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Deutsche Bank Reverses Decision To Axe Staff Bonuses

Robbie Lawther

3 January 2018

 has made a u-turn after restoring staff bonuses that were slashed last year after it shelled out more than $7 billion to the US Department of Justice resolving a case dating back to before the financial crash of 2008, according to the Financial Times.

During an interview with German newspaper Börsen-Zeitung, the bank’s chief executive, John Cryan, promised his staff “normal” bonuses and pay increases for the first time in his two and a half years in charge.

“We always said that we would return to our normal system of variable compensation in 2017,” Cryan told Börsen-Zeitung. “And we will also raise salaries in some areas.”  

Bonuses were axed in 2017 when the bank was fined by the DoJ over its sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial tsunami. This lead to an 80 per cent cut in bonuses for performance in the previous year. In early 2016, six months after he arrived at Deutsche, Cryan presided over a 20 per cent cut in the investment bank’s bonus pool. 

According to the FT, Deutsche repeatedly argued that its 2017 bonus cull — described by one senior executive as “probably one of the most difficult decisions” the bank’s board ever took — was a one-off. 

This publication reported in January 2017 after the DoJ fine that the Frankfurt-headquartered bank was aiming to maximise revenues by increasing cost cuts as “there is some way to go to strengthen the bank and make it more profitable again".