London: Job cuts at the world’s 10 biggest investment banks are set to accelerate to a pace last seen in the 2008 crisis, a study said on Wednesday, with 2011 revenues forecast to drop 15%.

People work on the trading floor of UBS AG’s office in Stamford, Connecticut, US. Photo: Bloomberg.

“While the actual decline (in jobs) for Q3 has been modest, we forecast that it will accelerate into the last quarter of this year and into the next, returning to 2008 year-end levels," the study said. “Most cuts are likely to be focused in fixed income businesses, particularly credit."

Revenues at the banks were forecast to drop 15% to $145 billion, the report said, as the euro zone debt crisis keeps markets in its grip.

The report looked at Bank of America, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS.

“Performance in (the third quarter) was particularly poor as revenues narrowed more than 30% after a flat first half. Concerns about the global economy and European sovereign debt crisis continued to mount," the report said.

While the industry is suffering from a cyclical downturn, longer-term prospects are equally bleak as regulators are clamping down on some of the most lucrative activities, such as proprietary trading and over-the-counter derivatives.

Revenues from the advisory business -- largely mergers and acquisitions -- and from debt and equity capital raisings are ahead so far this year, on the back of strong M&A in the first half, but the third quarter was also weak.

In the sales and trading business, there was a contraction in fixed income, and a slight improvement in equities and in prime services, which have hedge funds as their clients.

A pronounced decline in year-to-date fixed income revenue to $61 billion from $79 billion a year ago has led banks to announce staff cuts, Coalition said.

Income from investment grade debt, loan trading, and distressed credit was the worst third-quarter performer, making a roughly billion dollar loss for the banks.