April 24, 2018 / 4:46 AM / a year ago

Deutsche Bank may reveal investment bank revamp on Thursday: source

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) may spell out strategy changes for its investment bank on Thursday along with first-quarter earnings, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

The head quarters of Germany's largest business bank, Deutsche Bank, is photographed in Frankfurt, Germany, December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Deutsche has been conducting a global review of its investment bank to determine the way forward as revenues shrink. Initial results of the review, known internally as Project Colombo, are expected soon.

“We’ve always said that we want to be a more corporate-led bank,” said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of any possible announcement.

Deutsche is considering cuts to equities trading, known as cash equities, and prime brokerage, which serves hedge funds, newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday. Cuts to U.S. municipal bonds trading and parts of its Asia business are also being considered.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

Earlier this month, the bank got a new chief executive, Christian Sewing, who faces the same strategic problem that has long preoccupied its top management - whether or not to override the rainmakers and big earners at the investment bank to shrink that business.

The appointment of Sewing - who has a background in retail banking, auditing and risk - along with the recent resignation of one of Deutsche’s top investment bankers, Marcus Schenck, suggests a shift away from the investment bank, analysts and investors have said.

The company’s finance chief last month warned that a strong euro and higher funding costs would have a 450 million euro impact on the bank in the first quarter of the year.

Analysts expect the bank to report first-quarter net income of 327 million euros, according to a consensus of analysts’ expectations on Deutsche’s investor relations website. That would be down from net income of 575 million euros in the first quarter of 2017.

Shareholders have become increasingly critical of the bank’s performance after it has made annual losses for the past three years.

One private investor, Jens Kuhn, has filed a motion to the bank’s annual shareholder meeting on May 24 urging investors to vote against ratifying the actions of the management and supervisory board for the past year. Such a move is equivalent to calling a vote of no confidence.

“The bank really is utterly incompetent,” Kuhn wrote in his proposal posted this week.

Deutsche Bank, founded during the Industrial Revolution to finance Germany companies, has expanded over the years into investment banking to compete with Wall Street. Investment banking has higher returns than retail and commercial banking, but is also higher risk and, after the financial crisis, landed Deutsche in hot water.

Some analysts and investors have said that Deutsche Bank should return to its roots and curtail its investment bank operations.

Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Kathrin Jones and Jane Merriman

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