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Deutsche Bank: back to DCM basics

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While it is quite astonishing to see Deutsche Bank back near the top of the SSA league table, it is in fact the result of a quite deliberate move by the bank to go back to what it is good at.

Deutsche is sitting in second place in Dealogic’s SSA bookrunner league table year-to-date, having spent several uncomfortable years near the bottom end of the top 10. But historically, the bank has always been a leading SSA house. In fact from 2010 to 2014, it ended each year in first place.

There’s not been any magic trick to help its resurgence. Rather, the bank is simply going back to its roots.

In May 2019, Deutsche’s CEO Christian Sewing laid out the strategy for its corporate and investment bank, saying the focus would be on its strengths such as origination and advisory.

Sewing defined an area of strength as one that benefited its other businesses “significantly” and was profitable when revenue synergies with other areas were excluded.

As part of this renewed focus, the bank has made big investments in its DCM business — from origination to syndication, trading and sales. A number of big hires have been made in recent years including Mark Lewellen, who heads up Deutsche’s EMEA DCM origination business, and Alok Modi to lead its trading unit. These investments are now bearing fruit.

Of course, other aspects have helped too. Deutsche has come out the other side of regulatory issues, while other institutions, such as Credit Suisse, now appear to be in the firing line after a series of embarrassing mishaps. DB's latest quarterly results showed promising signs and it recently received its first ‘performance driven’ credit rating upgrade since the financial crisis.

Deutsche is back at the top but the real test will be staying there — and staying out of trouble.

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