DowJones

FRANKFURT — Another poor quarter is forcing Deutsche Bank AG, Europe’s biggest banking company, to rethink the costly expansion of its private client and asset management businesses, areas it had expected to drive growth.

Next week, the company is scheduled to report its second-quarter results, which are widely expected to show that it is struggling to make headway in selling investment services to retail customers and institutional investors.

Such results would put pressure on chief executive Rolf Breuer, who announced in March that Deutsche’s newly formed retail banking and asset management division, which was cobbled together from five separate divisions, would drive earnings growth, and that profits from its investment banking arm would be flat.

“The private client and asset management group is clearly the growth story of Deutsche Bank going forward,” he wrote in an e-mail to colleagues.

Mr. Breuer later predicted that the retail and asset management division’s pretax profits would rise by 30% this year. Soon afterward, the division’s profits fell 57% from a year earlier as falling stock markets scared off retail investors.

The second-quarter results will be worse than those for the first, analysts say. “If anything, the retail investor has become less active in the second quarter,” said David Williams, a bank analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.

Mr. Breuer conceded as much at a banking conference this month. “If client interest isn’t there, then the business cannot bloom,” he said.

While he attributed the problems of the private client and asset management division to weak markets, the company has also contributed to its own problems by failing to get its costs under control.

Deutsche Asset Management, which caters to institutional investors worldwide, has hired a number of expensive staffers, including employees from the company’s securities arm, but its client fees has dropped. The company is now reviewing its hiring policy, and some insiders predict that jobs will be cut.

So far the retail and private banking operations have failed to generate enough acquisitions or alliances to help it expand in Europe and the United States, despite Deutsche Bank’s frequent pledges to find partners.

A Deutsche spokesman declined to comment on the firm’s second-quarter results.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.