Jain Halts Speech as Deutsche Bank Protestors Vent Anger
Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) co-Chief Executive Officer Anshu Jain was forced to halt a speech in Frankfurt as a group of shareholders vented their anger at the company’s policies.
Jain paused as the group jeered, booed and threw fliers into the air at the annual general meeting today. The shareholders, screaming slogans such as “crisis-profiteers,” were escorted out of the event in the west of Germany’s financial capital.
German banks have become a focus for people protesting the financial crisis as the nation prepares for parliamentary elections in September. Jain riled some shareholders in April by asking them to contribute to a 2.96 billion-euro ($3.8 billion) capital increase three months after saying it wouldn’t be in their interests. Deutsche Bank is boosting reserves amid tighter capital requirements and legal probes, including the alleged manipulation of benchmark interest rates.
Entrance to the shareholders’ meeting was allowed for people who hold one or more shares in the bank. Jain, 50, earlier received applause as he took to the podium and made a speech in German for the first time since he was appointed co-CEO alongside Juergen Fitschen last June.
“Mistakes were made in the past” that “undermined our good name,” Fitschen told the meeting. “We realize that we have to win back the trust of our clients and society.”
As well as being a subject of probes into manipulation of Libor, Deutsche Bank is a defendant in civil suits as an issuer or underwriter of U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities. In December, about 500 police and investigators raided its headquarters over tax evasion in carbon markets. It denies any wrongdoing. A Milan judge convicted the bank and three other firms that month of fraud in the sale of derivatives to hedge the city’s interest-rate risk.
“The cleanup efforts have started at the construction site that is Deutsche Bank, but it will probably take a long time to deal with all the legacy issues and restore trust,” Ingo Speich, a fund manager at Union Investment GmbH, which owns about 1 percent of the company, said in a speech. “Trust is what Deutsche Bank needs most.”
A group of about two dozen people protesting capitalism and funding of the arms industry set up stalls and held up banners outside the meeting hall.
Deutsche Bank’s shares fell 3.4 percent to 35.94 euros at the close of trading in Frankfurt. Gains over the past 12 months were 25 percent compared with 45 percent for the Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index. The index fell 3.1 percent today.
Shareholders are expected to approve the appointment of three new members to Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board, as well as changes to the bank’s compensation system that will cap pay for Jain and Fitschen at 9.85 million euros this year. They received 4.89 million euros in 2012.
Thousands of people will attempt to blockade Frankfurt’s financial district on May 31 to protest capitalism and the banking industry’s role.
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