Deutsche Bank Weighs Moving $350 Billion From U.K. to Frankfurt

  • ‘Project Bowline’ details steps for moving trades to Frankfurt
  • Balance-sheet relocation due to be completed by March 2019

Deutsche Bank May Move $350 Billion to Frankfurt

Deutsche Bank AG may shift about 300 billion euros ($350 billion) from the balance sheet of its U.K. entity to Frankfurt as client trading and assets migrate to the continent following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The project, dubbed Bowline, calls for trading in the German city to go live in September 2018 and for the assets to be moved over by March 2019, said the person, who asked for anonymity in discussing internal matters. Shifting 300 billion euros would be equivalent to almost a fifth of Deutsche Bank’s balance sheet, which listed 1.59 trillion euros in total assets at the end of last year.

Monika Schaller, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank, declined to comment.

Chief Executive Officer John Cryan told employees in a recent videotaped message that he’s girding for a hard Brexit, with the “vast majority” of trades currently booked in London probably moving to Frankfurt, but the bank hasn’t officially detailed its plan. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the lender intends to move chunks of trading and investment-banking assets from London to Frankfurt, with the jobs of several hundred traders and as many as 20,000 client accounts likely to be shifted.

“There’s an awful lot of detail to be ironed out and agreed,” Cryan said in the video. “But inevitably roles will need to be either moved, or at least added in Frankfurt.”

Read more: Will Brexit Trigger Exodus of Banks From London?

Under Bowline, trade and balance-sheet migration will begin in September 2018, with six months required for the move of the balance sheet, the person said. The bank plans to start informing clients from September 2017 that their contracts will be switched to Frankfurt. It wants to have built front-to-back technology and processes by June 2018, according to the person.

Much of Deutsche Bank’s trading in Europe is traditionally booked in London, which gained a prominent role for the bank under Cryan’s predecessors Anshu Jain and Josef Ackermann.

Cryan has spent the past two years scaling back capital-intensive debt trading and settling misconduct cases that occurred mostly before his arrival. The Brexit-driven relocation dovetails with his reorganization of the investment bank to emphasize the corporate business in its home market.

Deutsche Bank’s Brexit planning is overseen by the two co-heads of Deutsche Bank’s investment bank, Frankfurt-based Marcus Schenck and London-based Garth Ritchie, as well as the executive board member in charge of compliance, Sylvie Matherat.

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