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Deutsche Bank aims to generate 20% of revenues from APAC, region head says

Deutsche Bank AG will seek to expand its activities in the Asia-Pacific region over the next few years, growing the region's share of total revenues to 20% from currently 14%, according to Werner Steinmüller, CEO of the group's APAC unit.

The largest German private lender considers success in Asia "critical" for its global business, and the ultimate goal is to have APAC contributing somewhere in the range of 25% to 30% to total revenues, similar to the share of the U.S. business, Steinmüller said in an interview with The Edge Financial Daily published Dec. 29.

The group, which is two years into a five-year restructuring plan, seeks opportunities to win back business it lost over the past few years as investor confidence in its ability to stay profitable declined due to Deutsche Bank's crisis legacy issues and especially high litigation charges.

But litigation costs have come down and the group has gradually started to regain lost market share, according to Steinmüller.

APAC is expected to play a bigger role for the group's future growth. Steinmüller's move to the region is a sign of Deutsche Bank's greater interest in the region as he is the first ever board member to work out of Asia, according to The Edge Financial Daily.

The goal for the APAC division is to grow at the pace of GDP growth in the region, which means finding new opportunities to expand, Steinmüller said, expressing confidence in good growth prospects for 2018.

Corporate finance, global markets, transaction banking, wealth management and asset management are the five key product areas in which the group will look to expand in the future. Short-term expansion plans include more investments in asset management operations in China and global transaction banking in Australia, according to Steinmüller.

Given the very competitive environment in APAC banking, Deutsche Bank plans to focus on multinational corporate clients and Asian companies interested in growing internationally, the unit chief said.

Apart from regulatory issues, most notably the Basel III capital requirements, the biggest challenge for Deutsche Bank over the next few years will be digitization as a larger part of foreign exchange, bond and cash equities trading becomes automated, he said. However, financial technology companies should not be seen as foes but rather important cooperation partners, he noted.

In the APAC region, Deutsche Bank is currently present in 15 countries and has 19,000 staff in total.