Yanks in, Brits out
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Yanks in, Brits out

It was billed as Germans versus Brits: dull types from Deutsche clashing with wild City traders. But the DMG battle turned out differently. A hands-off approach has left transatlantic stars to build up the business. They get along fine, it's just that the Americans are winning. Steven Irvine reports.

In a recent British film about the Oxford and Cambridge boat race, a demoralized and technically poor Oxford crew brings a high-profile American oarsman into its boat. The American doesn't like what he sees, and brings over three of his friends. With four Americans of international calibre in the boat an ultimatum is laid down for the Brits. They are told to train and row in the American style. Otherwise, say the Americans, there is no way they can win.

True Blue is the true story of the 1987 boat race. But the film bears striking parallels with events at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (DMG) in 1997.

Deutsche Bank's Vorstand, its management board, has a simple goal ­ to fashion a world-class investment bank. Call it conventional wisdom or call it plain fact, all the models of world class investment banks are American: foremost, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. No surprise, then, that Americans have been put to the oars even though DMG was created out of Deutsche Bank's investment banking interests and those of its 175-year-old British subsidiary Morgan Grenfell.

The increasing influence of DMG'S American crew was reinforced recently with a management restructuring that doubled the US contingent on the DMG board, giving it equal strength with that of the British.

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