Deutsche Bank to cut 200 as commodity jobs fall to 2009 low

Investors have pulled record amounts from commodity funds

Deutsche Bank AG is cutting about 200 commodities jobs, joining the world’s largest financial firms in reducing headcount for trading in everything from energy to metals to the lowest since at least 2009 as regulations tighten and revenue slides.

Europe’s biggest investment bank will exit dedicated energy, agriculture, dry bulk and base metals trading and transfer its financial derivatives and precious metals desks to the fixed income and currencies division. The decision will have “no material impact” on earnings, the Frankfurt-based bank said in an e-mailed statement today.

Deutsche Bank is joining JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley in cutting back after investors pulled a record $34.1 billion from commodity funds globally since last December and prices tracked by Standard & Poor’s are headed for their first annual drop since 2008. The Federal Reserve is reviewing banks’ control of raw-material assets and regulators are demanding they set aside more reserves to cover potential losses.

“Commodities is a cyclical business,” said George Kuznetsov, the head of research at Coalition, a London-based analytics company. “Banks with a higher focus on institutional clients will scale their businesses back to key products, while larger corporate franchises will continue to be active across a broader set of products.”

Job Losses

About 200 people will lose their jobs or get moved to a different company, if Deutsche Bank can sell the businesses they work for, said a person familiar with the moves, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Commodities except for derivatives and precious metals will be transferred to a special commodities group and commodities co- heads Louise Kitchen and Richard Jefferson will oversee the winding down of the physical business, which could take as many as two years, according to a person familiar with the plan.

Deutsche Bank’s investment banking and trading unit, which includes commodities, employed 25,062 people at the end of September, according to company filings.

Total headcount in commodity units at the 10 largest banks, from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Deutsche Bank, stood at 2,290 at the end of September, about 4 percent less than at the end of 2012, according to data starting in 2009 from Coalition. The banks will receive 14 percent less revenue from commodities this year, Coalition said in a report.

Reduce Complexity

“The decision to refocus our commodities business is based on our identification of more attractive ways to deploy our capital and balance sheet resources,” Colin Fan, co-head of Deutsche Bank’s investment banking and trading unit, said in the statement. “This move responds to industrywide regulatory change and will also reduce the complexity of our business.”

Grupo BTG Pactual, the Brazilian investment bank founded by billionaire Andre Esteves, plans to start commodity trading in Singapore next year, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.

JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, said in July it plans to get out of the business of owning and trading physical commodities ranging from metals to oil. The bank, which has sought $3.3 billion for its physical commodities business, is closing its energy-trading business in Geneva, cutting or relocating about 12 jobs, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Next page: Morgan Stanley

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