When investment bankers at Deutsche Bank ponder how to spend their bonuses, they might like to ask the man who’s leading an expenses squeeze at their firm for some less obvious suggestions. Alasdair Warren, the head of Deutsche’s corporate and investment bank in EMEA, has recently been investing hefty sums of his own money in…a trendy art deco cinema and theatre in a small town on England’s south west coast.
We noted his pet project, The Electric Palace in Bridport, Dorset, in last August last year. Now German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has reported the extent of Warren’s spending on the cinema, where he watched his first movie as a child. While it cost him ‘only’ £500k to buy it in 2015 – “quite an affordable sum” for a top banker, according to FAZ – he then spent a further £1m on a series of refurbishments that returned the ailing Palace to its former glory.
Warren, who often stays at home in Dorset at weekends when not in London trying to revive Deutsche’s European IBD fortunes, had to fork out to replace hopelessly outdated equipment and buy 300 new chairs and a new sound system. Then he had to fix up the roof. It seems, however, that Warren may be able to spend his 2017 bonus on something else. The cinema is now “cash break even”, he told the newspaper.
Deutsche’s rank-and-file bankers probably can’t stretch to buying cinemas when they get their bonuses in March. After last year’s decision to scrap performance bonuses and replace them with retention bonuses for a select few, Deutsche has long been assuring employees that compensation will return to “normal” in 2018. As we reported earlier, this implies higher base pay rather than bigger bonuses, but the actual size of Deutsche’s pool remains speculative.
While Warren has been spending a lot of his own money of late, he’s also been trying to cut company spending by his bankers at Deutsche. He’s leading a crackdown on travel costs, which rose 40% over the past year to €22m and which reportedly involved the use of limousines. This has caused disgruntlement among some senior staff.
Separately, what do you do when you’re a big buy-side firm accused of sexism by a current female employee? Come out fighting. Point72 Asset Management says it “emphatically denies” allegations in a law suit that it is a testosterone-fuelled boys’ club which is openly hostile to women. “…the hundreds of women at Point72 are vital members of every part of our organization,” the firm said in a statement. Of the firm’s 125 portfolio managers, however, one is a woman, reports the New York Times.
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