Morgan Stanley ranks No. 1 in M&A fees so far this year and could knock Goldman Sachs Group Inc. off the top position it has dominated over recent years, according to a study released Monday by Mergermarket.

Morgan Stanley has pulled in fees of $574.3 million advising on 221 deals so far this year.

Its closest rival Goldman Sachs has earned $535.8 million from 233 deals.

Both are well ahead of nearest rival JPMorgan Chase & Co., which has earned revenue of $403.5 million, said Mergermarket.

Morgan Stanley was joint adviser with Evercore Partners on the year's biggest deal — Pfizer Inc.'s $63.3 billion takeover of rival Wyeth in January.

After a lackluster start to the year, global mergers and acquisition activity is picking up, with the fourth quarter forecast to be the best since the third quarter of 2008.

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