Korea, it seems, likes brand names. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs has prospered in that country. Less so, until now, Deutsche Bank, an institution more commonly regarded as a commercial bank rather than as an advisor for corporate finance work.
So said Ahn Sung-eun in a recent interview with The Korean Herald. Ahn joined the German bank to head its global corporate finance office in Seoul from Salomon Smith Barney last year. He is quoted: 'Deutsche was not fully recognized as an investment bank (in Korea). People's perceptions were that it was more a commercial bank. The difficulty we had in the first six months was to change perceptions that Deutsche was a global investment banking firm'.
Deutsche is now a player in M&A in the region and, according to Ahn, has enough business in the pipeline for a top three position in the league table for this year.
Rivals accuse the bank of undercutting fees in order to get work, something Ahn denies. He said: 'Our goal is to be the top investment bank in Korea, not only in terms of size and number of deals but also in quality of advice we provide......The bottom line is that we need to have integrity and provide advice that is custom tailored and adds value'. It also helps if you have a brand name.