It's been a full working week since Bloomberg first reported news of Deutsche Bank's imminent 250-500 investment banking redundancies and insiders are starting to feel a bit twitchy. They still don't know who among them will be laid off.
While some big names like Marc Benton and Evans Haji-Touma are definitely on the list, Deutsche M&A bankers say they're still not clear who else is going. All the while, Deutsche's bonus announcement date towards the end of the first week of March is drawing ever closer.
"The tone is terrible here," says one DB investment banker. "People are asking why management is taking its sweet time with these layoffs. As bonus day gets closer, it seems increasingly unfair to let people go." Another Deutsche insider compares the atmosphere to "mordor."
While IBD bankers in London wait to learn their fates, markets bankers at Deutsche on Wall Street are allegedly faced with a different predicament: their salaries are too high. As Deutsche sought to increase its presence in the U.S. in recent years, headhunters say it hiked salaries well above the level of rivals. Now that it needs to cut costs, it's lumbered with a heavy layer of fixed expenses.
Insiders say Deutsche's layoffs cover the whole of the investment bank, including the investment banking (IBD), and fixed income and equities sales and trading, but that they are skewed towards IBD. One area, however, is thought to be immune: the large strats team set up by ex-Goldman co-head of strats Sam Wisnia. The suspicion that Wisnia's strats will remain intact is also said to be causing resentment.
Clarity should, at least, come soon. It will certainly come before bonuses are announced - but maybe not too soon before. "There's one senior manager who likes to layoff on bonus announcement day," complains a DB M&A banker. "Sad."
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