Fascinating infographic via the FT on the top twenty financial institutions, according to market cap.

Click either of the graphics to reach the interactive charts, and then use the slider to see the changes take place.


1999: Top 20 Financials by Market Cap


2009: Top 20 Financials by Market Cap


The decade for global banks
Steven Bernard, Jeremy Lemer, Helen Warrell, Cleve Jones, Peter Thal Larsen and Simon Briscoe
FT, March 22 2009


Category: Bailouts, Corporate Management, Credit, Markets

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

60 Responses to “Financial Institutions, Market Cap, 1999-2009”

  1. KidDynamite says:


    I assume the Chinese banks went public in 2006?

  2. A graphic illustration of the re-shuffling of the economic deck, and thereby the international order, this last decade–a process which is really only in its infancy.

  3. for those scalpers – buy fas here at 6.29 and sell at 6.60 in an hour or so.

    fas should finish the day on the low. tomorrow things should reverse themselves quite a bit.

  4. KidDynamite says:

    Curmudgeon – obviously, China is growing tremendously, but is this chart really showing an apples to apples comparison? in other words, the global world view shift is distorted if the Chinese banks weren’t publicly traded until 2006 (which is only noted on the chart for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, but I’m guessing is true of Bank Of China and China Construction Bank as well ???)

  5. Concerned American says:

    But he kept us safe. LMAO

  6. MRegan says:


    I am looking at FAS and I see a different quote. What’s up with that?


  7. my fault. 5 not 6.29.

    haste makes waste.

  8. Jdamon33 says:

    Holy Sh*tzball, where the he!! did Citi and BofA go in 2009? Off the map? Wow!!!

    Also, was that total share price return for the decade? Seems as my WFC has held up pretty well (compartively speaking) to most all other banks in the world.

    I just can’t believe our banking sector imploded the way it did. This just reinforced my feeling that every Fortune 500 Company should have a very well paid group of auditors who report directly to the Chairman of the Board going through all these deals, transactions, risky products that the sales guys get the Company involved with. They need a bunch of smart forensic accounts sniffing out all the crap.

  9. MRegan says:

    The contract bewteen those two charts signals how urgently we need to engage in swift triage. Some limbs are likely too gangrenous to recover. Debt seems like theft, like a wealth extraction mechanism. The con is lending someone their own money. Unbelievable.

  10. super_trooper says:

    Farewell to US century and welcome to the Chinese century.

  11. MRegan says:

    “contrast between” sorry

  12. MRegan says:

    GP- just wondering. Thanks for the notion on FAS.

  13. ben22 says:

    does anyone else look at a chart like this and conclude that a global currency is on the way?

    Lots of new flags on that second chart.

  14. wally says:

    And the administration forced out the head of GM instead of the bankers. Amazing.

  15. no real bounce – exit fas scalp w/1% loss.

  16. I’m not sure ‘market cap’ is the best judge..

    in “Banking” aren’t “Deposits” the typical yard-sticks for [bracketing]?

  17. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    I used to read John Hussman every Monday morning to get an idea of what Ph.D. in economics, who also had to manage a mutual fund, was thinking. You know, one of those “what is the smart boy doing with problem number 6?” when you were in school…Now, certainly the last 6 weeks, he has gotten more dour than Roubini.

    This morning I think I could have written this…perhaps he’s thinking of moving to East Tennessee…


    “Attempting to avoid the need for debt restructuring by wasting trillions in public funds increases the likelihood that the current economic downturn will be prolonged, places a massive claim on our future production in order to transfer our nation’s wealth to the bondholders of mismanaged financial companies, and raises the likelihood that any nascent recovery will be cut short by inflation pressures. We are nowhere near the completion of this deleveraging cycle.”

    I don’t know about the inflation, but I certainly would agree with this first two planks….

  18. tCA says:

    “does anyone else look at a chart like this and conclude that a global currency is on the way?”

    -Probably unconstitutional, but yet likely under this administration.

    “Farewell to US century and welcome to the Chinese century.”

