Now that it’s got €8bn in new capital and another strategy reconfiguration, Deutsche Bank has supposedly turned a corner. The second half of 2017 is the new dawn in which the German bank will be skipping after corporate clients and rebuilding its market share in fixed income trading.
This may be so, but a dark uncertainty lingers in the wings. Its name is Brexit, and it threatens to cause particular problems for Deutsche – recapitalization or not.
Brexit's potency for Deutsche Bank comes from the fact that DB's London business is presently operated on a branch basis only. As things stand, Deutsche's fully regulated - and fully capitalized European head office - is to be found in Frankfurt. This is fine, so long as the UK is a member of the European Union, but clearly this is about to change.
Post-Brexit, Reuters points out that it's likely that Deutsche will either need to set up a fully capitalized UK subsidiary, or to ship a large proportion of its London activities off to Frankfurt.
The first option could be costly. A report from Boston Consulting Group suggests the European banks currently operating branch structures in London would need to raise a combined €40bn in capital if they're to switch to fully-capitalized post-Brexit UK subsidiaries. “If Carney (BoE governor) decides to make EU banks create subsidiaries ... I will buy a one way train ticket out of London and take everyone with me," one senior executive at a European bank tells Reuters, ominously.
Deutsche isn’t the only bank with this issue: BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are fellow sufferers. Deutsche is, though, the bank with the biggest problem and with the greatest number of London staff at risk of upheaval. It has 9,000 staff in the UK (of which 7,000 are in London), compared to 6,400 at BNP Paribas and 4,000 at SocGen.
The reminder of Deutsche’s precarity follows a recent warning by Sylvie Matherat, its chief regulatory officer, that the bank could be compelled to move 4,000 jobs including 2,000 front office sales and trading jobs out of the UK post-Brexit. Unless some kind of unlikely “back-to-back” arrangement can be arrived at whereby trades continue taking place in London whilst being mirrored and booked in Frankfurt , Deutsche’s traders might want to start learning German.
Separately, 8,000 Hours, an organization that encourages recent graduates into careers where they can have a positive social impact, has been conducting some detailed analysis into how much you can earn working for a hedge fund. While everyone knows about the hedge fund billionaires, 8,000 Hours' analysis is interesting for its examination of the lifetime earnings of more median performers in the hedge fund industry. Some of the assumptions are questionable (eg. a 10% hurdle on returns before bonuses are paid), but the analysis is full of interesting points. Over a 20 year career, the suggestion is that a successful hedge fund trader earns $20m. 8,000 Hours suggests that half of this is donated to charity.
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Photo credit:Winchester Street, Deutsche Bank, - 4 by Gideon Benari is licensed under CC BY 2.0.