FTG Blog - Deutsche Bank Faces Possible $60 Million Derivative Loss

Deutsche Bank Faces Possible $60 Million Derivative Loss

Deutsche Bank AG, the German lender seeking to overhaul how it manages risks, made a bet on U.S. inflation that puts the firm on course to lose as much as $60 million, people familiar with the matter said.

The trade used derivative products tied to U.S. inflation, said the people, who requested anonymity because the details aren’t public. The Frankfurt-based lender has been examining whether Deutsche Bank traders breached risk limits on the deal, some of the people said. The case has been escalated to the bank’s supervisory board, one person said.

Such a loss would be a setback for Chief Executive Officer John Cryan, who has been trying to improve the lender’s risk and operational controls that have drawn scorn from regulators around the world. A risk limit violation could indicate a weakness in the bank’s oversight of its traders in a business that earned about $270 million in the first quarter. Just two months ago, the Federal Reserve fined the firm for failing to ensure that traders abide by the Volcker Rule, a U.S. law that restricts lenders from using their own funds to make speculative trades.

An official for Deutsche Bank in New York declined to comment.

Deutsche Bank made the trade in anticipation of how clients were going to transact and isn’t expecting the bet to reverse, one of the people said. Inflation traders buy and sell bonds linked to inflation, such as Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, and other derivatives such as options.

In a separate case, the bank last year began a review into whether it misstated the value of derivatives used to bet on inflation, known as zero-coupon inflation swaps. The bank shared its findings with U.S. authorities, Bloomberg reported.

The German lender’s fixed-income pretax profit was driven by 2.3 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in revenue in the first quarter, an 11 percent increase on the year earlier. Revenue from products tied to interest rates was “significantly higher,” Deutsche Bank said.