    -Agreed. New benchmark not the S&P, rather the Hang Seng or Shanghei.

    “Curmudgeon – obviously, China is growing tremendously, but is this chart really showing an apples to apples comparison? in other words, the global world view shift is distorted if the Chinese banks weren’t publicly traded until 2006 (which is only noted on the chart for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, but I’m guessing is true of Bank Of China and China Construction Bank as well ???)”

    -I don’t think the recency of the banks being traded is relevant. My understanding is that the Chinese often pay cash or have substantial downpayments for things like homes and cars. If so, they likely have far fewer toxic assets on their books and, thus, are worth more as the chart suggests. The only way I could see those values being suspicious is if those banks bought a large amount of our subprime junk and that of Europe.

  19. LFC says:

    It’s popping up all over now (thanks to MRegan who posted this link to the Boston Globe story) that Charles Millard (a former Lehman executive) wasn’t bright enough to understand the word “guaranty” when he headed the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for the U.S. government. In September, he shifted a large amount of the funds into stocks. As of then end of September (the only date for which they will provide numbers), the stock investments had lost 23%. It is widely assumed that things have gotten worse since then.

    What else happened in September? Well, George W. Bush, the man who in 2007 appointed Mr. Millard to his position as the head of the PBGC, was quoted as saying “If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down.”


  20. OkieLawyer says:


    If one were so inclined, one could infer that it was the intention of policymakers to destroy the PBGC. After all, who does the PBGC protect? (Answer: workers)

  21. LFC says:

    OkieLawyer, I think there were two other driving causes. First, Bush’s entire economic performance was a series of shortsighted moves to boost profits NOW, with no long term thinking. All his moves started going badly, and he just wanted to push the problem down the road enough so that the economy to fall apart on the next guy’s watch.

    Second, this was part of the same grand experiment that included Social Security privatization. Remember? Investing in stock market good. Investing to reduce risk bad.

  22. rbtivo says:

    Re: PBGC

    Instead of “starve the beast” they decided to just eat it.

  23. Marcus Aurelius says:


    Good link to fucknuttery.

    A quote from Millard, Fucknut in Charge:

    Asked whether the strategy was a mistake, given the subsequent declines in stocks and real estate, Millard said, “Ask me in 20 years. The question is whether policymakers will have the fortitude to stick with it.”

    In 20 years the dude will, most likely, be dead. Leave the trouble to posterity: The Great American Business Plan.

  24. bman says:

    Who says Citi and BofA are too big to fail?

  25. davboz says:

    @tCA Says:
    -”Probably unconstitutional, but yet likely under this administration.”
    Sincerely, I don’t know how much that matters anymore. Leaders have diminishing regard for it, and the sheeple have little knowledge or concern for it.

  26. leftback says:

    This sell-off was fairly well telegraphed (Bernstein: SELL THE BANKS), and we expect the 780 level to hold here. We were buying heavily in the energy and materials sector between 2 and 3 pm and we expect a bounce. If there is more downside tomorrow, we think it will be limited, and that 750 would be the low for the week. The $ looks like it may complete a head and shoulders formation here in the next week or so, and should the $ in fact proceed downwards, the rally will continue.

  27. cjcpa says:

    we at neophyte asset management made our first ‘short’ trade today getting into SKF at 104 just after the open. We are giddy, and don’t know what to do next, but maybe put a stop in at 108.

    I have lost countless billable hours to this and other blogs over the last year. This is my first opportunity to profit directly. It looks to pay for dinner.

    Barry: I think the citizens of this country, or at least me, would be well served by a print and broadcast news system that actually told us what is going on. I had to read your blog for 6 months before I could be confident that you knew more than other, established outlets who were saying the OPPOSITE. (Lehman is fine, etc.) It has taken me SO MANY HOURS of my life to get the goods on the last 12 months. It should be much easier –e.g. to just watch the tube for 20 minutes after dinner.

    But, alas, it is not.

