Deutsche Bank’s U.S. corporate finance business has suffered another blow with the departure of its head of insurance investment banking to Nomura.
Meir Lewis who joined Deutsche two years ago is understood to be joining Nomura as head of its US FIG business. Lewis is the second managing director to leave the German lender’s corporate finance division since October. Last month Celeste Guth, the bank’s newly-appointed head of global M&A, decamped to PJT Partners. Guth used to be Lewis’ boss and like him is an insurance specialist. She hired him from Morgan Stanley in her previous role as global co- head of FIG. Following Guth’s promotion to run M&A, Deutsche appointed Stephen Valentino and London-based Hubert Vannier to run FIG globally.
Deutsche has now lost 19 managing directors since the start of the year in the run up to and aftermath of a large-scale restructuring overseen by CEO Christian Sewing who has shifted the bank away from sales and trading, closing down huge swathes of its global equities division. As well as Guth and Lewis, senior bankers Mark Hantho and John Eydenberg, quit to join Citi. Other departures include Tommaso Zanobini , who resigned as head of the bank’s fintech practice and has joined Moelis with a five-strong team.
Bankers say that while Deutsche is cutting back in sales and trading it remains committed to its U.S. corporate finance business and it has been hiring to plug gaps caused by departures. Deutsche regards its FIG team as an important area of investment and in August it hired Vik Mahajan as a managing director from Credit Suisse, where he spent eight years in FIG coverage, according to his LinkedIn entry. Mahajan is the fourth managing director Deutsche has hired since June and is a banks specialist; DB has yet to appoint someone to replace Lewis.
Deutsche was ranked ninth by U.S. investment banking revenues during the first nine months of the year, up from 10th a year earlier, according to Dealogic. Nomura is looking to plug gaps in its FIG team following the departure of Abzal Ayubeally to UBS.
The Japanese bank has seen its fair share upheaval in its ambition to build a U.S. investment banking operation. In April the bank announced a $1bn cost cutting exercise and a ‘re-start’ in its wholesale banking ambitions. As a result of this a number of senior bankers left the firm including U.S. M&A head Frank Kinney.
Nomura’s CEO Koji Nagai says the bank is committed to its U.S. investment banking division which has failed to become a significant player despite a number of big-name hires down the years. The Japanese bank has a reputation for paying guaranteed bonuses to lure talent in the hope of winning market share. “it’s been a bit stop-start down the years and this seems to be the start of another hiring round,” said one New York-based headhunter.
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