Anshu Jain, Who Took Deutsche Bank to Wall Street, Dies at 59


Anshu Jain, who helped transform Deutsche Bank from a conservative middle-market lender in Germany into a Wall Street giant and who eventually became its first non-European chief executive, died on Saturday in London, where he lived. He was 59.

The cause was cancer of the intestines, his family said in a statement.

Mr. Jain, who joined Deutsche Bank in the mid-1990s, helped build the bank’s Wall Street businesses, not only advising companies but trading in the complex financial products whose sudden collapse in value in 2008 set off a global panic in the financial markets.

He later took over as co-chief executive in 2012, just as Deutsche Bank was making a series of real estate loans to Donald J. Trump, providing funds that allowed him to refinance a skyscraper in Chicago, buy a golf resort in Florida and renovate the Old Post Office Building in Washington, his last big venture before running for president.

Mr. Jain resigned in 2015 after a downturn in Deutsche Bank’s fortunes, caused largely by the increasingly complex activities he and his fellow executives had promoted. Even as other banks had tried to simplify and pare down their investment businesses after the 2008 crisis, Mr. Jain had pressed on, to the bank’s ultimate detriment.

In 2017, he became the president of the U.S.-based investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald.

“He achieved tremendous things,” said David Folkerts-Landau, Deutsche Bank’s global head of research, who worked with Mr. Jain for 20 years. “He did not achieve his full potential. He could have moved into the pantheon of finance if times had been just a little bit more fortunate for him.”

In a statement emailed to reporters, Alexander Wynaendts, the chairman of Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board, said Mr. Jain had “played a key role in expanding Deutsche Bank’s position in our global business with companies and institutional investors” and more broadly in helping to solidify “Europe as a financial center.”

Anshuman Jain was born in January 1963 in Jaipur, India, and reared by parents who followed Jainism, an Indian religion whose precepts include doing no harm to any living thing. The family was vegetarian, a diet to which Mr. Jain adhered throughout his life. His parents were intellectuals, avid bridge players and, as Mr. Jain’s wife, Geetika Jain, put it, “obsessive newspaper readers.”

In the Jain family, his close friend Madhav Dhar said, “there was an ethos of hard work, integrity, asceticism, not being outrageous, not being lavish, and a tremendous focus on education.”

Mr. Jain’s father, Ambuj Jain, worked for the Indian Audit and Accounts Service, a government agency, which posted him to a new place every three years. As a result, Anshu moved around often as a child, at one point spending three years in Kabul, Afghanistan. He attended Shri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi, where he met Geetika.

After graduating, he followed her and her family to the United States. At 20, he received an M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Mr. Jain began his financial career at the securities firm Kidder, Peabody & Co., but soon moved to Merrill Lynch.

He faced a tough environment there, according to David Enrich, a business reporter and editor for The New York Times, who wrote “Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump and an Epic Trail of Destruction” (2020). Mr. Jain, Mr. Enrich wrote, “had to contend with the largely Irish Catholic sales force” at Merrill whose members were “repeatedly mistaking him for an IT guy.”

But Mr. Jain excelled as a derivatives salesman and soon became one of the youngest-ever managing directors at the firm, Mr. Enrich wrote. In 1995, at 32, Mr. Jain was one of a group of young Merrill superstars who were lured away to Deutsche Bank by the founder of Merril’s derivatives business.

At Deutsche Bank he established a reputation as an expert in the burgeoning world of hedge funds. He often pushed for more freedom to do new things at greater speed, lobbying his bosses to approve trades without presenting them to the risk committee at the bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, according to Mr. Enrich.

As he ascended to increasingly powerful positions in Deutsche Bank’s investment bank, eventually becoming its chief, Mr. Jain built a cadre of loyal underlings who became known within the bank as “Anshu’s army.” Their path to power and wealth was smoothed by Deutsche Bank’s aggressive efforts to weaken German banking regulations and limit oversight of the bank’s operations.

