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Deutsche Bank’s 2019 Asian hiring is not where you might expect

Deutsche Bank is likely to add headcount in both asset management and wealth management in Asia this year, its 2018 results suggest. Regional recruitment in the firm’s corporate and investment bank (CIB), however, is expected to be more subdued.

DWS, Deutsche’s asset management arm, has been singled out for “growth” in the region, according to Deutsche’s new earnings report. “Building on our leadership position in Europe, we intend to make targeted investments in our coverage mostly in the Americas and in Asia,” added Deutsche CEO Christian Sewing in a call with analysts, referring specifically to DWS rather than CIB.

DWS, which assumed its current name in December 2017 and manages $664bn in assets globally, is currently advertising for six roles in Greater China and Singapore, including a Singapore-based passive sales specialist. Sewing’s remarks suggest more front-office roles are likely to open up in the first three months after Chinese New Year, traditionally the busiest time for recruitment in Asian financial services.

If you join DWS in Hong Kong or Singapore, however, expect to be under extra pressure to perform as Deutsche attempts to reverse a disappointing 2018 for the unit. Profit before tax at DWS decline 50% year on year in 2018, while assets under management dipped 5%.

Meanwhile, “wealth management revenues in Asia Pacific showed continued good momentum”, Deutsche’s earnings report states, without providing specific regional figures. This is likely to lead to more hiring of relationship managers in 2019, say headhunters.

Deutsche’s private bank in Asia has enjoyed a surprising renaissance over the past two years. After the loss of former Asian wealth chief Ravi Raju (and other bankers) to UBS in late 2016, Lok Yim, head of emerging markets, has been on a hiring spree, adding 50 RMs in 2017 alone.

Expanding in Asian private banking is now a priority for Deutsche, as it is for UBS and Credit Suisse. “The balance sheet has been scaled back for corporate finance but has been redeployed elsewhere – for wealth management, for example. So there is no issue deploying balance sheet to wealth management,” Yim told Finews Asia in October.

But like their colleagues at DWS, relationship managers at Deutsche are under intense pressure to perform. Yim wants to grow Asian AUM to about $88bn in the “short term”, up from $58.8bn at the end of 2017. In line with this, Deutsche’s recruitment tends to target senior ‘producer’ relationship managers who can grow their books by nine figures annually, headhunters told us previously.

Deutsche’s report makes no specific mention of business or headcount growth in its corporate and investment bank in Asia. Globally, there will be “targeted hiring in fixed income and debt origination”, but this won’t necessarily translate into recruitment in Hong Kong and Singapore – Deutsche’s DCM franchise ranked outside the top-10 firms for Asia (ex-Japan) revenue by bank in 2018, according to Dealogic.

The German firm is more likely to sporadically hire juniors in M&A and ECM in Asia, says a Hong Kong-based headhunter. Last year Deutsche finished 7th for M&A in the region (up three places from 2017) and 9th for ECM (up nine spots).

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Image credit: MaxBaumann, Getty

AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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