New Captain at Deutsche Bank

07/21/2015 10:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Ian Wyatt

Publisher & Chief Investment Strategist, Wyatt Investment Research

When investing in banks, it can pay to go big. And our latest global recommendation is certainly big, asserts Ian Wyatt, editor of High Yield Wealth.

Deutsche Bank AG (DB) is by far the biggest bank in Germany; its market cap exceeds $49 billion and it holds $2.65 trillion in assets.

That tells us that downside is limited. The German government will ensure that. Size imparts its own unique economic moat.  

DB is not only big, it's cheap. Its shares trade at 0.65 times book value. In comparison, Wells Fargo (WFC) trades at 1.7 times book value, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) trades at 1.1 times book value, and Goldman Sachs (GS) trades at 1.2 times book value.

If Deutsche Bank were simply to revert to 1 times book value, you'd see a 50% upside move in its share price. 

The stock is cheap for a couple of reasons. The bank was recently ordered to pay a $2.5 billion fine to US and UK regulators.

On a business level, earnings have been uneven in recent years. Net income of $3.1 billion in 2010 rose to $5.4 billion in 2011.

Net income then tanked to $345 million in 2012. Net income rose to $914 million in 2013 and then doubled to $2.1 billion last year.

DB is working to right a listing ship, so it has brought in a new captain. The bank recently hired bank-turnaround impresario John Cryan as new CEO.

The Briton has a strong reputation as a cost-cutter from his tenure as CFO at UBS Group (UBS) from 2008 through 2011. 

We like the new captain and believe now is a good time to buy DB shares, which are trading near a 10-year low.

Cryan has said he intends to strengthen the bank's more stable sources of income: investment-banking advisory services, transaction banking, and retail and asset and wealth management operations.

At the same time, he intends to reduce expenses by $3.8 billion annually over the next five years. Of course, talk is cheap, but Cryan has 30-year history of delivering on talk.

Given Cryan's impressive resume, we are not betting against him, which is why we are betting on Deutsche Bank regaining its status as an international banking powerhouse. 

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