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Goldman Sachs technologists are gathering at Deutsche Bank

Tangled technology

Tangled technology

Deutsche Bank may be in the middle of a hiring ‘frost’, but there’s plenty of recruitment in the upper echelons of its investment bank within technology – and former Goldmanites are gathering.

The latest senior technologist to join Deutsche Bank is Tom Waite, who signed up as a managing director within electronic trading. Waite joined from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he was also an MD. Before that, he was a managing director at Goldman Sachs for six years until May 2014. Deutsche Bank didn’t respond to requests for comment on his appointment.

Deutsche Bank has big plans for front office IT in its corporate and investment bank and Waite is the latest in a succession of ex-Goldmanites hired to implement them. Stuart Bevan, a former MD in capital markets technology at Citi and ex-head of equities technology at Goldman, joined the German bank in February.

Conveniently enough, both men worked at Goldman Sachs at the same time as Deutsche’s most senior technologists, Michael Grimaldi and Richard Shannon. Grimaldi spent 21 years at Goldman – latterly as head of technology for its securities division – before joining Deutsche in 2014 as CIO of its corporate banking and securities division. Shannon is CIO for the Americas at Deutsche Bank and also joined from Goldman after a 20-year stint – latterly as head of platform services within its securities tech team.

Why is Deutsche hiring so many Goldmanites? Well, Deutsche would bristle at the notion that its developing its own version of Goldman Sachs’ SecDB – once hailed as the bank’s ‘secret sauce’ risk platform that underpinned all its trading systems, now being given away for free – but this is essentially the case.

Deutsche is shaking things up in its technology function. Kim Hammonds, who was promoted to COO alongside her role heading up technology at Deutsche Bank last year, is leading a drive to simplify and modernise its outdated technology architecture. Part of this is cost-cutting, but it’s also about catching up with its rivals to create a risk and pricing platform to run across asset classes in its securities business.

Goldman’s SecDB started out in its foreign exchange business – then run by Lloyd Blankfein, who ensured it spread across the firm and replaced other disparate risk trading systems. Bank of America Merrill Lynch also has its integrated trading platform, Quartz, and J.P. Morgan has Athena, its cross-asset trading platform.

Michael Dubno, the man credited with getting SecDB off the ground, has now left Wall Street and is running Gadgetoff – a festival aimed at showcasing new technology. Dubno got Quartz running over his four years at BAML to December 2014. Kirat Singh, who led BAML’s Quartz efforts, is now running his own technology consultancy, Washington Square Technologies.

Deutsche Bank’s efforts are being led by former Goldman Sachs quant and partner, Sam Wisnia, who is currently in the midst of revamping its risk and pricing platform – along the lines of Goldman.

According to insiders we spoke to in our extensive profile of Wisnia, Deutsche Bank’s securities previously had a “start-up mentality” and created a series of risk and pricing systems that were bolted on as the business grew. Wisnia is in to unravel the mess.

“Wisnia was brought in by Ram Nayak and Colin Fan to sort out Deutsche’s risk and pricing systems,” said an anonymous source told us. “Under Anshu Jain, Deutsche had a sort of start-up mentality,” he adds. “They were going for revenues and growth, and had a piecemeal desk-by-desk pricing system. Nayak and Fan could see that this needed to change.”

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