Apple has raised an enormous amount of capital- to hand back cash to shareholders. It is sitting on tonnes of cash, yet resorted to the capital market because repatriating cash to the US from other parts of the world would have been tax inefficient. This, says John Kay in an article in the FT, "illustrates a paradox in the modern relationship between business and finance. Companies have never had so little need for capital nor so much engagement with capital markets.
The point about listing in the market is not to raise capital- knowledge-based businesses do not need to own a whole lot of assets and hence do not need large amounts of capital. Rather, listing on the exchange has to do with providing an exit route to investors or rewards to managers who own stock options: "corporate governance, not capital allocation, is the principal economic and social function of those capital markets.".
What does this mean for investment banks, one of whose main businesses, was raising capital for firms? It would mean loss of a significant stream of revenue. Another important stream, proprietary trading, is being whittled away by regulation. No wonder investment banks are losing their sheen, as reflected in market value to book value ratios.