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全球化戰略以失敗告終,這家銀行岌岌可危

Geoffrey Smith 2019年07月11日

德意志銀行放棄與全球金融巨頭的競爭,回歸歐洲。

作為德國最大的銀行,德意志銀行在上周日表示將裁員1.8萬名,占其員工總數的近四分之一。同時,公司也已經退出全球股市交易,縮小了其他業務的規模,目的是為了減少風險和丑聞。上述舉措將讓該銀行在風險調整后的縮表幅度超過20%,而且將對其美國、英國的業務帶來尤為嚴重的打擊。

在向員工發布的備忘錄中,首席執行官克里斯蒂安·索英將這一舉措描述為“徹底重建……這一舉措在某種程度上會讓我們回歸公司的初衷”——服務德國和歐洲企業。

告別質疑之聲

然而,該舉措還意味著糾正該銀行20年以來粗放的管理方式,期間,銀行所服務的對象一直都是其薪資豐厚的經理和交易員,而不是其所有者。在過去20年中,德意志銀行支付的獎金高于股息,而且其股價自2016年以來已經多次降至歷史新低。同時,公司已經耗費了數十億美元用于和解各類問題,從抵押債券的違規銷售到操縱匯率,再到用盧布洗錢等。

投行負責人嘉斯·里特奇是德意志銀行收入最高的高管之一,去年共計拿到了860萬歐元的薪酬,他在上周五宣布離職。其他兩名董事——首席監管官塞爾維·馬澤拉斯和弗蘭克·斯特勞斯——在上周日也相繼宣布離職。

自重組細節開始泄露之后,德意志銀行的股價上漲了約20%,但較2007年的峰值水平依然下滑了93%以上。(周一,股價在上漲3%之后還略低于這一水平。)作為對比,摩根大通的股價是金融危機前峰值的兩倍,而高盛的股價較其峰值水平下跌了不到20%(而且去年在中美貿易戰對全球市場造成影響前達到了歷史新高)。

撲朔迷離的未來

問題在于,德意志銀行為其未來所謀求的銀行業務出路本身就十分渺茫。從德國人手中吸納存款再借給德國人實在是賺不了什么錢,因為歐洲央行的利率即將進一步向負值下探,而且在國有儲蓄銀行的壓榨下,貸款業務利潤率更是低的可憐。受德國勞工法的強勢影響,零售銀行業務的精簡速度也沒有多少潛力可挖,因為該法允許工會為2021年之前的裁員數量設定嚴格的上限。

此外,當前疲軟的經濟必然將影響銀行的貸款業績:第一季度個人和企業貸款虧損備抵金的金額上漲了約30%,而這一時期應該是整個周期的低點;商業調查顯示,制造業依然處于衰退期,季節調整后的失業人數增幅在5月創下了新高(盡管這個數字在6月回歸了穩定)。

即便所有的事情都能夠向著其管理層所計劃的那樣順利實施——銀行最近幾年的狀況顯示,出現這一情況的可能性不大——德意志銀行在未來的兩年中將無法支付股息,而且在4年之后仍然將疲于賺取其資本成本。當索英在去年接任首席執行官一職時,他的利潤率目標為:2020年銀行有形資產的回報率達到10%。然而他在上周日時表示,這個數字到2022年也不會超過8%。他預計,屆時的成本將占到營收的70%(摩根大通的效益比約為55%,而花旗略高于57%)。

與此同時,今年德意志銀行期盼的利潤將被預期的51億歐元重組費用所沖掉,而且未來三年內還將產生23億歐元的額外費用。

逐漸縮小的威脅

好消息在于,這家在2016年被國際貨幣基金組織稱為全球最危險的銀行終于將變得不再那么臃腫、復雜,因此,它對全球金融系統的威脅也就變得更小。

重組費用還將蠶食其資本,然而,通過將2880億歐元的巨額資產轉移至其所為的“資本釋放部”(請勿將其稱為“壞銀行”),德意志銀行減輕了監管方的擔憂。今年早些時候,監管方親手扼殺了德意志銀行與規模小一點的跨城市競爭對手德國商業銀行的原定合并計劃,理由是新成立的銀行屬于“太大而不能倒”的怪物。

在上周日發表的聲明中,德意志銀行稱公司計劃大幅調低其核心一級資本比率——一個重要的財務實力指標,而該銀行當前的水平為13.7%。業界認為,那些業務風險較低的銀行無需持有如此多的資本來應對潛在的虧損。與西班牙的桑坦德銀行(11.3%)或意大利的裕信銀行(12.3%)這類競爭對手相比,德意志銀行12.5%的新目標還是有優勢的。這家銀行今后不會有太大的空間來發放巨額獎金,但在人們看來,這才是重點。(財富中文網)

譯者:馮豐

審校: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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