GERMANY/UK - Deutsche Asset Management in the UK has declined comment on a newspaper report indicating that the investment bank Hawkpoint has been hired to explore its possible sale.

A spokeswoman for DeAM in the UK said: “I have no comment on the report. All I can say is that the business is currently under review and that review will not be completed until the end of this quarter.”

“A sale is one of many possible options, but for right now Deutsche Bank has made clear its commitment to fixing the business,” the spokeswoman added.

Citing senior sources within Deutsche, Financial News reported Wednesday that Hawkpoint was currently sounding out interest in the market for a purchase of DeAM in the UK. It quoted analysts as saying the asset manager was worth a maximum of €1.1bn

Hawkpoint could not be reached for further comment.

Deutsche placed DeAM in the UK under review after the asset manager lost tens of billions of euros worth of institutional mandates last year. The main reason for the enormous loss of business was DeAM’s poor performance in equities.

Despite the losses, the spokeswoman pointed out that DeAM in the UK remained an important part of Deutsche’s entire asset management division. According to her, it has €78.5bn in assets under management, €3.3bn of which is managed by DWS retail funds.

Experts on Deutsche Bank observed that while selling DeAM in the UK was a long-term possibility, the German bank would try to fix the business first.

“My feeling is that Josef Ackermann (Deutsche’s chief executive) is serious about giving the business a last chance,” said Georg Kanders, a bank analyst at WestLB in Düsseldorf. “That’s because if he were to sell it, it would be an admission that Deutsche’s much heralded expansion to London was a failure.”

Kanders added that there was nothing unusual about Deutsche hiring an investment bank to explore a possible sale of DeAM in the UK, as that was what is done in any business review.