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Maybe everyone should want to work for...Santander?

When Santander's investment bankers were in the news last year, it had something to do with a visit to a strip club in London. Since then, however, Santander's investment bank has gone up in the world.

Today's results for Santander's corporate and investment bank reveal by quite how much. While operating profits at UBS's investment bank fell by 49% year-on-year in the first quarter, operating profits at Santander's corporate and investment banking unit were up nearly 30%. 

The two units aren't exactly comparable. Santander's corporate and investment bank includes corporate banking alongside its markets business and investment banking, and the transaction banking element of corporate banking has been thriving everywhere. UBS's investment bank is simply that, and suffered as a result.

Even when direct comparisons are made, though, Santander did well. Its markets revenues were up 18% year-on-year, compared to a fall of 17% at UBS. Santander's M&A bankers grew revenues by "double digits" in the first quarter, while UBS's saw their revenues fall 21%... The extent to which Santander's figures were boosted by the integration of Amherst Pierpont Securities in the US is unclear, and the bank as a whole isn't so shiny, but even so.

Santander said today that its strategy is to be "one of the leading investment banks in Europe" and to "continue to accelerate business in the US." To this end, it's out there wooing senior bankers at Credit Suisse in New York. It's also hired Joana Schlenczek, a former managing director in the capital release group at Deutsche Bank as head of fixed income rates structuring and client solutions in London.  If you look beyond this week's fall in the Santander share price, some people obviously think it's a good bet.

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Photo by Chris Boland on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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