Deutsche Bank turns corner with profits and staff bonuses handing CEO 46% pay rise

Suban Abdulla
·3-min read
Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing. Photo: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing. Photo: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

The chief executive of Deutsche Bank (DB), Christian Sewing, was paid €7.4m ($8.8m, £6.3m) in 2020 — a 46% increase from 2019, as the bank posted a profit after years of losses.

Profit before tax was €1.0bn in 2020, with profit after tax of €624m, while net revenues rose 4% to €24bn last year.

It has lost a total of €8.2bn over the last 10 years.

Bonuses at the entire bank were up by 29% last year as the investment bank rewarded its employees following a pandemic-related trading boom, according to Deutsche's annual report.

The bonuses come as German workers at the call centre subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, DB Direkt in Frankfurt, have been striking for weeks to demand a 6% rise in pay. Unions, have called the €12 per hour pay "barely above the minimum wage."

The German lender hiked bonuses for some of its top investment bankers by 63%. The average bonus payment for this group of workers was around €697,000 — an increase of 85% on the same period in 2019. Total pay was €1.2m on average, while the number of people earning more than €1m at Deutsche increased by 17% to 684.

Last year was significant for Sewing who took over the reins in 2018 amid a push to turnaround the German bank after a series of regulatory failings, including over money laundering.

The news comes after the bank announced that that revenues would be "marginally lower" this year.

The bank's net profit attributable to shareholders last year was €113m, compared with a 2019 loss of €5.7bn.

The total compensation of the management board was reduced by a total of €4.6m, against a backdrop of the coronavirus crisis.

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"In 2020, we made great progress on our transformation into a sustainably profitable bank, and were even more relevant for our clients," Sewing said.

"At the same time, we invested further in our controls, in our talents and in our sustainability strategy – despite an environment of unprecedented challenges."

Looking ahead, the bank reaffirmed its 2022 financial plan, including its target for return on tangible equity of 8%.

In 2021, Deutsche expects revenues to be marginally lower than in 2020, this reflects an "anticipated normalisation of volatility and industry volumes" in investment banking after the high levels last year.

It predicts growth resuming in 2022 in line with guidance provided at the Investor Deep Dive in December.

Deutsche also expects to maintain progress toward its cost targets. This will be driven by the "run-rate" benefit of existing measures and execution of further measures as planned, particularly in infrastructure and the private bank, it said.

Provision for credit losses is expected to be slightly lower than in 2020 while remaining above pre-COVID levels, and to decline further to 25-30 basis points of loans in 2022.

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