Drew Goldman, Deutsche Bank’s global head of investment banking coverage and advisory, explains to Marie Kemplay why there are plenty of reasons for optimism about its performance in one of the bank’s most significant markets.

“Deutsche Bank corporate finance in the Americas is back,” says Drew Goldman, Deutsche Bank’s New-York based global head of investment banking coverage and advisory.

Mr Goldman, who has been with the bank for more than 20 years, heads up Deutsche’s corporate finance business globally, and its US business is an area of significant focus for him. Understandably so, as it accounts for more than half of the global investment banking fee pool. 

He acknowledges that at the time Deutsche’s major restructuring was announced in 2019, and in the context of the bank’s plans to downsize the investment bank and to become more focused, there were some asking: “Is Deutsche Bank raising up the drawbridge and becoming fortress Europe, only focusing on European clients?” But Mr Goldman says that reducing the bank's US focus was never, realistically, going to be a possibility. “The fact is, this is an important market, and it’s one where we need to have a significant presence.” 

Career history: Drew Goldman  

  • 2019 Global head of investment banking coverage and advisory, Deutsche Bank
  • 2013 Global head of real estate investment banking group (REIB), Deutsche Bank
  • 2010 Head of REIB for the Americas, Deutsche Bank

And Mr Goldman is optimistic about the future. “I haven’t been more excited about where we are as an institution than I am today. The management board has given us the tools to really be successful,” he says, citing the efforts by CEO Christian Sewing to address the challenges that had been suppressing the bank’s performance, as well as the strong regional leadership provided by Christiana Riley, CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, who also sits on the management board.


Such efforts do appear to be paying off. The institution overall reported pre-tax profits of €554m for the third quarter of 2021 – a 15% year-on-year increase – which follows a run of good results recently, including its first annual net profit since 2014 with its full-year 2020 results. In the past four months, all three major agencies have also upgraded Deutsche’s credit ratings, citing the success of its restructuring efforts in creating a safer and more profitable bank.

Mr Goldman suggests the efforts around de-risking and restoring the bank’s reputation over the past couple of years have enabled his team to now focus on growth, “to really be able to do what we need to do, which is focus on our clients, focus on transactions, focus on winning new business, focus on retention, focus on selective new hires, and add real value to all our conversations with clients”.

Winning mandates

The bank has maintained its historical strength in debt capital markets, both on leveraged and investment grade debt, remaining a permanent fixture in both the global and US top-10 league tables. For mergers and acquisitions (M&A), this is a case of a recovery in progress. Mr Goldman comments it has been challenging in recent years “because of the reputational and talent issues we faced. But we are now recovering market share and it’s moving in the right direction.”

Deutsche Bank has recently been a sole advisor to food company Dole in its cross-border merger with Total Produce and an advisor to betting company Entain in relation to two recent takeover bids. Mr Goldman stresses the importance of rebuilding its reputation in order to succeed in this area. “The way that you get hired for strategic M&A transactions is by having the right people on your platform, who have the trust of boards and management teams, and if you don’t have that, then you’re not going to win the assignments,” he says. “We had a little less consistency in recent years, but our lower risk profile, more stability and improving relationships with our key stakeholders will give greater confidence in our abilities.”

On the equity capital markets (ECM) side, the bank’s notable strategic decision to exit large parts of equities trading, but maintain its presence in the primary markets, has already been bearing fruit. Both in relation to special-purpose acquisition company deals and in the broader market, Deutsche has been wining some notable mandates, including Vici Properties’ €2.9bn accelerated bookbuild in September 2021 and Rivian Automotive’s $11.9bn initial public offering (IPO) in November 2021.

Mr Goldman believes the bank’s focused ECM model, where it is solely looking to support clients with IPOs and other primary ECM offerings, is a real strength. “Our business model, which is differentiated and unconflicted, has really resonated with clients,” he says. “If you look at our relationships with institutional investors, the only things our people are selling are our research and equity offerings. We’re not selling prime brokerage, we’re not selling derivatives, etc. It means we are able to say to our clients, when supporting them on equity capital raises, that we work for them.”

Right talent and right culture

Having the right talent is at the crux of Mr Goldman’s plans for future success. He reflects that the bank’s challenges in recent years, even if they were not directly related to his division, had at times “impacted our ability to retain talent and to recruit”. But now, he says, “we’re bringing people onto the platform who are excited to be here”.

[Diversity] allows you to bring in a range of people that are excited to be here, and to have a range of perspectives

Drew Goldman

Mr Goldman, along with his boss Mark Fedorcik, who heads up the investment bank, have set great store on creating a positive and inclusive culture, which “creates a better working environment, leading to more success”. Asked which leader he models himself on, he refers to the fictional football coach, Ted Lasso, from the eponymous Apple TV series who, Mr Goldman says, “builds people up, rather than tearing them down”.

He is keen to dispel any idea that being a supportive leader equates to not being concerned about results. “It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be successful or don’t try really hard, or that we don’t leave it all out on the soccer pitch. But you can do it in a positive way,” Mr Goldman says. It is a question, he adds, of striking the right balance. In reference to long hours that junior bankers throughout the industry have reportedly been working during the past few years to support clients during the pandemic, the key is, he says, to provide a positive experience where, although they may be working hard, “it's closely monitored, they are getting every opportunity to learn, included in important client meetings and getting positive affirmation about the value of what they are doing”.

Diverse backgrounds

There has also been an increased focus on hiring more diverse talent. Mr Goldman is pleased to highlight that in the Americas, 41% of this year’s graduate class were women, an increase from 28% the year before. And for black talent, there has been an increase to 10% from 4%. For the interns, this was 54% female representation, up from 38%, and 15% for black talent versus 7%.

He accepts that it can be easier to attract new recruits into entry level roles than the tougher nut to crack, which is ensuring retention and that all levels of the bank, up to the most senior ranks, are composed of people from a range of backgrounds. But he believes the payoff is worth the effort and these actions are the start of a longer-term change. “It’s natural for people to want to surround themselves with people like them and it’s taken work to change that mentality,” he says. “It’s important that as an industry we keep this up. Banking is becoming a much more diverse place, not just in relation to women and underrepresented minorities, but also in the schools people attended and their socio-economic backgrounds. It allows you to bring in a range of people that are excited to be here, and to have a range of perspectives.”

New HQ

A physical embodiment of this renewed sense of optimism and ambition is the bank’s new US headquarters in Manhattan’s Midtown district, which staff are currently in the process of moving to. The offices, which include a space formerly used as TV studios by broadcaster CNN (that will now be used as a high-ceilinged trading floor), significant collaborative working spaces and plenty of natural light and views over the park, are, according to Mr Goldman, “how an office should be in today's day and age, and frankly, reminds me of the sort of offices that large technology companies might have planned for themselves”.

Deutsche Bank’s US staff have been returning to office-based working since early September and Mr Goldman reflects that together with the relocation, and the chance to host a variety of events in the new space, this has provided an opportunity for staff to reconnect and injected a sense of excitement. “It’s put a big smile on my face and I think the move will be a game changer for us. It’s more representative of who we are as a bank, with the right workspaces for our teams and to meet with clients, and demonstrates our commitment to the US.”


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