  28. km4 says:

    After looking at these charts how can O, B, G et al make a winning case against the rest of the world to move from current U.S. dollar standard to a global currency ?

    The G20 summit should be fun for all but America.

    How do you rebut the fact that United States has been very careless in its monetary and fiscal policies esp for last 11 yrs. ( 8 of which were assclown Bush admin ) ?

  29. ramster says:

    Look at Canada and Australia. Less than 1% of the world’s population and 20% of its top banks. It’s probably even higher since there are a mittfull of Canadian and Aussie banks that are just out of the top 20.

  30. leftback says:

    “neophyte asset management made our first ’short’ trade”

    Welcome to The Show, rook. This is where the Big Dawgs hang out. Now you just need a motto.

    Leftback @Schadenfreude Asset Management (“Your Pain is Our Gain”).

  31. ben22 says:

    @ Mark H.

    Thanks for the BO link you put up in a previous post, hand’t seen those yet, I watched the videos on Youtube and came up with a new investment idea after watching to go along with my MON long.

    It’s RTN. I’m sure you could figure out why.

  32. ben22 says:


    Um no, anything worth having, such as the knowledge you can gain here, shouldn’t be able to be had after watching the tube for 20 minutes.

    Watching TV for investment ideas helps you end up where you deserve to be after not trying to work for it: Poorer.

  33. Mannwich says:

    @ben22: I owned RTN and sold it a couple of years ago for a small gain. Looking interesting again at these levels though.

  34. km4 says:

    > The G20 summit should be fun for all but America.

    Here comes the smackdown

    Russia backs return to Gold Standard to solve financial crisis

  35. mikesic says:

    Our banks suck but there is even less transparency for Chinese banks. Who knows how many empty factory loans are on their books. Maybe they are the future but I would like to see that chart again in say 3 years.

  36. ben22 says:


    RTN has a major lobbyist that is very tight with BO and Rahm. Clearly most of us here know how the game is played. When BO got into office I told myself I could capitalize by finding out who he is surrounding himself with and what companies those folks have links to. At least, this was the “change” I was thinking about when he got in. The only conclusion I drew, that I have done nothing to act on, is that I should in fact be buying banks if I’m taking my own advice. I just can’t bring myself to own any of that trash. Yep, I happily admit, I got none of the bank rally since 3/9.

    Something tells me that while things may get worse for many companies, the people that are close to those two guys will do just fine in the coming years.

    Have you done anything with MOS or MON?

  37. pmorrisonfl says:

    > Russia backs return to Gold Standard to solve financial crisis

    When I read that somewhere earlier today, I thought “Wow, Russia’s going Ron Paul on us.”, which roughly characterizes my view of the likelihood of that happening.

    Went to a Peter Schiff seminar in Boca over the weekend (I live nearby). He made the point that it’d be right to move to a ‘hard money’ standard rather than fiat money, because fiat money makes it too easy for politicians to make promises they can’t keep. This got me to ask the question “Why would a politician ever decide to move from fiat to hard currency?”. One man’s feature is another man’s bug. I think the answer is “Never”, and any alternatives happen as a result of economic and political collapse. No academic rigor there, just a somehwhat cynical view of human nature, but I’d ask the historians and philosophers here to weigh in.

  38. Mannwich says:

    @ben22: In prior times, I haven’t been an active trader but now in this environment everything is on the table to trade, so I dumped all 0f my MOS last week for 47.33. Dumped some MON as well to raise cash for some SRS, FAZ and QID last week but still hold some of it. Might buy some more MOS if it dips back into the 30′s again.

  39. call me ahab says:

    @ cjcpa-

    ben22 has it right- it’s like the movie Matrix- where Neo knew something just wasn’t right but couldn’t put his finger on it- it’s the same thing, you had an unsettled feeling- you knew something wasn’t right and did not believe the information you heard- you searched out a forum that made sense of what you saw happening around you- you chose the red pill.

  40. cjcpa says:

    I loved that movie. (but not the sequels.)
    Yes, there is that nagging feeling that what you are told is not quite right. That there must be something else.

