Germany's Commerzbank to close London-based M&A team

FRANKFURT, June 13 Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:30am EDT

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FRANKFURT, June 13 (Reuters) - Commerzbank will shut down its London-based team of 10 mergers and acquisitions bankers and shift some members to Hong Kong and New York as it refocuses its advisory business on more active regions, a source close to the bank said.

The group comprises a small part of the investment bank, which has about 1,800 client-facing staff, of which about 600 are in London. All of the team members have been offered jobs, with some returning to Frankfurt, the source said.

Commerzbank declined to comment.

"The name of the game now is to work efficiently and still be big enough to be meaningful to clients," the source said, describing the shift as "fine tuning" and not indicative of any significant change to the division.

Commerzbank's M&A team primarily advises German companies active domestically and international companies seeking to enter Germany. Most of its M&A bankers are based in Germany.

There has been little interest from British companies to take over German firms, the source said, prompting the bank to shift the advisors to the United States and Hong Kong, where interest is much greater.

Investment banks worldwide have suffered from a sharp falloff in bond and currency trading since 2013, forcing some like Britain's Barclays to lay off thousands of bankers and closed whole divisions.

Commerzbank, with a strong focus on German small and medium-sized companies, has maintained its investment banking headcount for the past several years as it restructures and sells off unwanted assets. (Reporting by Thomas Atkins; editing by Noah Barkin and Pravin Char)

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