The kind of radical move made by Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing has been on the table for years in Frankfurt.
But when it came to making a decision, the bank’s stewards preferred more incremental steps — until now. With a retreat that will see the lender exit its equities business and cut its 91,000-person work force by a fifth, Sewing is ending a trading foray that lasted for three decades and ultimately only led to losses.
The plan “is a necessary and courageous step for Deutsche Bank,” said Michael Huenseler, a fund manager at Assenagon, which owns the bank’s stock. To be successful, “Sewing will need implementation discipline among the leadership, support from employees despite radical cuts, tailwind from the financial markets and clients and more than just a little bit of luck. None of this is certain.”
Deutsche Bank shares dropped 1.7% at 11:03 a.m. in Frankfurt, reversing early gains. Analysts said that while the restructuring was broader than expected, the newly announced targets will be tough to achieve. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Jernej Omahen said that the aim of returning 8% on tangible equity by 2022 is ambitious for Deutsche Bank but low against its peers.
Credit investors were buoyed by the move to exit the money-losing equities trading. The cost of credit protection on the bank’s riskiest debt fell 13 basis points to its lowest level since March, according to ICE Data Services. Deutsche Bank’s riskiest bonds, that stand first in line for losses if the lender runs into trouble, rose 0.5 cents on the euro, and are now also trading at their highest level since in April, Bloomberg prices show.