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Was Commerzbank wrong to do away with Dresdner Kleinwort’s finest?

Dresdner Kleinwort’s UK corporate financiers and equity professionals are proving eminently employable elsewhere (think Evolution, Greenhill and Thomas Weisel). Was Commerzbank too hasty in sending them packing?

Not unsurprisingly, former DK employees say it was.

“The UK operation was a corporate broking and midmarket franchise,” says one of DK’s most senior former investment bankers. “And if there was ever a year in which you wanted a corporate broking business, this is it,” he adds. “It’s very difficult to lose money in advisory and you should at least cover your costs. It’s a very non-volatile and non-capital intensive business. I thought this was what Commerzbank was interested in.”

Andrew Umbers, chief exec of Evolution’s securities unit, which has hired 45 of Dresdner’s staff, is certainly interested. He told The Telegraph that Evolution is returning to “good old-fashioned merchant banking,” which is what “clients want a return to.”

Headhunters say star Dresdner analysts like Arturo De Frias and Simon Hales, both of whom joined Evolution, had “several opportunities” of alternative employment, with interest from banks like BarCap and Unicredit.

However, banking analyst Simon Maughan at MF Global says Commerzbank’s haste in trimming such desirable staff wasn’t totally irrational: “Let’s face it, Dresdner has a pretty chequered history of running profitably – all the good stuff they do on the agency side they have tended to mess up on lending and prop trading.”

Comments (8)

  1. Yes, Commerzbank was wrong to do away with Dresdner’s finest. It should have retained the man who controls the car park barrier and the lady who looks after the plants..

  2. A return to “good old fashioned merchant banking’? I suppose this refers to some of the old school blunt tools Evolution have hired. The markets have moved on from the halcyon days of old when British names like Kleinwort Benson had any relevance. Commerzbank have broadly done the right thing by pulling the life support on terminally ill bank.

  3. The last time I spoke to anyone from Dresdner’s finest was in McDonalds. They’ve now got a “one star” career serving up fries, but still, they should be grateful.

  4. Dresdner’s “finest” have degrees from places like Nottingham and Sheffield.

  5. Henry you really are the biggest *sswipe in the universe.
    Grow up

    Pythagoras Head Reply
  6. Sometimes less is more.

  7. Andrew what were you doing in McDonalds yourself? dishes I suppose?

  8. Simon Maughan used to be a Kleinwort’s analyst, so may not be unbiased

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