Post financial crisis, the regulators have successfully argued that banks should be run as utilities, not casinos. As such banks have changed a lot in the last 5yrs, but as this article points out more restructuring is likely.
The result is an industry that has become safer and duller than many realise. America’s eight behemoths used to have 23 times more loans and investments than loss-absorbing capital; if a twenty-third of their assets had had to be written off, they would have gone bust. Now they are only 14 times “levered”. They are no longer allowed to speculate in financial markets on their own account; they may trade only on behalf of clients. Many of the deals they used to strike directly with one another must be funnelled through exchanges. It is a good thing that the big banks are being forced to be safer. The trouble is that many have failed to change their business models accordingly. A few are adjusting to their straitened circumstances, shedding staff and assets as quickly as their star traders once accumulated fast cars and sharp suits. Morgan Stanley and UBS, for example, have slashed trading to concentrate on asset management.