How will you integrate Bankers Trust into your operation? BREUER: For the combined enterprise to be successful, it must function as a single, fully integrated institution. That has absolute priority. Asking about autonomy is actually the wrong question. Having said that, there will be plenty of room for personal and organizational initiative in the combined organization.

How do you plan to deal with any culture clashes between Deutsche Bank and Bankers Trust?

BREUER: I don't expect any problems. We are absolutely international. We have fantastic American business heads already. This is not the story of Germany meets American, of a culture clash.

One-third of all staff of Deutsche Bank is neither German nor works in Germany. And that will change to one half after the acquisition of Bankers Trust. Deutsche Bank and Bankers Trust have quite a lot in common. We are both relationship-oriented, committed to, and quite good at, establishing long-term client relationships.

What will be the future direction of Deutsche Bank?

BREUER: Deutsche Bank at the corporate level is pursuing a dual-focus strategy. Our first is on European retail distribution/asset gathering. As Europe's retirement systems are shifting from defined benefit to defined contribution, Deutsche Bank is positioning itself as the leading asset gatherer and manager in Europe.

Our second focus is on global wholesale/global finance business with corporates and institutions. Our unique trans-Atlantic platform will allow us to be a strong global player not only in corporate finance and capital markets, but also in asset management and transactional services/custody.

Early last year, Deutsche Bank indicated it was scaling back its U.S. operations because it believed it was more important to concentrate on building up in Europe. Why the change of heart?

BREUER: There must have been a misperception. Deutsche Bank never indicated it was scaling back its U.S. operations. We always stressed that we want to be one of the leading global participants in wholesale banking. And global means you have to have a strong presence in the U.S.

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