Deutsche Bank Equities Unit Said to Make Deep Loss in 2018

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG estimates that its equities trading unit lost about $750 million last year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The U.S. equities unit hasn’t turned a profit for many years, the people said. The bank at one point considered closing its entire equities operation, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing the matter.

Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing last year decided to slim down the equities business, especially the part that caters to hedge funds. The decision came after a sweeping review of the investment-banking division that included a hard look at equities, Bloomberg News reported one year ago. The bank at some point considered dismissing about 20 percent of U.S. staff, people familiar said at the time.

Several large Deutsche Bank investors at the time asked for tougher cuts to the U.S. operations and have since been calling for more, according to people briefed on the discussions. Sewing has privately said that he may need to rethink his current turnaround plan if he concludes that it’s insufficient.

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday first reported the unit’s 2018 loss and the discussion about closing it.

Deutsche Bank’s equities unit, headed by Peter Selman, recently saw two further senior departures, people familiar with the matter have said.

The unit generated 379 million euros ($428 million) in revenue last quarter, the lowest quarterly result in at least five years, the bank reported in early February. The overall investment banking division posted a loss of 218 million euros in the period. The bank doesn’t publish the profit and loss of individual units.

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