If anyone at Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank is cheered by the end of the DB/Commerz merger talks, it should surely the senior traders at Commerzbank who risked being ousted by DB rivals in the combined entity.
Accordingly, senior Commerz traders tell us they're more than thrilled by the failed merger. "It would have been a massacre," says one senior Commerz trader in Frankfurt. "Without Deutsche, everything will be much better. We're looking much more positively at things to come."
Other Commerz insiders say that their bank has already made more progress with digitalization and cost cutting than Deutsche and that even if the future isn't entirely certain, their jobs at least seem comparatively safe, particularly after CEO Martin Zielke reduced his target for headcount reductions in February in an attempt to put growth before cost-cutting.
While there are other potential Commerz suitors waiting on the sidelines (eg. Unicredit), none appear as threatening as DB. "We know there are stories about other parties being interested in us, but we're just getting on with things," says the Commerz trader.
Deutsche's bankers are also quietly jubilant. "Relieved is the wrong term, but the feedback on the blown-up merger here in the New York office is very positive," a young investment banker at Deutsche Bank told our German editor.
Both Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing and Deutsche Bank chairman Paul Achleitner now insist that DB is simply executing the strategy outlined by Sewing last year. In the meantime, anyone wanting an insight into what's really going on at DB might want to take a job currently advertised on the bank's website. - Deutsche is looking for a driver to shuttle its two most senior executives around. Rarely will eavesdropping be so interesting.
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