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全球化战略以失败告终,这家银行岌岌可危

Geoffrey Smith 2019年07月11日

德意志银行放弃与全球金融巨头的竞争,回归欧洲。

作为德国最大的银行,德意志银行在上周日表示将裁员1.8万名,占其员工总数的近四分之一。同时,公司也已经退出全球股市交易,缩小了其他业务的规模,目的是为了减少风险和丑闻。上述举措将让该银行在风险调整后的缩表幅度超过20%,而且将对其美国、英国的业务带来尤为严重的打击。

在向员工发布的备忘录中,首席执行官克里斯蒂安·索英将这一举措描述为“彻底重建……这一举措在某种程度上会让我们回归公司的初衷”——服务德国和欧洲企业。

告别质疑之声

然而,该举措还意味着纠正该银行20年以来粗放的管理方式,期间,银行所服务的对象一直都是其薪资丰厚的经理和交易员,而不是其所有者。在过去20年中,德意志银行支付的奖金高于股息,而且其股价自2016年以来已经多次降至历史新低。同时,公司已经耗费了数十亿美元用于和解各类问题,从抵押债券的违规销售到操纵汇率,再到用卢布洗钱等。

投行负责人嘉斯·里特奇是德意志银行收入最高的高管之一,去年共计拿到了860万欧元的薪酬,他在上周五宣布离职。其他两名董事——首席监管官塞尔维·马泽拉斯和弗兰克·斯特劳斯——在上周日也相继宣布离职。

自重组细节开始泄露之后,德意志银行的股价上涨了约20%,但较2007年的峰值水平依然下滑了93%以上。(周一,股价在上涨3%之后还略低于这一水平。)作为对比,摩根大通的股价是金融危机前峰值的两倍,而高盛的股价较其峰值水平下跌了不到20%(而且去年在中美贸易战对全球市场造成影响前达到了历史新高)。

扑朔迷离的未来

问题在于,德意志银行为其未来所谋求的银行业务出路本身就十分渺茫。从德国人手中吸纳存款再借给德国人实在是赚不了什么钱,因为欧洲央行的利率即将进一步向负值下探,而且在国有储蓄银行的压榨下,贷款业务利润率更是低的可怜。受德国劳工法的强势影响,零售银行业务的精简速度也没有多少潜力可挖,因为该法允许工会为2021年之前的裁员数量设定严格的上限。

此外,当前疲软的经济必然将影响银行的贷款业绩:第一季度个人和企业贷款亏损备抵金的金额上涨了约30%,而这一时期应该是整个周期的低点;商业调查显示,制造业依然处于衰退期,季节调整后的失业人数增幅在5月创下了新高(尽管这个数字在6月回归了稳定)。

即便所有的事情都能够向着其管理层所计划的那样顺利实施——银行最近几年的状况显示,出现这一情况的可能性不大——德意志银行在未来的两年中将无法支付股息,而且在4年之后仍然将疲于赚取其资本成本。当索英在去年接任首席执行官一职时,他的利润率目标为:2020年银行有形资产的回报率达到10%。然而他在上周日时表示,这个数字到2022年也不会超过8%。他预计,届时的成本将占到营收的70%(摩根大通的效益比约为55%,而花旗略高于57%)。

与此同时,今年德意志银行期盼的利润将被预期的51亿欧元重组费用所冲掉,而且未来三年内还将产生23亿欧元的额外费用。

逐渐缩小的威胁

好消息在于,这家在2016年被国际货币基金组织称为全球最危险的银行终于将变得不再那么臃肿、复杂,因此,它对全球金融系统的威胁也就变得更小。

重组费用还将蚕食其资本,然而,通过将2880亿欧元的巨额资产转移至其所为的“资本释放部”(请勿将其称为“坏银行”),德意志银行减轻了监管方的担忧。今年早些时候,监管方亲手扼杀了德意志银行与规模小一点的跨城市竞争对手德国商业银行的原定合并计划,理由是新成立的银行属于“太大而不能倒”的怪物。

