Deutsche Bank CEOs Woo Politicians as Merkel Pushes RulesNicholas Comfort and Brian Parkin
Deutsche Bank AG co-Chief Executive Officers Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen are stepping up contacts with politicians in Berlin after Chancellor Angela Merkel called for more regulation of the finance industry.
Jain, 51, welcomed guests including former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Deputy Labor Minister Joerg Asmussen at Deutsche Bank’s Berlin offices today for an event to discuss a biography of Schroeder. Fitschen attended a session of parliament’s finance committee two days ago.
“Fitschen talked not just to parliament’s conservative wing but to members of all the parties this week and that’s significant,” Social Democrat lawmaker Joachim Poss, who attended the meeting, said by telephone. “Deutsche Bank has profited from the stabilization measures undertaken in the crisis, even if it’s been slow to admit this. Fitschen and the bank have some explaining to do and we’re keen listeners.”
Michael Golden, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, declined to comment on details of any meetings Jain and Fitschen held with politicians.
Merkel last month reiterated her commitment to leave “no financial products and their representatives unregulated,” including “gray market” products in the wake of the insolvency of Prokon GmbH, a fund investing in renewable energy. The coalition aims to tighten oversight of so-called shadow banking, which her Christian Democrats in a Feb. 8 policy declaration said is expanding as hedge funds and other investment funds seek to avert new banking regulations.
Jain didn’t talk about regulation, instead he praised Germany’s economic successes such as reducing unemployment to a record low since reunification.
Fitschen, at another book presentation in Berlin yesterday, said he wants to meet German lawmakers regularly to exchange views and air Deutsche Bank’s position on policy.
Deutsche Bank, Europe’s biggest investment bank by revenue, is weighing in on plans to tighten financial rules in Germany after profit was hurt by the financial crisis and litigation expenses for alleged manipulation of benchmark interest rates. Fitschen got involved in a spat with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in December over regulation.
Fitschen said on Dec. 4 that Schaeuble was “irresponsible” and adopted a “populist” manner when he said banks were seeking to evade stricter regulation. Schaeuble responded the next day, saying Fitschen was “wrong” and his tone was “inappropriate.”
Banking rules must be applied internationally, not only on a national or European basis, so as to avoid putting lenders at a disadvantage to their competitors in other regions, Fitschen said in Berlin.
Fitschen and Schaeuble have resolved their dispute, Michael Kemmer, the general manager of the BdB Association of German Banks, an industry group of which Fitschen is the president, told reporters in Berlin last month.
Germany is admired globally for its “tremendous success” in recent years, including reducing unemployment to the lowest levels since reunification, Jain said in Berlin.