LONDON- Buoyed by a recovery in equity issuance, global investment banking fees rose 16 percent to an estimated $104 billion in 2017, Thomson Reuters data shows, the highest level since its records began in 2000.

The rebound in fees to above pre-crisis highs will be welcome news for global advisors who complain they are being squeezed by regulatory requirements amid competition from boutique players.

Following a downbeat 2016, investment banking fees for equity products rose 41.5 percent to $22 billion on an issuance recovery.*:nL8N1OS19H Fees for bonds beat mergers and acquisitions as the number one product, rising almost 15 percent to $31 billion.

Japan Post Holdings Co Ltd 6178.T , the biggest follow-on offering of the year, and Japanese SoftBank Group Corp 9984.T , which agreed to buy a large number of shares of Uber Technologies Inc UBER.UL in late December, were the biggest corporate clients of 2017 - paying out $382 and $378 million respectively.
Japan saw a 50 percent rise in total fees to $5.5 billion.

Blackstone Group BX.N was the biggest financial sponsor fee payer, shelling out $679 million, an increase of 87 percent on the previous year.

JP Morgan JPM.N was the biggest global investment banking earner of the year once again, racking up an estimated $6.7 billion in fees, or 6 percent of the total.
 (Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Adrian Croft) ((; +44)(0)(20 7542 0214;))