WSJ; Overheard On The Street: So Far, 2013 Turns Out To Be Lucky Number For Bankers

Thanks to a recent rash of deals, M&A bankers are counting on some $160 billion in U.S. mergers and acquisitions -- the fastest pace since 2005.

But heavyweight investment banks like Morgan Stanley aren't keeping all the big clients to themselves. One boutique firm, Centerview Partners, has aleady advised on a staggering $58 billion in transactions this year -- almost as much as the entire industry had done at this point in 2010.

After advising clients like General Electric on its sale of a stake in NBCUniversal to Comcast and Heinz on its sale to Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital this week, it ranks No. 6 among all U.S. M&A advisers for the year.

Of course, J.P. Morgan Chse tops the list, with $157 billion in transactions. But even with their huge staffs and balance sheets to deploy, big banks might have to work a little harder this year to hold onto their lead.