Deutsche Bank has got a technology problem. Although the German bank has made some progress in cutting its operating systems from 34 to four, it still had 30+ last time we looked (April 2018) and has suffered several senior exits from its tech team in the past 12 months. Last week, Alexandra Annecke, a fund manager at Frankfurt-based Union Investment, which owns a 0.5% stake in Deutsche, told the Financial Times that years of under-investment in IT are partly to blame for the bank's current travails. One analyst estimates that DB has underspent on technology for an entire decade.
There are signs that Deutsche is trying to do something about this. The German bank has created two exciting new software teams in London - which are recruiting.
Housed within the global transaction bank, one is described as an 'early product software team' which aims to bring new product ideas to life using a 'design driven, minimum viable product development process.' - In other words, to move a lot more quickly than might usually be expected from a bank, and from Deutsche Bank in particular.
The early product team is currently hiring a head of product design and two Blockchain engineers. The Blockchain engineers will be expected to 'hire, inspire and mentor' new Blockchain engineers, so this may just be the start of something. Public cloud technologies are also on the table.
Deutsche is also trying to join the data party. The German bank has engendered something called, the Alpha-Data Innovation Group (DIG), which wants to use machine and deep learning to derive insights from both financial and non-financial data, including information on environmental and social trends. Like UBS's Evidence Lab, the group plans to use its insights to drive research revenues. This team is currently hiring a lead engineer.
For all its travails, Deutsche has had some notable technology successes in the past year, including the stabilization of its critical systems (which are now running a record 99.98% of the time) and the launch of a Symphony chatbot. The bank has also hired 900 people for its technology centre in Bucharest, mostly staffed by local, low cost Romanian developers working on international software projects.
Nonetheless, Deutsche doesn't seem to be doing much in the way of technology hiring compared to rival banks. As CEO Christian Sewing seeks to squeeze costs below €23bn before year end, Deutsche is currently advertising only around 50 technology jobs in the UK (and only six in Bucharest). This compares to the 215 UK tech jobs presently being advertised at J.P. Morgan, to 100 at Goldman Sachs, and to 264 at the Barclays Group. Against this shortfall, two new teams may not make much difference - however fast they work.
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