The Big 4 Investment Banks

Paul Inouye

February 13, 2023

The Big 4 Investment BanksAn investment bank seeks to create capital for private and public institutions through stock trading, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and brokering trades. Many firms fall under the investment banking umbrella, but a few main groups exist. These include bulge bracket banks, elite boutiques and regional or industry boutiques. 

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is an American multinational banking and financial services company. Its operations include the bank, insurance, and investment businesses.

Fargo formed Wells Fargo & Company to provide express and banking services to California, overgrowing from the Gold Rush.

Wells Fargo merged with Minneapolis-based Norwest Corporation in 1998, making it the world’s second-largest bank. Its principal subsidiary, Wells Fargo Bank, is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and has 8,050 branches across the United States.

RBC Capital Markets

RBC Capital Markets is one of the top investment banks in Canada and part of the Royal Bank of Canada. Its operations are global.It has a strong presence in infrastructure finance, fixed income and foreign exchange. 

The company has a significant global presence and operates in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Euromoney magazine ranked it as the best investment bank in Canada for two years in a row.

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is one of the largest global investment banks, serving clients in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, and asset management. It is headquartered in New York City and operates offices around the world.

The company is divided into three business units: Institutional Securities, Wealth Management and Investment Management.

The Institutional Securities unit provides services to corporations, governments and FIs globally. It includes capital raising, financial advisory services on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and other activities like real estate & project finance.


It operates as an international investment bank.The bank is based in London and operates in the United States through a subsidiary, Barclays Bank Delaware. It’s FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor and uses secure encryption on its website and mobile app.

The bank’s logo features the Black Spread Eagle, a symbol that dates back to the 18th century.

Credit Agricole

The Credit Agricole Group is an umbrella organization for a global banking network and other financial institutions. Its operations include day-to-day and corporate banking, insurance, asset management, real estate, leasing and factoring, and investment banking.

The group’s retail banks operate around a universal community banking model. 

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse is one of the biggest global investment banks. Its operations are based in Switzerland and include wealth management, investment banking, and asset management.

It has a strong reputation for bank-client confidentiality and banking secrecy. It is a member of the Financial Stability Board, a global body that oversees banks and other financial institutions.

Credit Suisse is currently restructuring its business and seeking new cash from investors. It plans to strengthen its wealth management business, scale its investment bank into a “capital-light, advisory-led” operation, and evaluate strategic options for its Securitised Products business.


It is one of the world’s leading M&A advisors and is known for its infrastructure and renewables assets.

Macquarie’s operations are split into seven primary groups: Banking and Financial Services, Commodities and Global Markets, Macquarie Capital, Asset Management, Lending and Securitisation, and Research and Retail Financial Services. The Company offers a range of investment products and services worldwide.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services corporations. The firm was formed through NationsBank’s acquisition of BankAmerica in 1998.

A major company division is Consumer Banking, which provides financial services to consumers and small businesses. The company offers retail and commercial banking, investments, asset management, mortgage, and merchant services. The international wealth management business serves approximately 56 million U.S. clients.