Deutsche Bank Wealth Management – a dark horse?

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Once a global wealth management (WM) powerhouse, DBWM no longer sits in the top 10 when it comes to AuM or stature.

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At the end of 2018, DBWM had $243 billion under management – about one-10th the amount at UBS.

Indeed, it might be tempting to write the business off as a basketcase, given the constant turmoil at Deutsche Bank more broadly – including the 18,000 jobs being culled within the latest restructuring plan.

However, there are several clues that point to the WM arm as being one to watch.

Last year, Claudio de Sanctis, who had run Credit Suisse’s European WM business, left to take the same title at Deutsche, expanding his role to include running the Swiss bank only months later.

De Sanctis had helped turn Credit Suisse into an ‘entrepreneurs’ bank in the region, joining up private banking, investment banking and trading. He’s a smart and aggressive banker, and would not have left to join a sinking ship.

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Jürg Zeltner

And then in August, another Swiss wealth management former senior executive also agreed to assume a connection with Deutsche Bank. 

Jürg Zeltner, former president of UBS Wealth Management, was nominated to Deutsche’s supervisory board, alongside his new role as group CEO of KBL European Private Bankers.

Zeltner, like De Sanctis, has always been forward-thinking and hungry for a challenge. Given that he only joined KBL this year, Zeltner would surely only take on an additional role on Deutsche’s board if he saw potential there.

Growth mode

And potential is what it has. Unlike its large Swiss competitors, DBWM is not bloated, and, more importantly, it is now in growth mode.

Fabrizio Campelli, global head of the unit, plans to increase the number of relationship and investment managers by 300 across the US, Europe and emerging markets – amounting to about a third of its current adviser headcount.

He may even be able to do so without paying a premium, given the headcount loss and uncertainty at the top Swiss banks.

Already the WM division has made some notable hires – the most recent being Jeffrey Yen Chieh Peng from Bank of Singapore. Peng was responsible for setting up BoS Securities in onshore China and building the bank’s independent asset manager business for Greater China and north Asia.

The future for much of Deutsche Bank may look bleak, but its WM business might be set for a new beginning.