May 14, 2018 / 4:11 PM / 11 days ago

Deutsche Bank has no plans to pull out of Asian countries - CEO

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank has no plans to pull out of Asian countries as it restructures its global business, Chief Executive Christian Sewing told staff and clients on his first visit to the region in his new role.

FILE PHOTO: Christian Sewing, member of the board of Germany's Deutsche Bank is pictured in Frankfurt, Germany, February 2, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

After taking the helm at Germany’s flagship lender last month, Sewing announced plans to cut back its U.S. investment banking activities where it has been unable to break the grip of the U.S. powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

The bank’s business in Asia, however, remains key to the lender’s global success, Sewing told a company town hall meeting in Singapore on Monday, according to a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for the bank.

“We can only be relevant to our clients if we continue to be strong in Asia,” he also told a client meeting.

Of Deutsche Bank’s top 100 clients globally, 88 are doing business with it on matters related to Asia, he added.

After announcing plans to cut back in U.S. investment banking, Sewing vowed to invest in German retail banking and asset management in Europe.

With respect to Asia, he had said Deutsche Bank would reduce its commitment to sectors with limited cross-border activity, but on Monday he stressed that the bank will continue its business of helping foreign clients in the region - which is in the bank’s roots, given its history of financing German businesses’ global expansion.

“Our first steps outside of Germany nearly 150 years ago were in fact in this region, in China and Japan. We knew then, as we know now, how fundamental Asia is to our global business,” Sewing said.

Deutsche Bank is present in 15 Asian countries including Japan, China, Singapore and India. It employs about 19,000 staff in Asia. The bank is planning cuts of more than 100 jobs in its Asian investment banking operations, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on potential job cuts in the region.

By contrast, Deutsche Bank is expected to cut around 1,000 jobs or 10 percent of its workforce in the United States, the largest global market for investment banking fees, a different person familiar with the matter said last month.

Deutsche Bank has traditionally been stronger in Asia than in the United States, ranking fifth globally in 2017 investment banking revenues in Asia, compared to eighth position in the United States and second place in Europe, according data from research firm Coalition.

Bloomberg first reported Sewing’s comments.

Reporting by Andreas Framke; Writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Susan Fenton

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