June 11, 2015 / 4:07 AM / 3 years ago

Deutsche Bank's grip on Asia FX market may slip on Jain's exit

HONG KONG, June 11 (Reuters) - The exit of Deutsche Bank co-chief executive Anshu Jain may see the lender surrender its strong position in Asia’s fast growing foreign exchange and fixed income markets, with incoming CEO John Cryan expected to cut some of the capital-intensive businesses Jain oversaw.

Deutsche was the joint No. 1 dealer by market share in Asia’s foreign exchange markets in 2014, excluding Japan, and third for fixed income, according to Greenwich Associates.

But while its trading businesses accounted for 66 percent of Deutsche’s Asia-Pacific revenue of 3.9 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in 2014, they also tie-up an increasing amount of capital due to tougher regulatory requirements and relatively illiquid markets.

“This might reduce the market participation of Deutsche Bank in fixed income and FX trading and create more room for other banks to grow in Asia,” said Anshuman Jaiswal, senior analyst at consultancy Celent.

Any scaling back would present an opportunity for other large global banks such as JPMorgan, Citigroup and Europe’s largest lender HSBC, which said on Tuesday that it was focusing on Asia for future growth.

“This might signal the end of the dominance of the bank in the Asian FX and fixed income space,” said the head of trading at another European bank in Hong Kong, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“While not immediately, they will certainly yield market share in the coming months”.

Deutsche told Reuters in a statement that it remains committed to “defending its long dominant market position in Asia Pacific FX and fixed income markets, with a franchise that is currently performing at record levels”.

JAIN’S DESIGN

Jain was the architect of Deutsche’s investment banking business and placed one of his former trading heads, Alan Cloete, in Hong Kong as co-CEO for Asia Pacific in 2012.

While business across other regions has shrunk over the last three years, Asia registered growth of slightly over 4 percent, according to filings.

Still, the region punches below its weight, accounting for 12.2 percent of global revenue in 2014, despite housing about a fifth of its workforce.

On May 20, Deutsche said Cloete would leave the bank in the “near future”, less than a month before Jain announced his resignation.

Analysts say it is inevitable that Cryan will cut back in areas that are a big drain on capital like trading.

On a price-to-book valuation— a commonly used metric to value banks — Deutsche is at the bottom of the heap of European banks with a ratio of 0.5 times compared to Credit Suisse at 0.8 times, and UBS at 1.4.

Scaling back from Asia’s foreign exchange and fixed income markets would bring quick savings, but also carry the risk of relinquishing a strong position in a promising growth region.

The overall size of Asia’s debt market is more than $34 trillion, according to the Asian Development Bank, while China’s yuan is now among the world’s top ten traded currencies. (Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee and Denny Thomas; Editing by Rachel Armstong)

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