Frankfurt: Deutsche Bank AG unveiled a radical overhaul that will see the lender exit its equities business, post a 2.8 billion-euro ($3.1 billion) second-quarter loss and cut the workforce by a fifth to reverse a slide in profitability.
Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing will shelve the dividend this year and next and take restructuring charges of 7.4 billion euros through 2022 to pay for an overhaul that shrinks the German lender’s once-mighty investment bank along with its global footprint and key fixed-income business.
“Today we have announced the most fundamental transformation of Deutsche Bank in decades," Sewing said in a statement on Sunday. “We are tackling what is necessary to unleash our true potential."
The scale of the revamp underscores the failure of Sewing and his recent predecessors to solve the fundamental problem: costs were too high and revenue too low. After government-brokered merger talks with Commerzbank AG collapsed in April, the CEO had few alternatives to bolster market confidence. His plan was approved by the board at a meeting Sunday.
About 74 billion euros of risk-weighted assets will become part of a new non-core unit and the lender’s capital buffer will be reduced as part of the plan. With a stock price down by half in the past two years, selling new shares wasn’t an option and the bank said it does not plan a capital increase to pay for the overhaul.
Instead, Sewing is tapping into the bank’s capital cushion to fund what he’s billed as the bank’s biggest restructuring in decades -- which means he needs to be strategic with the little financial resources he can generate. It will be the first time since at least 1993 that Deutsche Bank won’t pay out.
The bank said retail chief Frank Strauss and Chief Regulatory Officer Sylvie Matherat, both board members, will leave this month. The departure of investment bank head Garth Ritchie was announced on Friday.
Other executives will be on the rise. Stefan Hoops was named to oversee the new “corporate bank" unit that will combine the transaction bank and the lender’s corporate-clients unit. Three management board members where appointed: Christiana Riley is taking over responsibilities for the Americas, Bernd Leukert, formerly of SAP, will join Sept. 1 and be responsible for data and innovation. Stefan Simon will become chief administrative officer and oversee regulatory affairs and legal.
The investment bank is the focus of the overhaul. The unit, which accounts for roughly half of Deutsche Bank’s revenue and which was cause of its decline, will be broken in two. The transaction bank will be lifted out and merged with the commercial clients segment that’s currently within the retail division, people familiar with the matter have said.
What Bloomberg Intelligence Says
Deutsche Bank’s plan to downsize its investment bank, revamp management and cut costs while investing in controls and technology could open the most promising path yet to boosting profitability, according our early analysis, after years of piecemeal changes that failed to deliver. Execution will be critical, with added details sought July 8.
The change is designed to accelerate the shift away from acting as the first port of call for institutional clients such as asset managers and hedge funds toward selling cash management, trade finance and hedging products to corporate clients. The new division, to be lead by current transaction bank head Stefan Hoops, will be at the heart of the lender’s future business model.
“We remain committed to our global network and will help companies to grow and provide private and institutional clients with the best solutions and advice for their respective needs – in Germany, Europe and around the globe," Sewing said on Sunday.
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