[FRANKFURT] Deutsche Bank is considering splitting off its entire retail division and listing it on the stock exchange should lawmakers approve measures to force banks to isolate risky trading activities, a person with knowledge of the plans said.
Under this scenario, Deutsche would keep investment banking and asset management while gradually floating its retail operations in hopes of joining forces with a foreign partner willing to do battle in Germany's highly competitive market for consumer banking, the source said.
Deutsche Bank said, "We have been transparent that the bank will review and update its strategy over the course of the coming year. It is irresponsible to speculate on the sale of any business."
The considerations are at a purely theoretical stage, the source said, to be considered in case regulators impose restrictions that erode incentives for a big investment bank like Deutsche to maintain full ownership of a retail chain. Floating its retail operation would open the door to the possibility of joining forces with a large foreign partner, the source said.
The source declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media. Germany's largest lender launched a strategic review earlier in January saying it would examine its business lines and profit targets.
The bank has not ruled out selling its Postbank-branded retail unit, which it bought in steps starting in 2008.