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Banking

Equities: Berenberg insists its ambitions are intact

Lay-offs part of 'disciplined' strategy targeting growth in UK and US.

Berenberg will still reach its goal of becoming one of the biggest Transatlantic equities houses within five years, despite swingeing job cuts in its equities business, according to David Mortlock, head of investment banking at the German firm.

The Hamburg-based bank – also active in wealth and asset management – has rapidly built one of Europe’s biggest cash equities teams in recent years, turning heads with a strategy to grow outside Germany, especially in the UK and in large-cap stocks.

However, having more than doubled its analyst numbers since the beginning of this decade to around 130, Berenberg took the industry by surprise in early November when it revealed plans to “re-set equities headcount back to the beginning of 2017”.

This equates to a reduction in its equities staff of about 15%, with the largest cut (of 34 people) in research. Hardest hit are lower-rated analysts and thematic coverage.

David-Mortlock-160x186

David Mortlock,
Berenberg

Mortlock admits the cuts attract attention, as it “looked out of character” for Berenberg. But it would be “complete nonsense” to assume this constitutes a reversal of Berenberg’s UK and US strategy.

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