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Global Custody 2000: Who rules in Europe?

Deutsche Bank has the biggest market share in Europe, and nearly took Dresdner Bank’s slice too. But the frontier of the custody market is a moving target, and so is the associated risk.

Global custodians got excited when Deutsche and Dresdner Bank in Germany announced a merger on March 7. Why? Because the deal included selling two Deutsche units - asset manager DWS and life-insurer Deutsche Herold - to Allianz insurance.

The lion's share of those two units' custody business could no longer be assumed to go to Deutsche Bank. "Suddenly, bidding for that business went to the top of the priority list," recalls one global custodian.

Jürgen Marziniak, recently hired to return to Deutsche as head of global securities services was also salivating: "The merger would have put us surely in a better position," he says. "We would have jumped ahead as far as Europe is concerned."

But it wasn't to be. Within a month the merger was called off and that moment of excitement, even in the rather mechanical world of global custody, was over.

Marziniak doubts whether Deutsche would have lost the relationship with DWS. Deutsche's strength in this business has traditionally been with its domestic sphere of influence: DWS, Herold, Daimler/Chrysler, and as the biggest Depotbank (depositary) for retail bond and shareholdings.

But that is history. Now Deutsche is up against the big boys, having more-or-less digested the global transaction business of Bankers Trust.

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