Deutsche Bank has been playing catch-up for almost 10 years as it has striven to transform itself from a traditional deposit-taking and lending commercial bank into the kind of financial counterparty its corporate and institutional clients wanted: one adept at capital markets and investment banking, as much as at lending and transaction services.
It is now near to succeeding in radical self-transformation that, until recently, had seemed beyond it or any other European bank.
The bank has emerged as the most powerful sales, trading and new issue firm in European bond markets after a careful build-up of a large institutional distribution network to complement its strong banking ties to corporate issuers. It has emerged at the head of the foreign exchange rankings, according to Euromoney's widely followed May 2000 survey, becoming the first bank ever to surpass Citibank in the poll's 20-year history. This triumph comes at a time when new forces are driving the forex market: corporates hedging exposures arising from large cross-border mergers and institutional investor capital flows. Deutsche is among the world's top four asset managers and private bankers. Only mass market retail banking in Germany is a weakness - because of the huge number of quasi-public sector banks, which depress margins.