes; BNP Paribas also faces possible sanctions from the U.S. for dealing with countries on an embargo list—with the end result likely being in excess of $1 billion in penalties.

All told, this is not a great time to be running a major global financial institution.