(Reuters) - Global investment banking fees fell 8 percent to $20 billion in the first quarter, the poorest start to the year since 2012, hurt by weak deal activity in Europe, Asia Pacific and Japan.
Fees for deals done fell 28 percent in Japan, 14 percent in Europe and 18 percent in Asia Pacific, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters and Freeman Consulting.
The North American investment banking market remained stable, with fees little changed at $11.5 billion.
JPMorgan Chase & Co topped the global investment banking league table in the quarter with $1.49 billion in fees. Goldman Sachs Group Inc was second with $1.48 billion.
Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc were the biggest gainers among the top 10 banks in fees earned, while Credit Suisse Group AG's fees dropped 23 percent.
Investment banking activity in the financial, healthcare, and energy and power sectors generated 54 percent of the global fee pool during the quarter.
Fees from deal making in the healthcare sector jumped 24 percent, with Goldman commanding 14 percent of all fees booked in the sector.
Equity capital markets underwriting fees fell 2 percent to $5.3 billion, dragged down by a 36 percent drop in fees from initial public offerings.
Fees from debt capital markets underwriting rose 4 percent to $6.3 billion, while mergers and acquisition advisory fees fell slightly to $5.5 billion.
Investment banking fees generated by financial sponsors and their portfolio companies dropped 30 percent to $2.5 billion. Blackstone Group LP's investment banking fees rose 79 percent to $168 million.
Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty