“Deutsche Bank had the best and the nicest people”

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I’m one of the managing directors who left Deutsche Bank this July. Two months later, and I am spoiled for choice. Aged 45, I have four different job offers across the buy-side and the sell-side. Many of my former colleagues are in similar positions. This is because we come from Deutsche, and Deutsche had some of the best people on the Street.

I worked there nearly 20 years, and I loved it. 60 Wall Street was my family and I would have done anything for them. In the past five years a lot of us there could have left and gone anywhere, but we didn’t want to. The harder things got, the more we felt compelled to stay. We didn’t want to let our friends down; we wanted to fight together.

This is why when Deutsche finally closed its equities business in July, so many of us found new jobs quickly. In a shrinking industry with banks are preparing for the coming recession, my friends and I have been landing everywhere. Banks that have been trying to poach us for years are finally able to sign us up. The new strategy across the industry is to cut 5-10% of your workforce and to hire 3-4% of people back; in many cases ex-DB people are the hires of choice.

There’s a reason for this. Deutsche Bank in the Americas doesn’t have the brand of a Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan or Bank of America. To make money at DB, you had to be really entrepreneurial and work for it – we weren’t just cruising on an established name.

I notice this difference between Deutsche and other banks now that I’m interviewing elsewhere. Some of the big banks are incredibly flabby compared to Deutsche. They have so many resources that they’ve never really thought about how to do more with less. There’s far less camaraderie and their people work in silos.

This isn’t to say that things were perfect at DB. Costs were always a problem. Strategy was an issue, but this was a problem from the top not at 60 Wall specifically. We had new managers almost every six months.

Personally, though I miss 60 Wall Street. And I’m struggling to see how I could work for the large banks that want to hire me. When I work, I work 24/7; I am totally committed. I probably still have 10 good years of work left in me, and rather than joining a flabby bank that already considers itself at the top of its game, I’m drawn to somewhere more entrepreneurial. Somewhere more like Deutsche. I know a lot of my former colleagues from the bank feel the same.

Ralph Welecki is a pseudonym

Photo Credit: Getty/wellesenterprises

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