Why have Deutsche bank decided to have two Co-CEOs for the Middle East and Africa region?
Having two CEOs with corporate and private banking backgrounds emphasises the bank’s commitment to the entire Middle East and Africa region. It will enable us to make better use of the synergies we have within the bank to enhance our longstanding support for our corporate and private clients especially in such a wide and important region for the bank.
As Head of the International Private Bank, what is your primary focus in the region?
Our focus lies on being the primary partner for entrepreneurs and family offices in the Middle East and Africa region with European connectivity. We are uniquely positioned to meet our clients’ needs for a European-based wealth manager because we have global booking capabilities, we can provide access to a leading corporate bank and we can deliver solutions from a top-tier investment bank with strong foreign exchange and fixed-income capabilities. Further, we offer best-in-class Chief Investment Office (CIO) investment solutions, coupled with the institutional expertise of DWS, and superior lending capabilities on both the corporate and family side. These factors make us a compelling choice for Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) and HNW sophisticated investors in the MEA region and globally.
And which countries you will focus on from a wealth management perspective in the region?
We will be focusing on our main markets in the region such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Nigeria and Egypt as they are strong growth prospects of ours. Also, we want to get more traction in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Jordan. Further, we want to leverage the very strong business momentum across our Global South East Asia (GSA) business centres in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Geneva and London. We will drive the expansion of this unit that has established itself as one of the market leaders in serving Non-Resident Indian (NRI) and other clients from the sub-continent in the region.
What is your competitive advantage in terms of servicing wealthy clients?
UHNW individuals and entrepreneurs in the MEA region, including our NRI clients, can benefit from Deutsche Bank Wealth Management’s investment platform and offering that covers the entire range from cash management and traditional portfolio management to complex structuring and alternative asset classes. Moreover, our lending capabilities have proven to satisfy the most complex needs which, when required, benefit from direct access to Deutsche Bank’s Investment Bank.
While focusing on internal innovation by leveraging the wide-ranging technological capabilities within the bank, we also cooperate with external partners to provide our clients with state-of-the-art solutions and services. In April 2020, Deutsche Bank Wealth Management renewed its contract with leading cloud banking provider Avaloq until 2028 for six of its international booking centres; Switzerland, Luxembourg, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Hong Kong. The successful partnership allows us to provide clients with one of the most technically advanced solutions available in the market. Furthermore, in December last year, Deutsche Bank and Google Cloud signed a strategic, multi-year partnership to accelerate the bank’s transition to the cloud and co-innovate new products and services. For clients, the agreement will reshape how products and services are designed and delivered. With faster application development and the use of advanced artificial intelligence and data analytics tools, the bank will be able to respond more flexibly and accurately to the most pressing challenges, trends and client needs.
What have been the challenges for you as a bank to reach the position you are in today?
After the turmoil of the financial crisis, making clients regain trust in the financial system and its financial institutions was challenging. We have achieved this through being transparent and delivering convincing performance. Our concentrated focus on clients and their needs showed us what was required in order to prevail. And so, Deutsche Bank invested in automatisation, digitalisation, leaner processes and a global platform that offers the latest research, high-quality investment advice, solutions and products, all of which are available in all jurisdictions where we operate, 24/7. This not only attracted more clients, it also attracted a motivated, talented workforce that understand what this business is all about, be it as relationship managers or investment advisers, specialists in central and support functions, or colleagues in the back or middle office. We will continue to work hard as a team to ultimately become the preeminent private bank in the Eurozone and one of the leaders worldwide.
Deutsche Bank has worked on some of the sovereign issues last year across MEA – what are your position here?
Deutsche Bank is one of the top-ranked international banks issuing bonds for regional sovereigns and our firm commitment to deliver best-in-class service to our government issuers has won us a number of repeat mandates. According to Dealogic, Deutsche bank has lead the highest percentage of inaugural international bonds for sovereigns in Africa. Last year, Deutsche Bank led major issuances for Gabon, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Egypt to name a few and we anticipate a good pipeline for this year as well.
Mentioning Africa, what is Deutsche Bank’s operations and capabilities in Africa?
Since opening a representative office in Cairo in 1959, Deutsche Bank has strongly contributed to financing the development of infrastructure across the African continent. The bank uses its expertise in structuring and arranging financing to help countries access the traditional global capital markets and other alternative pools of liquidity. Deutsche Bank has well over 200 staff providing banking services to our clients on the African continent. We have teams situated in our branch in Johannesburg, South Africa (1979) and representative offices in Lagos, Nigeria (1978) and Cairo, Egypt. In addition, there are a number of coverage bankers and product specialists based in our regional hub for the Middle East & Africa, Dubai and other global hubs including Frankfurt, London and Geneva (amongst others), that provide banking services to clients and individuals domiciled on the continent.