FRANKFURT, May 23 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank’s bosses are likely to get a grilling from shareholders on Thursday about a string of lawsuits and regulatory probes involving Germany’s biggest bank.
Co-chief Executives Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen will address the bank’s annual shareholder meeting at Frankfurt’s fair and exhibition centre nearly a year after they took on the top jobs.
They are trying to steer the group through a major restructuring programme and have taken great pains to emphasise a shift toward greater moderation in the bank’s approach to risk-taking. Jain has even agreed to a voluntary pay cut.
Fitschen and Jain are also trying to reshape the bank for an industry with lower profit margins and higher regulatory costs.
They have taken steps to boost the bank’s capital to quash doubts about its ability to weather financial shocks. Deutsche earlier this month completed a 2.96 billion euros ($3.9 billion) share issue.
The bank’s legal and regulatory issues include a probes into a tax evasion scheme involving trading carbon permits and allegations of mis-selling complex financial products. Deutsche is one of a dozen banks being probed for allegedly rigging benchmark interest rates.
Legal problems forced the bank to increase litigation provisions for regulatory and legal disputes earlier this year to 2.4 billion euros ($3.1 billion). The bank had already announced $4 billion in charges for impairments, and legal risks.
Protesters gathered outside the building in Frankfurt jeered shareholders arriving for the meeting. Some were calling for an end to speculation in commodities, a softer approach to capitalism and for more empathy for the poor.
Nadia Lucas, an activist with protest group Blockupy Frankfurt was protesting against Deutsche Bank’s support for companies that make components for the arms industry.
“We’re here to try and put an end to financing the arms industry,” she said. Another protestor had smeared fake blood on his face and chest.
Thursday’s meeting is the bank’s second shareholder gathering this year. In April, Deutsche was forced to hold a special shareholder vote after protesters had legally contested its 2012 annual general meeting. The bank had to put up a waist-high fence to protect management from angry shareholders, who demanded an improvement in the group’s corporate governance.