New York City is considering dropping Deutsche Bank AG as its manager for $50 billion of pension fund assets after a dozen executives left the world's largest bank.
Losing the account to invest in funds that mimic the performance of the Russell 2000 stock index could cost Deutsche Asset Management as much as $10 million in lost fees, according to pension fund managers.
The $92 billion New York City fund is starting a search for a new index manager because "the expertise at Deutsche Bank is no longer there," said Nicole Lise, assistant press secretary to New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi.
The departures of 12 executives last month may also prompt the Los Angeles County Employees' Retirement Association in Pasadena, Calif., to pull $7 billion from Deutsche Bank. Kenneth Shaffer, chief investment officer at the $26 billion fund, said the fund will meet with Deutsche officials next week.
Georgia-Pacific Group, the No. 2 U.S. paper and lumber company, said it pulled $57 million in pension money from the bank's index group at the beginning of the month because of personnel losses. The fund gave the business to Merrill Lynch & Co., which has hired several former Deutsche Bank index fund managers and traders.
A spokeswoman for Deutsche wasn't immediately available to comment.
Last month, Frank Salerno, Anthony Conroy, Philip Green, Sidney Hoots and Richard Vella left Deutsche Bank to establish Merrill Lynch Quantitative Advisors. They have since been joined by seven others, including Phillip Bertani, Chong Khai Chuan, Jane Curley, Vinay Mendiratta and Jody Panchak. They were all at Bankers Trust Corp. before it was acquired by Deutsche Bank in June.
Vella was manager of the index fund and Salerno headed the index investments unit at Bankers Trust.
Deutsche Asset Management is the world's third-biggest manager of funds that track benchmarks such as the Standard & Poor's 500 and Morgan Stanley Capital International EAFE indexes. Altogether, Deutsche manages about $375 billion.