Suffice to say, Deutsche Bank's hiring freeze means that not a lot of people are coming through the door, and ongoing cuts in its markets business have been disproportionately hard on its UK operations. However, Deutsche Bank has just convinced a Goldman Sachs lifer in Hong Kong to move to London for a key M&A role.
Christos Tomaras, most recently chief operating officer of Asia ex-Japan M&A for Goldman Sachs, is now head of EMEA financial sponsor M&A at Deutsche Bank in the UK.
Tomaras relocated from London to Hong Kong in 2014 when M&A deals were booming in Asia. At the same time, Goldman Sachs named John Kim as its new head of Asia M&A as it replaced Richard Campbell-Breeden. Goldman Sachs retained the number one spot for M&A deals in Asia with $176m in revenues, or 7.7% of the market, in 2016 according to Dealogic data. However, it's been a tough year for M&A in Asia. Deal volume in China, which accounts for around half the activity in the region, fell by 28% in 2016 - second only to the UK, which tumbled by 48%.
For Tomaras, the new role at Deutsche Bank looks like a return to his roots. Before moving to Hong Kong, he was a managing director and head of European sponsors M&A for Goldman Sachs in London. Tomaras has worked at Goldman Sachs for the entirety of his investment banking career. He joined as an analyst in 1998 after graduating from Cambridge University with a Masters in Engineering.
Alasdair Warren, the former Goldman Sachs banker who joined Deutsche Bank to head up its EMEA M&A team in November 2015, may have had some sway over Tomaras' decision to join the German bank. Since Warren has been at the helm, a number of former Goldman Sachs investment bankers moved across. Charlie Cetin, a former senior managing director at Goldman, joined as co-head of corporate and investment banking coverage strategy and client accountability for EMEA in August. Lower down the ranks, David Ibáñez, a TMT investment banker at Goldman, joined Deutsche as an executive director in December.
Warren has a task on his hands reviving Deutsche's flagging investment bank in Europe. Deutsche finished in 9th place in the 2016 European M&A deal volume league tables, down from 6th in 2015 (and 1st in 2012).
Warren said in November that Deutsche had been "distracted by a bunch of internal related issues" throughout late 2015 and the early part of last year, and that it had to fight to regain market share from its U.S. competitors. Despite the hiring freeze across the organisation, Deutsche has also previously said that it would selectively hire M&A bankers to increase its sector coverage.
Nonetheless, Deutsche's investment banking business has undergone some changes. Most significantly, Jeff Urwin, the co-head of its investment bank, is reportedly in talks to leave. But it also promoted a number of senior investment bankers in October, in an effort to both boost its investment banking revenues and stop an exodus of talent following a period of poor performance and cuts to the bonus pool. Deutsche Bank has said that most of its employees will receive no bonus this year.
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