The disappointed Deutsche Bank staff compelled to leave with nothing at all

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The disappointed Deutsche Bank staff compelled to leave with nothing at all

If you lose your job at Deutsche Bank, you will not get a big severance payment. Ever since early 2018, the German bank has paid the statutory minimum in the UK, plus maybe a 10% sweetener. It's not great, but given that laid-off employees also usually walk away with their deferred stock bonuses, it's not too bad.

If you leave Deutsche Bank voluntarily, however, it's another matter. There's no severance payment. No sweetener. No notice period, no gardening leave, and most importantly no deferred stock bonuses. You walk away with nothing. And if you're in the U.S. you also forego your health insurance. 

Nonetheless, several staff in Deutsche Bank's Capital Release Unit (CRU), which is winding down the books in businesses DB is exiting, tell us this is what they feel compelled to do. Many are annoyed by Deutsche allegedly reneging on an earlier promise to allow staff concerned to take voluntary redundancy, and by alleged repeated promises of pay rises - which have not been forthcoming.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment for this article. One recently ex-employee in the prime brokerage team, which is moving to BNP Paribas, said he reluctantly walked away from his deferred stock and Deutsche left empty-handed after weeks of vacillation on behalf of the bank. 

"During the initial meeting in early July when they announced the closure of the equities unit, we told at a meeting that we were being moved into the CRU for administrative reasons until the BNP deal was finalized - and that if we spoke to our managers we could take the option of voluntary redundancy. I later decided to do that, and was told it wasn't actually on the table," he says. 

Other insiders say they were offered money and salary increases to stay until the BNP deal is closed. But offers weren't put in writing and were repeatedly retracted.

It's not clear how widespread this experience is, although the employee in question claims other front office staff in the units being transferred to BNP Paribas have been treated similarly. Other members of the broader CRU say they've also been through the same thing. 

"Initially, we were offered the same package to leave as the people being cut," says one. "But we were also told that if we stuck around the bank would do the right thing for us and allow us to leave with severance pay and deferred bonuses if we wanted to.

"That offer's been removed," he says. "If we want to leave now, we have to go without any package and without our stock, which is pretty meaningful given we've also had years of poor pay and the poor stock performance on our deferred portion.

"It's very frustrating," he adds. "We would have been better off saying, 'No, I won't help, cut me now,' at the start. Instead, we're stuck here, shutting down a business as our skills and marketablity deterioriate."

As we reported in early August, some senior traders left the CRU at the outset. Deutsche is reportedly moving up to 800 staff to BNP Paribas, although this includes support staff as well as front office traders. 

Photo: Tristan Bejawn, copyright eFinancialCareers, outside DB in early July

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