    Does that make this blog the Nebuchadnezzar?

  41. ben22 says:


    Yeah I hear you. Those were probably nice trades for you. I’ve been going back and forth lately about whether or not I’d start doing that. I skated through last year clean and I’m really young so I was inclined in November of last year to start going long and was ready to take some losses but set up pretty deep stops unless I made bad choices or something changed.

    I made a few good trades last year with some of the ultrashorts but I’m no leftback, karen or AT.

    I’m pretty good at picking companies apart slowly, reading short term charts not so much.

  42. ben22 says:


    No, this is not the ship, the net is the ship that gets us here, here is: Zion.

    BR is Morpheus.

    The men behind the Fed = the architect

    What I can’t figure out, Who is Smith?

  43. cjcpa says:

    Ben22 — I agree that it is true…. but lament that it is true.

    If the TV was not full of drivel, it would perhaps be worth watching. I gave up on the TV easily 10 years ago. But having to work so hard to be informed is costly.

    Also, so many of the country continues to be uninformed. That has to cost us a lot too.

    I imagine that if our country was not full of misinformed individuals, things would go better.

  44. emmanuel117 says:


    I believe periodic deflation is baked into a gold-backed currency. Do you see Putin giving up control of the currency?

    I think not.

  45. MRegan says:


    Maybe KOP would be worth picking part slowly.

    OT-Assertion of ownership:

    This might catch one’s attention:

    “Banks are quietly declining to take possession of properties at the end of the foreclosure process, most often because the cost of the ordeal — from legal fees to maintenance — exceeds the diminishing value of the real estate.

    The so-called bank walkaways rarely mean relief for the property owners, caught unaware months after the fact, and often mean additional financial burdens and bureaucratic headaches. Technically, they still owe on the mortgage, but as a practicality, rarely would a mortgage holder receive any more payments on the loan. The way mortgages are bundled and resold, it can be enormously time-consuming just trying to determine what company holds the loan on a property thought to be in foreclosure.

    In Ms. James’s case, the company that was most recently servicing her loan is now defunct. Its parent company filed for bankruptcy and dissolved. And the original bank that sold her the loan said it could not find a record of it.”

  46. call me ahab says:

    @ MRegan-

    I read that same article earlier today- I am starting to think that there will be blocks and blocks of abandomed homes in many cities awaiting the bulldozer- not only in poorer neighborhoods but cul de sac’s as well.

  47. Hey Traders,
    Might be time to short GE
    Lowes via GE Money just yanked my very small $400 credit line with ‘em.
    No harm no foul, balance due $0.00
    Just a heads up from the hinterlands.

  48. MRegan says:

    call me ahab-

    The implications of unclear ownership are frightening. I have some knowledge of the kinds of free-for-alls that accompany ‘invasiones’ in Peru and I can tell you that here in the US with as many guns as there are floating around, frickin’ yikes.

  49. Itiswhatitis says:

    “I believe periodic deflation is baked into a gold-backed currency”

    That is the scam. Gold Standard internationalism was a crime against nature and nations, used by the private globalist cartel to force first through inflation, then threw deflation(gold standard) the raping of peoples lands. The structural damage it did to the real economy was immense. That is why they ditched it over time for fiat as finance capitalism almost collapsed thanks to the rapings.

    Hence, that should tell you about Ron Paul and the fraud he is. Basically, he wants a gold standard and prove to the global elites that it rapes better(sorta like it has more lube lol). It sure does.

  50. KidDynamite says:

    my point in my comment early in this thread was only that the graphic clearly makes it LOOK like the Chinese banks came out of nowhere to rule the roost, but it’s possible they were monsters all along – we just didn’t know it because they were not publicly traded, and that’s why they’re not on the chart before 2007.

  51. KD,

    and it’s good point.

    though, another presumed the ‘better balance sheets’ of said PROC creations, they should read more, it isn’t so..

    re: RTN, sweet, no? what is interesting, to me, is that, contra to the whole ‘Socially-aware Investing Theme”, the “ATF-theme” has trounced them..

