Deutsche Bank's Cryan Sees Better Revenue Opportunities in 2017By
Chief executive cites economic recovery in Europe, U.S.
‘We are focusing on our roots’ to restore growth, he says
Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer John Cryan said there are more opportunities to increase revenue this year as Europe’s largest investment bank continues its turnaround plan.
“2017 is another year of restructuring even though in a better outlook,” Cryan told the bank’s shareholders on Thursday at the annual general meeting in Frankfurt. “We see better revenue opportunities, thanks additionally to a modest economic recovery in Europe and a modest U.S. economy.”
Europe’s biggest investment bank two months ago unveiled yet another turnaround strategy aimed at boosting the lender’s presence in its home market by integrating its retail subsidiary Postbank, and reorganizing the investment banking business under a new leadership. Legal expenses and cutbacks in securities trading have caused the bank to post two consecutive annual losses. Last month, the lender raised 8 billion euros ($8.9 billion) from shareholders to put to rest lingering market concerns about its financial strength.
Deutsche Bank’s share price has risen almost 80 percent since hitting a low in September and is up 9.2 percent this year, to 16.82 euros at 10:41 a.m. in Frankfurt. The stock peaked in 2007 at 91.63 euros.
“We must be prepared to question what we do and how we do it,” Cryan said. “We called this ‘Project Oak Tree.’ I think this an apt name for our strategy: we are focusing on our roots so that Deutsche Bank as a whole can become stronger again.”
Cryan has vowed to return the lender to “prudent growth” after job cuts and concern about the bank’s financial strength prompted some clients to reduce business last year. The bank last month reported fixed-income trading results that trailed its Wall Street peers, suggesting it has yet to fully win back the trust of clients.
Investors commended Cryan for resolving some of the biggest legal cases, while voicing skepticism about his strategy for restoring growth at the bank.
“Mr. Cryan, we very much appreciate your pragmatism” and “welcome the focused set-up under the new strategy,” said Ingo Speich, a portfolio manager with Union Investment. He dismissed the assumptions underlying the new strategy as too optimistic and said the bank’s goal of growing revenue while cutting costs meant it’s trying to "square the circle."