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Macaskill on markets: Deutsche’s Autobahn escape ramp

Questions about Deutsche Bank's restructuring multiply with each tactical shift, increasing the premium placed on any areas of real success – such as its Autobahn platform.

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Deutsche Bank’s Autobahn electronic service offers trade execution and analytics across asset classes, but it is best known for its role in the FX markets. Deutsche was an early mover in taking its flow FX business electronic and upgrades to Autobahn’s functionality were a key element in its successful recent bid to regain lost FX market share.

Deutsche jumped to second place in this year’s Euromoney FX survey, from the number eight slot in 2018, and was ranked first in western Europe, up from fifth last year.

The bank was understandably keen to stress this progress when it announced its second-quarter results on July 24, along with its number one position as high-yield debt underwriter in EMEA for the year to date and a role in 16 out of 25 top regional investment banking deals by fee value.

These bright spots came against a backdrop for Deutsche that remains deeply gloomy. Deutsche took €3.4 billion of charges related to its planned restructuring in its second-quarter earnings, which pushed it to a net loss of €3.1 billion.

Chief executive Christian Sewing is being given credit by investors and analysts for finally tackling Deutsche’s structural problems, but executing a withdrawal from equities trading and some rates markets without suffering a catastrophic slump in revenues will be challenging, to put it mildly.