Deutsche Bank is investigating a bond purchase by its global head of human resources that appeared to have breached the lender’s rules designed to prevent insider trading, people familiar with the matter said.
Michael Ilgner, a former professional water polo player who joined the bank in 2020, bought €201,000 worth of Deutsche bonds on April 18, according to a regulatory disclosure, just over a week before the lender released its first-quarter results.
The bank’s internal compliance rules forbid employees from buying Deutsche’s own securities in the eight weeks before its quarterly results are released. Its rules are stricter than German law, which bans employees from making such purchases for 30 days before half-year and annual results are published.
Ahead of the release of its quarterly results, Deutsche informs employees about the so-called “closed period” during which trading in the bank’s securities is banned. For its first quarter, the period ran from March 5 to April 27, the day the earnings were published.
According to the regulatory filing, Ilgner purchased a Deutsche Bank bond with a two-year maturity that was issued on April 18 and carries a 3 per cent coupon.
In a statement, Deutsche Bank said that it had “distinct policies and controls governing personal securities transactions of its employees.” It added that “irrespective of hierarchy, we are taking these principles very seriously, also in this case. We are holistically looking into this matter. If and to the extent merited, we will take appropriate consequences”.
Ilgner declined to comment through a bank’s spokesperson. The executive’s bond purchase was first reported on Friday by Finanz-Szene, a German banking newsletter.
A person familiar with the matter said there was no evidence that Ilgner had acted in bad faith or sought to exploit insider information when he purchased the bond.
Ilgner joined Deutsche from Deutsche Sporthilfe, a charity that supports German athletes. At the time of his appointment Ilgner was expected to join the bank’s executive board once he received regulatory approval.
But he was not promoted in a management reshuffle the bank announced alongside its quarterly results this week. Instead of reporting directly to Sewing, human resources will report into Deutsche’s new chief operating officer Rebecca Short.
The purchase by Ilgner will renew questions about the regard that Deutsche senior executives have for its internal compliance rules.
Last year, the bank was fined $200mn for the widespread use of WhatsApp and other unapproved communication servers. Following the investigation by US authorities, executive board members agreed to waive €75,000 of their bonuses.
The bank’s supervisory board last year imposed a bonus cut for all executive board members over the slow progress they had made in improving internal controls.