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Asia escapes worst of Deutsche job cuts but some staff still look for exit

Asia escapes worst of Deutsche job cuts but some staff still look for exit

Escaping the axe

Singapore and Hong Kong are tipped to escape the worst of Deutsche Bank’s jobs cuts and the firm has even been hiring in capital markets in Asia.

But the German lender has still been trimming a few roles in the two cities and recruiters report a large recent rise in Deutsche staff looking for a pre-emptive exit.

Deutsche announced plans in October last year to eliminate 9,000 jobs globally and is now under renewed cost pressure following a slump in its share price and a $14bn fine request from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In Singapore and Hong Kong, Deutsche has been laying off “small numbers” of employees this year, says Farida Charania, Asia Pacific CEO of search firm Nastrac Group. “Plenty of these people are on employment visas and not everyone will be able to find new jobs locally.”

“There are more cuts to come at Deutsche in Hong Kong – M&A looks vulnerable,” adds a headhunter with knowledge of the bank in Hong Kong. Deutsche ranks outside the top 10 banks for ex-Japan Asia announced and completed M&A volumes in the year to end-September, according to Dealogic figures.

In recent weeks, however, fixed income currencies and commodities (FICC) staff have left the bank in Asia. “I’ve spoken to a few people let go on the FICC side of the business, mostly at director level,” says another Hong Kong recruiter.

Whether their own jobs are under threat or not, the current uncertainly surrounding Deutsche’s global business has made more of its Asian staff consider opportunities elsewhere.

“Enquiries from Deutsche people directly and through our website have risen considerably in the past few weeks,” says Charania.

“I’m now getting lots of enquiries from DB staff who are upset because their stock from their previous bank was converted into DB stock when they joined four or five years ago – now it’s worth a lot less,” says the first recruiter.

Meanwhile, headhunters say Deutsche Bank has been hiring in capital markets in Hong Kong on the back of new managers joining earlier this year.

These senior appointments include Oliver Brinkmann and Sreenivasan Iyer, who became heads of corporate finance for North Asia and Southeast Asia respectively, and Jason Cox, formerly of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who was named co-head of ECM for Asia Pacific.

The firm, which lost several managers last year in a reshuffle of its top ranks, has also appointed new Asia heads of ECM syndicate, DCM syndicate, financial sponsors, healthcare investment banking, structuring origination, and China corporate banking coverage.

Deutsche has also been hiring technologists in Singapore, says Komal Mehta, a partner at recruiters KS International. “But I think some tech candidates who are at offer stage might now think twice about accepting these jobs,” she adds.

The bank would not comment on its Asian headcount.

“Deutsche Bank remains committed to Asia Pacific, a region which delivered 14% year-on-year revenue growth last year and is a core part of our global network,” says a spokesperson in Hong Kong

Image: Junede, Getty

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