    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms/Military Indistrial Complex-Prison Industrial Complex


    here’s one for you and your interest in mycelium, and related:
    the URL was too priceless, this is some of my U.’s earlier work..

  52. ben22 says:


    KOP, that is an interesting idea for sure. Nice div on that. I’ll have to take a look.

    @ Mark,

    Sweet indeed. I had been taking a look at taking a position in RTN, LMT, BA or NOC, the video helped finalize that for me.

    “but O is going to pull us out of Iraq”

    lol. as if there was nowhere else to go.

    @ Foghorn,

    I don’t own GE stock, don’t intend to, but I think the time to short it was a long time ago. I’m not sure that is so smart now. Seems to me to be an awful lot of risk of shorting any bank right now. Do you know what the govt or the Fed will do next to juice these up? I don’t, can’t define the risk, so rather than be short, or long, I’m just staying away. I much prefer to read about people who had success with banks here, or in the case of the now gone JBorchers, early buy in failures. Those stories are fun enough for me.

    I know GE is more than a bank, but that’s what it trades like.

  53. ben22,

    w/KOP, if you shorted the April15c @~.80 closing bid, 30 March 009, you’d rake in another ~5.5% at a ~14.48/sh buy-price..

    though, remember, on these ‘down days’, more than one leg of the Call Option pricing ‘stool’ gets Shortened..


    if you …KOP, give a ping..

  54. ben22 says:


    good point on KOP. if people used options more often they’d be surprised at how easy it is to lower volatility, while still having great upside.

    unfortunately too many people associate options with “risky”

    I once told a financial advisor I was using covered call strategies and he thought that was much higher risk than “just keeping it simple with mutual funds”.

    I just kind of gave the blank stare back.

  55. CyHastings says:

    Hey LB….I heard Hank Paulson was going to start new boutique IB.

    Dewey, Cheatham, & Howe LLC
    “We’re not satisfied, until you’re not satisfied.”

  56. ben22,

    I hear you, it’s amazing what’s been passing as ‘Financial Professional’, for all too long.

    that response, about ‘covered-call’ Writes, must be in some Programming manual b/c I’ve heard it more times than I can care to remember, and not one those Pros could prove their response was True..

    tho: re: KOP, after a quick peek, their Balance Sheet looks curious..needs 2x-checking..

  57. ben22 says:


    That’s going to be an interesting thing to watch, what will the standard “pro” lines be as we come out of this, whenever that may be. People are poking holes in everything now so some of the standard responses will need to be adjusted. It will be interesting to see what the new lines are, and even more interesting, how much will they contradict the old standard answers.

    I was going to look at KOP this afternoon. I only checked the quote screen on it last night. I’m not very familiar with them.

  58. ben22,

    yes, that is interesting. I think those that, w/ a little focus, can get 6 from 3 2s, are starting to bolt..beginning to fashion their own ‘vestments to suit their needs, regardless of what’s on the rack.

    though, the big Risk, to me, is that Wall St. will use this recent kneecapping+SocSec insolvency as an argument for more ‘forced ‘savings”..

    barring that, it will be curious to see how Mad Ave.+ Hartford can spin the next round of ‘fuel the font of the perpetual bid, itz good 4 u..’-

    –these recent ‘Waterfalls’ have destroyed all their, to date, stock arguments..

  59. YouthInAsia says:

    “for those scalpers – buy fas here at 6.29 and sell at 6.60 in an hour or so.

    fas should finish the day on the low. tomorrow things should reverse themselves quite a bit.”

    I took your advice and all I got was this stupid margin call.

  60. flipjes says:

    Mark E Hoffer Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I’m not sure ‘market cap’ is the best judge..

    in “Banking” aren’t “Deposits” the typical yard-sticks for [bracketing]?

    Based on the data alone, I would say that market cap is a total crap shoot. No predictive value whatsoever -or is the predictive value that this is just a bank of black swans?