Anshu Jain, a veteran investment banker who led Deutsche Bank during a tumultuous time in the German lender’s history, has died. He was 59 years old.
Jain has been credited with helping build Deutsche Bank’s investment banking business, turning the once sleepy German bank into a global trading powerhouse. When Jain became co-CEO in 2012 along with Jürgen Fitschen, the investment banking division he led accounted for about 75% of the bank’s profits.
But the bank’s risk-taking and loose spending on bank bonuses backfired in the wake of the financial crisis, making Deutsche Bank a prime target for global regulators. The bank paid billions of dollars in fines for selling toxic mortgage-backed securities to investors and for its role in an interest rate rigging scandal.
Jain died early Saturday after a five-year battle with cancer, his family said.
In 2015, Deutsche Bank paid about $2.5 billion and pleaded guilty to settle allegations that its traders tried to manipulate benchmark interest rates, including the London Interbank Offered Rate. Regulators criticized the bank for mishandling or destroying evidence and for not cooperating enough with investigators. Jain, who was cleared of intentionally misleading regulators in the Libor investigation, left Deutsche Bank soon after.
The following year, the bank reached a $7.2 billion settlement with the Justice Department over claims it misled investors about mortgage-backed securities it sold before the financial crisis. It soon entered into agreements in the United States and the United Kingdom over so-called “mirror operations,” in which the bank moved $10 billion of Russian clients’ money out of the country between 2011 and 2015.
Deutsche Bank is on steadier footing these days. In 2018, it appointed its latest chief executive, Christian Sewing, a long-time banker who promised to rein in risk. The investment bank that Jain helped build has scaled back its global ambitions.
“Anyone who worked with Anshu experienced a passionate leader of intellectual brilliance,” Sewing said in a statement. “His energy and loyalty to the bank left a great impression on many of us.”
Jain was born into a middle-class family in India in 1963. In 1983, he graduated from Delhi University with a degree in economics. At the age of 20, he moved to the United States, where he obtained a master’s degree at the University of Massachusetts. Amherst. Jain began his Wall Street career at Kidder Peabody in derivatives research. He then moved to Merrill Lynch, where he created and led a unit covering global hedge funds.
TO READ The 10 things Anshu Jain needs to learn to say auf Deutsch
In 1995, he joined a mass exodus from Merrill Lynch to the London office of Deutsche Bank, where his mentor, Edson Mitchell, was hired to build the bank’s new investment bank.
Jain quickly rose through the ranks at a time when the German lender was eager to build its own Wall Street business to match American rivals. After Mitchell died in a plane crash in 2000, Jain was tapped to run Deutsche Bank’s fixed income business. In 2004, he was asked to help run the entire investment bank, a role he held until becoming co-CEO in 2012.
Jain worked hard to shed his image as an outsider in the world of the German banking cabal.
He took German lessons but struggled to master the language. When I traveled across the country to visit corporate clients, meetings were often held in English. His knowledge of the language, he told reporters, was superior to his knowledge of German. Still, he stunned shareholders at Deutsche Bank’s annual meeting in 2013 when he delivered a two-page keynote speech entirely in the bank’s native language. (Fitschen followed up with a 10-page speech in German.)
Deutsche Bank, under Jain and Fitschen, fell short of its own and Wall Street’s profit forecasts. The co-CEOs said the bank had plenty of capital, only to turn around and go to shareholders for more funds, first in 2013 and again in 2014.
In June 2015, Jain and Fitschen said they would step down, making way for former UBS chief financial officer John Cryan to become chief executive. The bank’s decision to cut thousands of jobs and close branches had drawn criticism from unions and the media. And Jain felt the language barrier prevented him from connecting with shareholders, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
Jain landed at Cantor Fitzgerald in 2017 in the newly created role of president. He was tapped to help oversee the firm’s strategy and help it expand into fixed income, equity trading and prime brokerage. “He has extensive knowledge and experience across the entire global financial footprint,” CEO Howard Lutnick said at the time.
Jain was an avid wildlife photographer and sportsman who enjoyed cricket and golf. He once advised business students to move around the world. “When you’re a perpetual migrant like that, you’re never in your comfort zone,” he said.
He is survived by his wife, Geetika, his mother, a son and a daughter.
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This article was published by The Wall Street Journal, a publication of the Dow Jones Group