When Ed Peter arrived in Asia in 2001 there were many cynics who doubted the claim that he would transform Deutsche's equities franchise from an also-ran to a top three player. Deutsche had attempted as much on two previous occasions, and imploded on both tries.
Peter did not give the naysayers much time. In a spate of hiring that surprised even the most optimistic headhunters, he poached 77 top sales, trading and research staff from higher-ranked rivals in his first nine months. Nicknamed the Blue Cow by FinanceAsia - thanks to the lifesize blue cow he kept at the corner of the equity trading floor - the culture he built was one of creativity, esprit de corp and personal loyalty. His charismatic approach was to build a 'boutique culture within a bank'.
Few would argue that Peter managed to transform Deutsche's cash equities business, and today it has a 12% market share in Korea, 21% in the Philippines, 8.5% in India, 6% in Australia, and strong positions in Singapore, and Hong Kong. It is widely regarded as a top three player on a regional basis - albeit still trailing the region's top broker, UBS (Peter's former employer).
Now Peter has been transferred to run Deutsche Asset Management's business in Asia - including Japan and Australia. His equities platform has been absorbed into Deutche's global markets business, headed by Loh Boon Chye.
The move will puzzle some in the market, and there is already speculation among rivals about the impact on Deutsche's equities franchise. Minus its charismatic leader, and merged into the much larger global markets operation (that includes debt), the original idea of a 'boutique within a bank' may be less tenable.
Deutsche spokespeople point out that Peter leaves behind a strong management cadre that will ensure the continued success of the equities business and that he is excited by the next challenge. By nature, Peter is a builder of businesses - and has a strong understanding of distribution - and it was therefore felt that the asset management business was an ideal opportunity for him. The business currently has $29 billion under management in Asia, although the bulk of that is in Australia and Japan.
Deutsche hopes that Peter's entrepreneurial vision will allow him to grow this business to a much greater scale - especially in China and India. He will report to Kevin Parker, global head of asset management (and former global head of equities).