Deutsche bosses seek to win over skeptical shareholders

Thu May 23, 2013 7:28am EDT
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By Edward Taylor

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank's (DBKGn.DE: Quote) bosses tried to convince skeptical shareholders at a lively annual meeting on Thursday that the bank was on the right track again after facing a host of legal problems.

Co-chief Executives Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen, who took charge nearly a year ago, are trying to steer Germany's largest bank through a major restructuring and resolve its many legal issues.

They are also trying to reshape the bank in the wake of the financial crisis for an industry with lower profit margins and higher regulatory costs.

Fitschen told shareholders that the strategy overhaul was paying off. "We are on the right track."

Jain attempted to strike a personal chord with the crowd by delivering his speech in German. Shareholders applauded as Indian-born Jain apologized for his shaky command of the language and he made a pledge to improve it over the next year.

He was interrupted by a group of around 10 protesters who shed black suits to reveal red t-shirts emblazoned with the words "The Superfluous", an activist group campaigning for an end to extortion, war, discrimination and racism. Security guards bundled them off so Jain could continue his speech.

Thursday's meeting is the bank's second shareholder gathering this year. In April, Deutsche had to hold a special shareholder vote after protesters had legally contested its 2012 annual general meeting. The bank had to put up a waist-high fence to protect management from angry shareholders, who demanded an improvement in the group's corporate governance.

The bank's legal and regulatory issues include a probes into a tax evasion scheme involving trading carbon permits and allegations of mis-selling complex financial products. Deutsche is one of a dozen banks being probed for allegedly rigging benchmark interest rates.   Continued...

Pedestrians are reflected in a window as they walk in front of the headquarters of Deutsche Bank AG in Frankfurt September 5, 2011. REUTERS/Alex Domanski