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Bonuses safe, Deutsche tells staff

STAFF AT the City offices of BT Alex.Brown have been told that their 1998 bonuses will not be affected by the $10bn takeover by Germany's Deutsche Bank and will paid out as planned in January.

In an internal e-mail to staff, following the merger deal announced on Monday, Frank Newman, the Bankers Trust chairman, said: "Until the merger closes in the coming months BT will continue to operate independently and bonuses and promotions for 1998 will continue to be approved in our normal process and announced as planned in January."

Deutsche's chief executive, Rolf Breuer, said on Monday that 5,500 jobs would go as a result of the merger, with most of the cuts falling in London and New York.

The top three members of the integration committee, Yves de Balman, Michael Philipp, and Edson Mitchell, met Bankers staff in London yesterday for a series of meetings at which they promised to have the outlines of the new management structure in place early in the New Year.

"Meritocracy will be the driving force behind the merger," Mr de Balman told staff yesterday.

Yesterday's assurances have been met with a certain amount of scepticism by BT Alex.Brown staff.

"How can they decide what bonuses to pay before they have decided who will stay and who will go?" said one BT Alex.Brown insider.