Deutsche Bank’s chief executive has criticised two managers who ordered upmarket tailors to their London office on Monday as the lender was announcing 18,000 job losses worldwide.
“I can’t understand that someone would call tailors to fit suits on Monday. On the same day, we had to tell many colleagues in share trading that they had to leave,” Christian Sewing told the German business daily Handelsblatt.
“I expect the two colleagues won’t forget my call,” he added, saying the London managers’ behaviour “in no way corresponds with our values”.
It embarks on a period of global expansion, beginning with the acquisition of merchant bank Morgan Grenfell in the UK and other European markets such as Spain, where it buys Banco de Madrid. It consolidates its US operations into one, in an effort to take on the big beasts of Wall Street such as Goldman Sachs, and in 1999 it builds on its US foothold by snapping up New York-based Bankers Trust for $10bn.
Deutsche Bank floats on the New York Stock Exchange, cementing its position as one of the major players, not just on Wall Street but in global banking.
Deutsche Bank becomes a leader in mortgage-backed securities, bundling up homeowners’ debt into huge packages and selling them on to investors. The bank continues to sell toxic mortgage-based investments even as the market turns south and it begins betting against such products itself. The bank reports its first annual loss for five decades for the 2008 financial year, losing €3.9bn.
An internal investigation finds that the bank hired private detectives to spy on people it considered a threat – including a shareholder, a journalist and a member of the public. German prosecutors find no evidence of criminal wrongdoing or that senior executives were involved.
It is fined $2.5bn (£1.7bn) by US and UK regulators for rigging the Libor interest rate, ordered to fire seven employees and accused of being obstructive towards regulators. Joint chief executives Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen resign in the wake of the Libor scandal. The bank is fined a further $258m in the US for doing business with US-sanctioned countries like Iran and Syria.
As regulators continue to sift through the wreckage of the banking crash, Deutsche takes a large slice of the blame. In September 2016, its shares slump on news that the institution faces a $14bn (£10.5bn) charge over mis-selling mortgage securities in the US. It eventually reaches a $7.2bn settlement with the US Department of Justice.
UK and US regulators fine Deutsche more than $630m (£506m) after finding that the lender failed to prevent $10bn of Russian money laundering via 'mirror trades', which had no economic purpose and served only to transfer money covertly.
New York financial regulators hand down a fresh fine, just $205m this time, for 'lax oversight' in the bank’s foreign exchange business when it was the world’s largest dealer in foreign currency.
Christian Sewing takes over as chief executive and after three consecutive years of heavy losses, he slashes 7,000 jobs from Deutsche’s bloated investment banking arm.
Deutsche enters merger talks with another troubled German lender, Commerzbank. The talks fall apart in April 2019, scuppering plans for a bank that would have been the eurozone’s second largest. Sewing announces 18,000 jobs cuts, 20% of its workforce, with the axe falling worldwide.
After two men carrying suit bags were spotted leaving the Deutsche Bank premises earlier this week, it emerged that they were from Fielding & Nicholson, an upmarket tailor. Ian Fielding-Calcutt, the tailor’s founder, and Alex Riley were there to fit suits for senior managers – just as the bank announced plans to cut a fifth of its global workforce. Deutsche Bank employs 7,000 people in London; some analysts believe up to 3,000 jobs could go from its City operations.
“Our timing was not great,” Fielding-Calcutt told Financial News this week. “I think a lot of the people getting laid off were traders of some sort, who don’t wear suits, and so we just went ahead as normal with our clients, who obviously weren’t affected by the cuts.”
Fielding & Nicholson suits take up to eight weeks to make and prices start at £1,200.
Financial News also reported on Friday that Deutsche was scaling back redundancy packages for hundreds of its City staff as it tried to rein in costs during the shrinking of its investment business.
The lender is reportedly offering staff the legally required minimum of one week’s salary for every year worked until the age of 41, while older workers are offered one and a half weeks’ worth. However, Deutsche is said to have previously paid out a month’s salary for every year of service.
Staff being let go in the first wave of cuts are also reportedly being paid a lump sum covering salary equal to the three-month notice period they would have otherwise worked. That is on top of a one-off payment of less than 10% of salary.
Deutsche Bank told the Guardian that it pays above the legally required minimum for redundancy pay, but refused to comment further on the packages being offered to staff.
As well as carrying out 18,000 job cuts by 2022, Deutsche is retreating from most share-trading activity as it slashes an investment banking business that expanded at breakneck pace in the years before the financial crisis.
Under Sewing and the previous chief executive, Deutsche Bank has struggled to rectify an image that has been tarnished by a slew of costly scandals, over a range of issues including mis-selling mortgage-backed debt and failing to prevent Russian money laundering, which have resulted in multi-billion-dollar fines and settlements.
In the latest blow to the bank’s reputation, US officials announced this week that they are investigating whether Deutsche Bank violated foreign corruption or anti-money-laundering laws while working for the scandal-hit Malaysian state development fund, 1MDB.
It is unclear whether remaining Deutsche staff will still be in line for bonuses this year. In a call with journalists on Monday, Sewing said: “We are aware that this is a sensitive topic, but … Deutsche Bank will remain an international bank, and that will mean that if the performance is there, we will pay in a competitive way.”