What will become of Deutsche bankers when Ackermann goes?

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The revelation that Deutsche made €4.8bn of losses in the fourth quarter is bad news for its investment bankers in more ways than one. Paltry bonuses are a given, but it also makes it unlikely that an investment banker will replace chief executive Josef Ackermann when he retires next year.

Until recently, Anshu Jain, co-head of Deutsche's investment banking unit, had been seen as a potential successor to Ackermann. But with an alleged €1.1bn of the losses directly related to trading, that now looks a lot less probable.

"Investment bankers will have a smaller voice in the institution in future," says Simon Maughan, an analyst at CreditSights: "There's been a shift in the power base."

If someone like Rainer Nesker, head of Deutsche's retail banking unit, replaces Ackermann, the shift is likely to be accentuated. Deutsche's investment bankers could suffer further cuts in jobs or pay, or both.

Deutsche has already committed to a strategy of building its retail banking arm and this week agreed to purchase a 22.9% stake in Postbank, the leading retail bank in Germany.

But it's the record fourth quarter loss that is turning heads in Frankfurt. De Welt today declares the end of an era that saw Deutsche transform from a conservative German retail bank into a 'giant hedge fund.'

Following this week's loss, Ackermann defended the performance of the investment bank, saying he remained a 'strong believer' in the business.

His successor may not be so sympathetic.

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