The trades Mr. Jain made popular earned the bank billions of dollars. In the lead-up to the 2008 crisis, his team was one of very few on Wall Street that bet that the prices of mortgage-backed securities would fall, a triumph of foresight that belonged squarely to Mr. Jain, Mr. Folkerts-Landau said.

But some of the bank’s complicated trades also caused problems. In one case it was accused of using derivative trades to help the Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena hide losses, though judgments against Deutsche Bank in an Italian court were later overturned on appeal.

In 2012, the bank’s board appointed Mr. Jain and a German banker, Jürgen Fitschen, as co-chief executives. Founded in 1870, Deutsche Bank, the country’s largest financial institution, was by then so powerful in Germany that its leaders were sometimes viewed as quasi-governmental, exerting strong influence over German politicians.

At Deutsche Bank, Mr. Jain faced obstacles as an immigrant, including episodes of racism, colleagues said. “The local media insisted on pointing out, in just about every story, that he was Indian,” Mr. Enrich wrote. Mr. Fitschen, he added, “apologetically explained to one colleague that Germans didn’t look fondly upon outsiders in the banking sector.”

Mr. Jain never wanted to talk about the discrimination — at least not at work. He emphasized focusing on business and using his skills as a salesman to overcome prejudice. “You move on, charm and win,” Mr. Jain’s friend Mr. Dhar said. “That was his way.”

In an interview, Ms. Jain and the Jains’ son, Arjun, 30, and daughter, Aranya, 28, said that Mr. Jain had sought to help young Indians succeed in financial careers in London, where he spent most of his time. When he recruited Indians for entry-level positions at Deutsche Bank, he would advise them on how to dress and how to fit in in London.

In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by his mother, Shashi Jain, and his brother, Ashwin.

Mr. Jain took over as Deutsche Bank’s co-C.E.O. just as the bank began lending to Mr. Trump again, almost a decade after Mr. Trump had defaulted on bond payments that he owed the bank’s clients.

Mr. Jain had once sworn off doing business with Mr. Trump, but bankers in another division made hundreds of millions of dollars in new loans to Mr. Trump’s businesses from 2012 to 2014. Current and former bank employees said the loans were made without Mr. Jain’s knowledge or approval.

By the time Mr. Trump was elected president in 2016, Deutsche Bank was his biggest creditor.

The loans have since come under scrutiny by the New York State authorities over allegations that Mr. Trump defrauded the bank by falsely inflating the values of his assets. But there have been no accusations of wrongdoing by the bank or by Mr. Jain in these cases.

In 2014, the bank’s chief financial officer reported that it had spent more than $460 million the previous year on legal fees to handle 6,000 lawsuits and investigations over allegations of misconduct and oversight failures. On Mr. Jain’s watch, the bank, along with other Wall Street firms, was caught manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, which is used to set interest rates for trillions of dollars of consumer loans.

The bank agreed to pay $2.5 billion in penalties to American and British regulators to settle the matter in 2015. The authorities later accused the bank of helping Russian clients launder money from 2011 to 2015 using mirror trades — stock purchases and sales executed simultaneously in London and Moscow that effectively let some Deutsche Bank clients transform rubles into dollars in secret.

By mid-2015, Mr. Jain could no longer withstand the criticism from shareholders, regulators and the public over the bank’s sinking share price and its multitude of regulatory troubles. He stepped down, and a new co-chief executive, John Cryan, was appointed.

Mr. Jain finished his career at Cantor Fitzgerald, where he was named president in 2017. He was diagnosed with duodenal cancer early that year but continued working. (Even as recently as three months ago, Mr. Jain, an avid photographer, traveled to the Serengeti in Africa with his wife and son to photograph cheetahs and lions.)

To build up Cantor’s businesses, Mr. Jain recruited new chiefs for each division and helped overhaul their management procedures to bring them into closer alignment with one another.

“The success the company had over those five years was enormous,” said Cantor’s chief executive, Howard Lutnick. “Every statistic of the company is better.”



Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/17/business/dealbook/anshu-jain-dead.html