在上周日发表的声明中,德意志银行称公司计划大幅调低其核心一级资本比率——一个重要的财务实力指标,而该银行当前的水平为13.7%。业界认为,那些业务风险较低的银行无需持有如此多的资本来应对潜在的亏损。与西班牙的桑坦德银行(11.3%)或意大利的裕信银行(12.3%)这类竞争对手相比,德意志银行12.5%的新目标还是有优势的。这家银行今后不会有太大的空间来发放巨额奖金,但在人们看来,这才是重点。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

The bank, Germany’s largest, confirmed on last Sunday that it will shed around 18,000 jobs, nearly a quarter of its entire workforce, as it pulls out of global equities trading and scales down other businesses in search of a life with fewer risks and scandals. The cuts, which will shrink the bank’s risk-adjusted balance sheet by over 20%, are likely to hit its operations in the U.S. and U.K. particularly hard.

In a memo to staff, chief executive Christian Sewing described the move as a “fundamental rebuilding…which, in a way, also takes us back to our roots” of serving German and European businesses.

End of a questionable era

However, it also marks a reckoning with two decades of reckless management, in which the bank had been run chiefly for the benefit of its richly-paid managers and traders, rather than its owners. Deutsche has paid out more in bonuses than in dividends over the last 20 years, and its shares have hit a series of record lows since 2016 as it has spent billions on settlements for everything from mis-selling mortgage bonds and manipulating interest rates to laundering Russian money.

Investment bank head Garth Ritchie, Deutsche’s top earner last year with a total package of 8.6 million euros, announced his departure on last Friday. Two other board members—chief regulatory officer Sylvie Matherath and Frank Strauss—followed on last Sunday.

The shares have rallied some 20% since details of the restructuring started to leak out but are still down over 93% from their 2007 peak. (On Monday, they were slightly lower after initially popping 3%.) By contrast, J.P. Morgan’s are at more than double their pre-crisis peak while Goldman Sachs’s are down less than 20% from theirs (and had hit a new all-time high last year before the U.S. trade war with China took its toll on markets worldwide).

An uncertain future

The trouble is that the business that Deutsche is banking on for its future is itself in a miserable state. There is precious little money to be made taking deposits from and lending to Germans, when the European Central Bank’s interest rates are about to fall further below zero, and when state-owned savings banks depress margins on what loan business there is to pennies. There is little potential to speed up the streamlining of its retail banking business, thanks to the strength of German labor law, which has allowed unions to insist on a strict cap on job cuts through 2021.

Moreover, a weakening economy is now set to hit the bank’s loan book: provisions against losses on loans to individuals and businesses rose some 30% in the first quarter from what is likely to be a cyclical low point, business surveys show manufacturing still in recession, and the number of seasonally-adjusted jobless rose by the most in 10 years in May (although it steadied in June).

Even if everything goes as well for Deutsche as its management plans—an outcome that recent years suggest is unlikely—the bank will pay no dividends for the next two years and will still be struggling to earn its cost of capital even after four years. When Sewing took over as CEO last year, his profitability target was a return on tangible equity of 10% by 2020. On last Sunday, he said he expects that figure to be no more than 8% by 2022. In that year, he expects costs to equal 70% of revenue (J.P. Morgan’s efficiency ratio is around 55%, while Citigroup’s is just over 57%).

In the meantime, this year’s hoped-for profit will be wiped out by an expected 5.1 billion euros of restructuring charges, with another 2.3 billion euros to follow in the next three years.

A diminishing threat

The silver lining is that an institution dubbed the world’s most dangerous bank by the International Monetary Fund in 2016 will finally become less big, less complex and, consequently, less of a threat to the global financial system.

The restructuring charges will eat into its capital, but by transferring a massive 288 billion euros of assets into what it called a “capital release unit” (please don’t call it a ‘bad bank’), Deutsche has alleviated the fears of its regulators. They had effectively killed a planned merger with smaller, cross-town rival Commerzbank earlier this year on the grounds that it would create a Too-Big-to-Fail monster.

In its statement on last Sunday, Deutsche said it plans to let its core tier 1 capital ratio—a key metric of financial strength—fall well below its current level of 13.7%. Banks with lower risk profiles are deemed not to need as much capital to cover potential losses, and Deutsche’s new target of 12.5% still compares favorably with rivals such as Spain’s Santander (11.3%) or Italy’s Unicredit (12.3%). It won’t allow too much room for huge bonuses in the future, but that, you might say, is the point.

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