Deutsche Bank chairman leads battle for the bulge bracket

Mon May 19, 2014 4:01pm EDT
 
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By Thomas Atkins

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Paul Achleitner, the chairman of Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote), believes Europe needs a global investment bank to support the region's companies that can measure up to rivals in the United States.

For that reason, Deutsche on Monday asked shareholders for 8 billion euros ($10.98 billion) to help the bank keep its place in the shrinking "bulge bracket" of big investment banks that includes JP Morgan JPM.N, Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote), Citi (C.N: Quote) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote).

While other European banks such as UBS UBSN.VX are scaling back in investment banking, Deutsche remains the only European investment bank to have avoided wholesale job cuts and the only one aiming to represent European companies in the capital markets worldwide.

"Our continent is at a turning point where it needs to decide whether it wants to belong to the champion's league of financial markets participants," Achleitner said earlier this year.

Achleitner wants big, and so does corporate Germany, which regards Deutsche Bank as a national institution that can support the world's biggest exporter after China.

When Achleitner was at Goldman Sachs, he advised Deutsche on its 1999 purchase of Bankers Trust, a deal that catapulted it into the big league. But in 2000, as CFO at Allianz (ALVG.DE: Quote), he tried to stitch the insurer into a merged Dresdner and Deutsche Bank, a mega-deal that fell apart soon after it was announced.

"Germany and the euro zone need a big investment bank and you have only one left and that is Deutsche Bank," Joachim Faber, chairman of the supervisory board of Deutsche Boerse, said. "The business community is very aware the Deutsche Bank is very important to Germany."

So when 57-year-old Achleitner stands before the bank's annual shareholder meeting on May 22, he must make the case for the capital hike and the bank's turnaround plan, which also aims to overhaul the bank's culture after a string of scandals.   Continued...

 
Deutsche Bank AG Chairman of the Supervisory Board Paul Achleitner attends the Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in Hong Kong January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu