UPDATE: June 3, 2021: Deutsche Bank’s U.S.-based investment bankers should expect to return to the office no later than the Labor Day holiday, Sept. 6, the German lender said in a memo seen Wednesday by the Financial Times and Bloomberg.
“We are encouraged to see the rapid increase of in-person client meetings and that so many of you have resumed working from a DB office some or all of the working week,” Drew Goldman, Deutsche’s head of investment banking coverage and advisory, and James Davies, the bank’s head of U.S. investment banking, wrote in the memo. “Given it is important that you are able to plan for the remainder of the year, please plan for all our teams to resume operating from the office no later than Labor Day.”
Deutsche laid out a tiered approach, by role, for how often certain employees should plan to work from the bank’s offices. Risk takers — those “most involved in committing the firm’s capital and undertaking a significant volume of transactions” — will likely return to Deutsche’s offices full time, investment-banking executives Mark Fedorcik and Ram Nayak said in a separate memo Tuesday. “Client-facing” staff, meanwhile, will be allowed to work remotely about one day a week. Support staff can expect “a level of remote working” to likely be available, the executives said.
“The variety of roles we have in the investment bank is such that no single approach could accommodate the full breadth of risk profiles, supervision requirements and connectivity needs in our division,” Fedorcik and Nayak said, according to Bloomberg.
Separately, Deutsche's Goldman noted in a LinkedIn post last month that 92% of the bank's summer interns elected to work from the office.
Deutsche Bank CFO James von Moltke said in April the bank told its employees it would let them work from home 40% to 60% of the time, going forward.
The bank last September told its New York City-area employees they wouldn't be expected to return to the office until July 2021 — at the time the latest anticipated return date in the industry — to coincide with the opening of a new headquarters in Columbus Circle.
- Deutsche Bank told New York City-area employees Wednesday they won't be expected to return to the office until July 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- "Many of you do not wish to return to 60 Wall Street soon," Matthias Krause, the bank's chief of staff for the Americas, wrote in a memo seen by Bloomberg and the Journal. "We will ask you to return to the office when we move into our new building, Deutsche Bank Center, assuming the environment at that time allows a safe return."
- The office-return timeline stands in stark contrast to that of JPMorgan Chase, which last week told managing and executive directors in sales and trading that they and their teams must return to the office Sept. 21.
Return timelines have been a point of contention and variation among banks as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Several banks and finance companies used the Labor Day holiday as a benchmark for return. And since then, a number have rolled out return plans that range from aggressive to flexible.
Citi last week circulated a survey to its employees in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, gauging interest in returning to the office Oct. 5. Bank of America also soon plans to ask some traders to prepare to come back toward the end of October, the Journal reported. Employees who have a health condition or are uncomfortable with the idea can opt out, a spokesperson told the publication.
American Express, at the other end of the spectrum, extended its optional remote-work policy through June 30, 2021.
Deutsche's timeline would be among the most lenient in finance. Krause, in his memo, cited workers' "understandable concerns about public transportation, cleanliness, security and other quality of life issues," adding "the continuing balancing of your work and your children's sporadic school schedule" can be a continued difficulty.
The German lender counts about 8,000 U.S. employees, the Journal reported — although it has recently shrunk its stateside footprint. About 5,000 are set to work in the bank's Columbus Circle headquarters when it opens next year. The bank has planned to move from Wall Street for more than two years.
Deutsche's office-return plan in Europe is more accelerated. The bank invited about 20% of its London employees back to the office Sept. 7, up from 10%, according to Financial News.
JPMorgan found a snag in its return strategy in the past week, when an equities trader at the bank's temporary Manhattan headquarters was found to be COVID-positive, prompting the company to send home its New York staff.
Swiss banking giant UBS, for one, told senior sales and trading employees Monday they won't follow JPMorgan's lead in returning employees to the office, the Journal reported, citing an anonymous source.
Sales and trading employees at Deutsche have been returning to the bank's New York headquarters since the beginning of summer, although many work from home two or three days a week and may continue to do so beyond the immediate future, according to the Journal.