Deutsche Bank has hired Myung Han Kim, managing director, branch manager and co-ceo of JPMorgan in Seoul to revamp the firm's Korean business, according to officials familiar with the situation. Kim, who will start before the end of the month, is believed to be heading the global markets business in Korea for Deutsche Bank. Jason Collins, spokesman at Deutsche Bank in Singapore, declined comment. Kim, who was on gardening leave, could not be reached.
Market rivals were surprised by the move, given Kim's long run at JPMorgan, where he helped mold the firm into a leading fixed income derivatives house in Korea and establish one of the most successful prop desks onshore. He ran both sales and trading. "He built up a successful trading book for won-related interest rate and fx derivatives," said one senior marketer at a bulge bracket house, adding, "For a long time now it's been a top derivatives house in Korea, alongside Citigroup and Deutsche Bank."
The hire is seen as a bid to retool Deutsche Bank's Korean franchise, which has been plagued by scandals and departures since last year (DW, 9/10). One senior banker at the firm has been indicted in relation to a bribery probe in which the banker allegedly helped arrange derivative contracts outside of an end user's regulatory boundaries. "It looks like they're trying to refresh the operation," said a senior fixed income official at a rival firm. Deutsche Bank is also currently under investigation for risk disclosures on derivative positions to government-linked entities, along with other houses (DW, 7/11). The bank has been singled out in media reports on the investigation as the firm likely to receive the most severe sanctioning. Market officials said Kim may be able to get the derivatives business back on track, but in the near term the firm's reputation may take a hit from the ongoing scandal.
Prakash Krishnan, spokesman at JPMorgan in Hong Kong, declined comment.