Deutsche Bank mulls shutting most Asian equity businesses

Deutsche Bank has about 20,000 employees in Asia-Pacific, about a fifth of its combined workforce. (AFP pic)

HONG KONG: Deutsche Bank is planning to shutter the majority of its equities business in the Asia-Pacific region as part of a restructuring to be announced as soon as Sunday, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The Frankfurt-based lender expects to stop offering trading of cash equities, equities research and may no longer underwrite initial public offerings in the region, the person said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

As many as half the Asia equities staff will leave initially and the remainder later this year, the person said, adding that the final decision depends on the bank’s supervisory board meeting on Sunday.

The lender may keep its margin lending business, the person said.

Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board is convening to adopt a far-reaching plan presented by Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing that’s built around dramatically shrinking and perhaps even shuttering equities trading outside Europe, people familiar with the matter have said.

Peter Selman, the head of equities, is among executives said to be leaving the bank. Asia has been one of the bright spots for equity issuance revenue for Deutsche Bank.

Some employees at the bank’s offices in Hong Kong have already started packing their belongings, the person said.

Deutsche Bank relied on Asia-Pacific for 12% of its 25.3 billion euros of revenue last year.

The corporate and investment bank unit, which includes equity trading, accounted for 2.51 billion euros of income from the region, company filings show. Deutsche Bank had about 20,000 employees in Asia-Pacific, about a fifth of its combined workforce.

A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined to comment.

Deutsche Bank’s total revenue from trading stocks and related derivatives slumped 18% to 468 million euros in the first quarter from a year earlier as it experienced “challenging market conditions” and lost income after shrinking the business.