HONG KONG/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) has seen some outflows from its wealth management division but the withdrawals were not significant, senior executives told Reuters, responding to concerns about the possible impact of a U.S. fine.
Germany’s biggest lender is battling to contain the fallout from a U.S. demand for a $14 billion settlement over the sale of toxic mortgage bonds before the global financial crisis, with markets worried that a fine of that size could cripple the bank.
Wealth management client assets managed by Deutsche stood at 361 billion euros ($405 billion) as of end-June, with clients in Germany and the rest of Europe accounting for just over half of that amount.
Fabrizio Campelli, head of Deutsche’s global wealth management business, said that the bank had seen some fund outflows driven by the news of the last few weeks and it was working with clients to address their concerns.
“It is also natural that a situation like this will create some outflows and some of those clients have also decided to manage their risk, but this is not something that has resulted in any material concern for us,” he said.
The bank has also lost its head of Asia Pacific wealth management Ravi Raju and a senior banker in his team this week. Deutsche swiftly promoted Lok Yim as the head of Asia Pacific wealth management unit.
Yim also said outflows in Asia had not been significant. Asia-Pacific clients account for about 14 percent of Deutsche’s global wealth management assets.
“We give (clients) the facts, we give them the truth and we have been absolutely open about the challenges we face, but also that some of the things that are in the market are speculation and not the facts,” he said.
Campelli added that he believed the client reaction seen in Asia was true across other regions as well.
Deutsche has been building up its presence in Asia, a region that has emerged as a key battleground for wealth managers in the last few years as Western markets slow.
Campelli said the bank remained committed to investing in the region, which is its biggest growth engine.
After focusing on ultra high net worth clients with more than $20 million in assets, it is now rolling out high net worth businesses for clients with more than $5 million in assets in Hong Kong and Singapore.
“The bank needs more of the type of business like wealth management is – it’s based on fee income, it’s less dependent on interest rates, it’s less capital consumptive and in some regions it continues to grow very attractively,” he said.
He added that the bank plans to look at extending its presence in the high net worth business to markets like China and Indonesia in the future.
Deutsche’s Asian wealth management unit in Asia was ranked eighth in a 2015 survey published by Asian Private Banker. UBS (UBSG.S) led the survey, managing $274 billion worth of assets, followed by Citigroup (C.N).
Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Denny Thomas and Edwina Gibbs