Commerzbank aims for the big league
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Commerzbank aims for the big league

Commerzbank used to be content pushing along as Germany's number-three bank. As local rivals merge and grow, this bank is too proud to downsize. In equities at least, it wants to be a global player. Laura Covill reports.

"Commerzbank is too small to be a global player, and too big to be a German player," says one competitor with lesser ambition. International investors, the banker explains, want to deal either with a global player, which can offer expertise everywhere, or a purely German bank which is perceived to have more detailed knowledge of local equities.

Since Commerzbank's takeover talks with London market-maker Smith New Court foundered in 1995, it has seemed unlikely that it will acquire a foreign house with a strong track record in equities. Therefore growth in this business must come from inside by recruiting experienced individuals, making the task more arduous and probably slower.

Klaus Patig, the board member in charge of equities, searched for months for a candidate to lead this effort. The candidate should be both forceful enough to lure the best to join him at Commerzbank - salaries there are high but potential recruits need some persuading - and willing to risk his career on a bank that may be taken over or merged with a less-ambitious house.

The man he found was Mehmet Dalman, who became Commerzbank's new head of equities in June.

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