Deutsche Bank Calls for ‘Moral Compass’ as Probes Deepen

Deutsche Bank AG, Europe’s largest investment bank by revenue, said employees who don’t put clients first aren’t welcome at the company.

“If you don’t have the necessary moral compass, you can’t work for us,” Stephan Leithner, management board member for personnel and legal matters, said in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt published today. “Acceptance in society is a very valuable asset for Deutsche Bank.”

Deutsche Bank is among banks paying for past misdeeds as it settles with regulators and investors in probes and court cases that allege the company rigged interest rates and misled clients. The bank has also been drawn into investigations of possible attempts to manipulate the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

Possible manipulation of currency rates and prices for precious metals is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal, which shook confidence in banks over the last two years, according to Elke Koenig, president of German banking regulator Bafin. Those allegations are particularly serious because the reference values are typically based on transactions and not on estimates from banks, she said in a speech in Frankfurt late yesterday.

Deutsche Bank is in the process of instilling “cultural change” among its staff to prevent a repeat of past mistakes, Leithner said in the interview with Handelsblatt.

The bank has said it was implementing a system of “red flags” to identify employees who don’t take part in trainings or otherwise fall short of its standards. Colin Fan and Robert Rankin, who run the investment-banking and trading division, have said they would cut bonuses and reject promotions of staff with sufficient warnings.

The bank is applying more stringent standards to what business it conducts and some employees may have left to pursue transactions at other firms that are no longer possible at Deutsche Bank, Leithner said in the interview.

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