Dalman set to quit Commerzbank

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The Independent Online

Mehmet Dalman, the head of investment banking at Commerzbank and banker to Richard Desmond, the Daily Express owner, is leaving the German bank to set up a hedge fund, according to sources.

Mr Dalman is expected to be replaced by Wolfgang Matis, who currently heads Deutsche Bank's fixed-income business. Commerzbank declined to comment on any move.

The Frankfurt-based bank is reviewing its loss-making investment banking business and will announce the results towards the end of October, a spokesman said yesterday. The review is being undertaken by the consultancy firm Mercer Oliver Wyman.

Klaus-Peter Muller, the chairman of Commerzbank, told investors last week that the report would focus on "resizing" the business, which could mean boosting some operations and closing down others. The so-called securities division posted a pre-tax loss of €47m (£32m) in the second quarter.

Mr Dalman, 46, a Cypriot, is expected to take two bankers with him including Mark Richardson, the head of derivatives. Mr Dalman considered leaving Commerzbank, which is Germany's third-largest bank, during the summer but decided to stay after assurances that he could run a hedge fund business within Commerzbank.

Mr Dalman, a member of Commerzbank's management board, was hired to build up the investment banking operation in London. He is thought to be a friend of Mr Desmond, whose £125m acquisition of the Express group was bankrolled by Commerzbank four years ago.

Mr Dalman is also understood to have advised Malcolm Glazer, the billionaire linked to a bid for Manchester United. Mr Glazer, who owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has built a 19.3 per cent stake in the Premier League club, making him the second-largest shareholder after Cubic Expression, the vehicle of the Irish racehorse owners JP McManus and John Magnier, which owns 29.2 per cent.

Mr Dalman, who studied in London, joined Commerzbank in 1997 after stints at several investment banks in the capital. He was the first foreigner to join the German bank's management board.

Omar Bayoumi, the bank's head of investment banking in the Americas, resigned yesterday, adding to a string of departures at Commerzbank this year. Mark Eban quit as global head of capital markets on Monday, while Philip Wale, who headed equity trading, left last month after the resignations of David Brawn and James Kinglake earlier this year.