Deutsche Bank confirms plan to cut 18,000 jobs

Deutsche Bank LondonImage copyright Getty Images

Deutsche Bank will cut 18,000 jobs over three years as part of a radical reorganisation of the German bank.

It will also report a second quarter loss of €2.8bn to partly pay for the shake-up, which will significantly shrink its investment banking business.

Deutsche Bank is yet to specify exactly where jobs will be lost.

But it said it intends to completely exit activities related to the buying and selling of shares, much of which is conducted in London and New York.

With almost 8,000 staff, London is the home to its biggest trading operation.

Deutsche Bank said it will cut its global workforce to 74,000 by 2022 and that the restructure will cost €7.4bn over the next three years.

“Today we have announced the most fundamental transformation of Deutsche Bank in decades,” chief executive Christian Sewing said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Deutsche Bank chief executive Christian Sewing

“This is a restart for Deutsche Bank… In refocusing the bank around our clients, we are returning to our roots and to what once made us one of the leading banks in the world,” he said.

The reorganisation of the business follows the failure of merger talks with rival Commerzbank in April.

The German government had supported the tie-up, hoping it would create a national champion in the banking industry.

However, both banks concluded that the deal was too risky, fearing the costs of combining might have outweighed the benefits.

What’s bad for Deutsche Bank could be good for Barclays.

The once-mighty German firm’s retreat from international investment banking leaves Barclays as the last European bank standing in a sector dominated by US giants like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.

As one Barclays insider told the BBC: “Deutsche is where Barclays was five to 10 years ago. The difference is that we had a successful retail business (loans, mortgages, credit cards) to help us endure the most difficult times. Deutsche Bank hasn’t got that.”

The structure of the German banking sector is very different from the UK with lots of smaller regional banks grabbing most retail customers.

Barclays has been picking up market share from Deutsche and other European banks for over a year now and will see this as a further opportunity to expand into the space vacated by the German retreat.

While Barclays may pick up business, the real victors from Deutsche’s demise are the US banks who have prevailed after many unsuccessful attempts (RBS, UBS, DB and others) to muscle into the so-called “bulge bracket” of international investment banks.

Wall Street is arguably more powerful than ever.

Deutsche Bank has been struggling for years with the decline of its investment bank and has made several attempts to revamp its business.

The latest plan will be the most ambitious so far and it has already prompted the resignation of one top executive.

On Friday, the bank announced that its head of investment banking, Garth Ritchie, was leaving.

Under the plan, the bank wants to make cost savings of €17bn by 2022.

It is also creating a new unit to manage assets that belong to businesses it no longer wants.

It estimates those assets to be worth €74bn.

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