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Patience of Sarrazin

More evidence of Dresdner Bank's extraordinary preference for the long view comes in an interview given to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung by the bank's chief executive, Jürgen Sarrazin.

Sarrazin takes the opportunity to recall the bank's cooperation with Banque Nationale de Paris, a partnership so low-key that it's in danger of turning into the Loch Ness monster of European finance. The only visible sign of activity has been the appointment of liaison officers in each commercial bank, but no projects have been announced.

Many people at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson say they have heard of the partnership but seen no real evidence of it.

Evidently conscious that the absence of activity has been noticed, Sarrazin expresses the ambition to make the cooperation into "something other than it already is," and even ventures onto speculative ground by refusing to rule out a merger sometime in the next century.

But public opinion is not on Sarrazin's side. "Long-term thinking doesn't interest people these days," he laments. "Everyone wants to see immediate results." That includes quite a few senior figures at Dresdner, not least newly-arrived board member Gerd Häusler, recruited from the Bundesbank to energize the fixed income business, who admits he's not known for his patience.

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