The departures are not related, according to a Deutsche Bank spokesman, but nonetheless Deutsche Asset Management's Asia business has lost another top executive. This time, however, it's due to an internal transfer.
Last month Ed Peter, the former equity capital markets director who moved to DeAM four years ago to run its Asia-Pacific and Mena businesses, departed and reportedly took up to 10 staff with him. They have left to start a new fund venture affiliated with an unnamed German group.
Peter's role will be taken over by Mark Cullen, group COO, who is still based in New York but will be racking up plenty of air miles as he allocates more time to Asia, until a permanent CEO is found.
Now Paul Klug is leaving as Asia co-chief operating officer. In his case, he is sticking with Deutsche Bank, and has been named chief country officer for Mauritius. He is taking over a role previously filled by Mark Bisson, who is transferring to the United Kingdom with the firm. Klug's reporting line remains within the region, however, as his new boss is Colin Grassie, CEO of Deutsche Bank Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan).
Before joining Deutsche, Klug was managing director for global wealth management at Morgan Stanley, including a stint as COO of investment management in Tokyo, as well as developing its global product and handling mutual funds and trust administration.
Deutsche's regional asset management business has shrunk to such a degree that it no longer needs two COOs in Asia. Stephen Harris is now sole COO, based in Hong Kong. A spokesman says the firm is "realigning its resources" but remains committed to asset management in the region.
As of September 2008, DeAM reported sourcing $34.6 billion from retail and institutional clients in Asia-Pacific, ranking it 42nd, according to AsianInvestor magazine's December edition. Market sources believe a large amount of that figure is thanks to RREEF, the bank's private alternative investment arm. Much of that business is from acquisitions of Morgan Grenfell and BT. But the business also saw pruning, having sold businesses including Australia and Japan portfolios to Aberdeen Investment Management, in 2005 and in 2007.
The firm has suffered impairment costs at retail arm DWS Scudder and alternative portfolios such as infrastructure. In 2008, Deutsche's global asset and wealth management division reported a net loss and a drop in AUM by 16%, not bad given the circumstances. But group chairman Josef Ackermann has recently said market conditions have revealed weaknesses in the asset management business, and said the business would be recalibrated.
As part of the group's plan to reengineer the asset management business, Ackermann says Deutsche will restructure its money market funds to avoid future cash injections, streamline production and settlement costs to new funds, downsize the group's hedge fund platform, as well as adjust RREEF's strategies for real estate and infrastructures.
Within the region, the group is said to have already shut down its equity research team and substantially scaled down its fixed-income investment capability in Singapore last year.
Ed Peter will most likely be remembered for three acquisitions. First is a 40% stake in UFG Asset Management in Russia. Second is acquiring a controlling stake in a funds JV in Taiwan with Far Eastern, by buying out AllianceBernstein and Sun Hung Kai. Third, and clearly the most successful, is a 30% stake in Harvest Fund Management, arguably the most successful foreign-invested fund manager in mainland China -- although successful in part because Deutsche has a largely passive role.
Liz Mak contributed to this story.