March 17, 2008

At the heart of the Empire: DB’s London branch opened 135 years ago, the “London Agency” was Deutsche Bank’s first European foreign branch

Deutsche Bank opened its London branch on 8 March 1873, a time when the centre of the British Empire was also the world’s leading commercial and financial metropolis. The “London Agency” was Deutsche Bank’s first European foreign branch.

Setting up a branch in London had been a top priority for Deutsche Bank since its founding in 1870. However, for legal reasons, it was initially prevented from doing so. As a temporary solution, it founded the German Bank of London Ltd with several German partners in March 1871. Two years later, Deutsche Bank was authorised to operate under its own name in the City of London.

The London office soon became Deutsche Bank’s most profitable branch, and it was inevitable that the company's largest competitors in Germany would soon follow in its footsteps. As expected, Dresdner Bank opened a branch in London in 1895, and was followed by Disconto-Gesellschaft in 1899.

The outbreak of World War I in 1914 brought about an end to business activities and led to the seizure of assets and ultimately the compulsory sale of the London premises in 1917. The complicated liquidation of the London Agency lasted until 1928, and showed just how extensive and important its business had become.

In 1973, Deutsche Bank returned to London with a representative office, which it converted into a branch in 1976. The acquisition of London-based merchant bank Morgan Grenfell in 1989 further bolstered Deutsche Bank’s presence in the British capital, and at the end of 1994, Deutsche Bank consolidated its investment banking activities in London.

Today, with some 7,000 employees from 90 nations, Deutsche Bank is one of the largest employers in the City of London.

Contact: historische.gesellschaft@db.com


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