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Deutsche dumps its investment bankers

A year ago Deutsche Morgan Grenfell was set to challenge the US global investment banks. Then Frankfurt jammed on the brakes. A bank-wide restructuring has left DMG - now just the global corporate and institutions (GCI) department of Deutsche Bank - a pale shadow of its former self. Did the Deutsche Bank board lose its nerve or does it truly believe it can have an investment-banking culture without the investment bankers who inspired it?

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Earlier this year, when Deutsche Bank first outlined its plans to integrate its investment banking unit, DMG, more closely into the bank, Frank Quattrone, high-profile head of DMG technology asked the Deutsche Bank Vorstand members responsible for DMG to sign a letter reaffirming the bank's commitment to the investment-banking business, for Quattrone to show to his clients. They were surprised by the request but complied when Quattrone assured them that it was not so unusual in the investment-banking world.

But it proved to be an empty gesture. This July, Quattrone and his key lieutenants quit, taking their business to CSFB. "Quattrone was the US business," wails one Deutsche investment banker. In fact, his is only the latest high-profile departure from the old DMG. The co-heads of DMG's investment-banking division, Carter McClelland and Maurice Thompson resigned earlier this year to be followed by a string of the firm's better known bankers.

Quattrone's leaving was the natural response of a seasoned investment banker to the bank's reorganization, particularly the departure of McClelland who had originally hired him in 1996 with the idea of making the technology group a first step in building top-quality investment-banking teams in key industry sectors.

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