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Capital Markets

Interview: Edson Mitchell's game plan

Edson Mitchell's bold attempt to turn Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (DMG) into a world-beating bond house has made headlines in the past year. He has employed about 500 new staff -­ including many from his old firm, Merrill Lynch -­ in little more than 12 months. But until now Mitchell has shied away from talking publicly about his plans. Here, for the first time, he reveals what his aims are -­ and how he's going about achieving them. Mitchell spoke to Garry Evans

Edson Mitchell 2 780px

Why did you leave Merrill Lynch?

The firm was asking me to take responsibility for equities. I was beginning to think a bit about what I really wanted to do over the rest of my career in investment banking.

You must have had a shot at becoming chairman of Merrill. Didn't you give up a lot by leaving?

No. I made the move for reasons I'm very comfortable with. I'd rather not speculate about what could have been. I very much enjoyed my years at Merrill; it's a great firm. But I am happy to have made the move.

What was your perception of Deutsche Bank?

That it had tremendous potential with the combination of Morgan Grenfell's culture and entrepreneurial spirit and Deutsche's global customer reach, reputation and balance sheet. I thought that was a really powerful combination. It represented one of the few remaining institutions that could aspire to be a world-class investment bank.

But wasn't one yet?

Exactly. Deutsche or Morgan Grenfell were not institutions I had run into much as a competitor. Of course, Deutsche Bank was active in global bonds, but I really had not come across them in swaps or structured private placements or any of the other businesses I was responsible for at Merrill Lynch.

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