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Deutsche Bank employees in Singapore face looming threat of retrenchment as German firm carries massive overhaul globally

Deutsche Bank’s employees in Singapore are currently on edge as the German multinational investment bank and financial services company embarks on its sweeping restructuring plan, which will impact around 18,000 jobs globally in its first round of retrenchments.

CNA reported on Mon (8 Jul) that staff members in Deutsche Bank’s Singapore unit who have not been affected by the layoffs are pessimistic about their future at the bank.

A banker in Singapore told CNA: “The news is obviously depressing but at least there’s some clarity on the businesses we are still going to focus on. My access card is working fine. So I am safe for now. What happens tomorrow, who knows but for now, I hope this is it.”

Singapore is Deutsche Bank’s Asia-Pacific hub for fixed income and currencies businesses.

A Deutsche Bank Singapore employee, whose team had not been affected by the layoffs, told Financial Times: “The mood is always depressed in Deutsche. People know the bank is not doing well … It’s not like a party.”

A spokesperson for the bank’s Singapore unit told The Straits Times: “We understand these changes affect people’s lives profoundly and we will do whatever we can to be as responsible and sensitive as possible implementing these changes.”

In neighbouring Malaysia, however, New Straits Times reported that over 200 staff members at its Deutsche Bank appear to be unaffected by the global layoff exercise.

The bank’s employees in Hong Kong and India appear to be heavily affected by the restructuring exercise, as employees in the China SAR made preparations to leave the firm last week and 20 equity research and trading staff members in India are already being laid off, according to Bloomberg‘s sources.

Sources told Bloomberg that Deutsche Bank’s equities team in India comprises 10 researchers and approximately 20 people in sales and trading.

Deutsche Bank has more than 13,000 employees in India, including in retail and wholesale banking, investment-banking advisory and wealth management. Over 11,000 employees work in back office and technology roles, Bloomberg observed.

Deutsche Bank said in an email to Bloomberg, however, that it premature to touch on the specifics of the layoffs in India.

The bank’s Asia-Pacific Chief Executive Werner Steinmueller told staff via a memo that the bank was focusing on its core strengths, Reuters reported.

“The new investment bank will be smaller but more resilient, with a focus on our financing, capital markets, advisory services and sales and trading businesses,” Steinmueller added in the memo.

Deutsche Bank plans to cut around half of its equities staff in Asia, and will gradually continue to downsize its workforce by another 25 per cent within a month, as a part of Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing’s efforts to increase profitability and share returns, according to a source of Bloomberg. The source added that the region’s equity capital market bankers make up the majority of staff who have been laid off.

The German bank also indicated its aim to exit the global equities business and to downsize its investment banking unit. As a result, it will cease providing local research as well as some sales and trading services to its clients in Australia, according to Bloomberg.