Deutsche Bank wants to crack the U.S. market in 2017. John Cryan personally is overseeing the bank's U.S. operations and Deutsche has been doing some big hiring. However, the recruitment drive is proving problematic - there are suspicions within Deutsche that the new arrivals are been offered generous guaranteed bonuses as inducements to join.
Deutsche's most recent senior Wall Street hire is Matthew Moore, a former Goldman Sachs managing director in compliance. Moore joins in a similar role at Deutsche, which plans to make 1,000 compliance hires globally this year after being stung by the threat of a huge U.S. fine in 2016.
Moore is just the tip of Deutsche's North American hiring iceberg, however. In the past few months, the German bank has also brought in Bill Moyer from Wells Fargo for its CMBS business, David Silber from Citi as head of U.S. equity derivatives trading, Lori Arndt from Citadel as head of U.S. global markets client strategy, Christopher McCarthy from BNP Paribas as a director in global credit trading, and a host of senior investment bankers.
Deutsche needs to hire. Although the bank insisted that staff turnover in the first quarter was within its normal range, there have been some big exits following the decision to withhold performance bonuses for everyone above associate-level. These exits include the three FIG bankers who went to RBC Capital markets in January and James Gray, head of Deutsche's European ABS syndicate, who left in March. Additional recruits are also likely as Deutsche pursues its declared strategy of "deepening" relationships in M&A and ECM.
Recruiting isn't easy for Deutsche Bank though. Following last year's performance bonus ban there are understandable concerns that something similar will happen this year (even though CEO John Cryan has promised that it won't.) New hires are therefore likely to need encouragement. Specifically, they're likely to need large guaranteed bonuses.
"Deutsche have gone through a very bleak period. They need to stabilize their business and show some leadership with some strategic hires," says one senior fixed income headhunter who covers the Wall Street market, speaking on condition of anonymity. "But you're not going to get a big name from Citi for nothing. - The big sell for Deutsche is that it's a turnaround trade and that if you join you'll have the opportunity to do something different there, but people from rival firms are still going to want the reassurance of a big number to come through the door."
Deutsche declined to comment on its hiring policies or the availability of guarantees. Existing Deutsche staff, burned by last year's miserable numbers are said to be miffed at the arrival of senior bankers from elsewhere whom they suspect of earning more than them. These fears may not be unfounded. In 2016 Deutsche paid 25 people guarantees which were worth an average of €1.9m ($2.1m) each in the corporate and investment bank and €1.3m each in global markets. This year, guarantees are likely to be doubly necessary for new hires.
If you're a Deutsche managing director who was zeroed at bonus time and you're clinging to a retention bonus that won't pay until 2021 and that's currently on track to be worth nothing at all, you're going to be understandably put out....