Investment Banking

At Deutsche Bank, a Rude Awakening

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The race isn't going to get any easier.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Deutsche Bank investment banking struggles, after years of banking on the division, leave it with no viable alternative to grow the bank’s profits.

  • Facts


    • Deutsche Bank’s investment banking fees declined by 20 percent in 2015, compared to an overall industry decline of 8 percent, according to an annual review by Thomson Reuters.
    • The top five investment banks are all from the United States. Deutsche Bank is still the top-ranked European investment bank and ranks sixth worldwide in terms of revenues.
    • Former Deutsche Bank co-CEO Anshu Jain aimed to turn the investment banking division of Germany’s largest bank into one of the world’s top investment banks.
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Anshu Jain had a clear vision when it came to the future of the financial industry. The former Deutsche Bank co-chief executive was convinced that a handful of large financial institutions would dominate the global financial sector. His goal: to keep Deutsche Bank part of this exclusive club.

When he took over the bank in 2012, Mr. Jain set a goal of becoming one of the top five in all key areas of investment banking. Overall, he set his sights on the number-three spot worldwide among investment banks – attacking the top dogs on Wall Street like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

It was an ambitious goal that suited the successor to Josef Ackermann, Deutsche Bank’s long-time chief executive, who helped set up the bank’s Wall Street operations and in the last decade succeeded in turning Germany’s largest bank into a major global investment banking player.

The Jain-Ackermann era is now a thing of the past – Mr. Jain was replaced as co-chief executive in July by John Cryan, a mild-mannered British banker who has set about returning the bank to its roots, reducing its global ambitions. He’s even cutting back on investment banking – long considered off-limits – to protect the bank’s capital base.

The shift is borne out in the numbers: Deutsche Bank’s performance in investment banking was sobering at best in 2015. Joining the top five seems an increasingly distant goal.

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