July 14, 2024

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Deutsche hires former Citi banker Alison Harding-Jones as global M&A head

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Deutsche Bank has named former Citigroup dealmaker Alison Harding-Jones as its new global head of mergers and acquisitions, as the German lender seeks to improve its standing in the competitive business dominated by Wall Street.

Harding-Jones starts next week based in London and will report to Mark Fedorcik, co-head of Deutsche’s investment bank, according to a statement on Thursday. She left her previous role as head of Citi’s M&A business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in March.

“I look forward to her leadership in taking our global M&A franchise to the next level,” Fedorcik said. “She has . . . over 30 years of experience negotiating complex, high-profile transactions across multiple different sectors and regions.”

Harding-Jones — one of the most prominent female bankers in the region — joins at a difficult time for dealmaking. Companies remain reluctant to make major acquisitions after interest rates and debt costs rose rapidly, and with high levels of geopolitical tension from wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

M&A transactions fell 17 per cent to $2.9tn last year, the first time volumes have dipped below $3tn since 2013. The sharpest drop was in Europe, Deutsche’s home turf, where deals fell 28 per cent annually versus a more modest 6 per cent decline in the US.

The subdued activity has hit M&A fees, which fell 26 per cent to $29bn, their lowest level since 2016. This will probably result in deep cuts to investment bankers’ annual bonus pools, which are finalised this month.

Harding-Jones faces a tough task to restore the position and prestige of Deutsche after years of retrenchment and restructuring at its investment bank.

For the past two years, the German lender has ranked outside the top 10 in the M&A league tables, according to data from Dealogic, at 17th globally and 11th in the Emea region in 2023.

Goldman Sachs retained its leading position, followed by JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Citi was eighth, followed by European banks UBS and Barclays.

Harding-Jones ran Citi’s M&A operations in the Emea region from 2017 and before then spent 28 years at UBS, including leading its Asia-Pacific M&A business based in Hong Kong.

She worked on deals including Philip Morris International’s acquisition of the smokeless tobacco company Swedish Match, and the £4bn purchase of UK department store Selfridges by Thai conglomerate Central Group and Austrian group Signa in 2021.

Berthold Fürst and Bruce Evans, who had been running Deutsche’s M&A business on an interim basis, will continue in their capacities as head of investment banking coverage for Emea and the Americas, respectively, the statement said.

The previous global head of M&A, Drew Goldman, left the bank in October 2022 to join the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority as the sovereign wealth fund’s global head of real estate.

Video: The worst year for banks since 2008 | FT Film


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