Market players said the first major ABS victim of the Deutsche Bank and Banker's Trust merger has surfaced. Reuben Cohen, the head of BT's global structured finance group, was described by one source as "in transition" after finding out he is one of a growing number at the bank "who will not have a position going forward."

After recently completing the acquisition of BT, Deutsche Bank is beginning the process of eliminating the close to 5,500 jobs it had promised to cut late last year in order to hammer out a new structure.

More departures and layoffs are expected at the bank, sources said. Job uncertainty had recently spurred Simon Ross to exit the situation. Ross is a CBO specialist who worked under Cohen. He recently landed at J.P. Morgan's CBO group in London.

While Cohen's group, which focused on the CBO sector primarily, may not feel the pinch like their boss, beware all others. The bank is said to be replacing former BT directors in-house with Deutsche executives and concentrating layoff efforts on the senior-most members "in many parts of the firm," said a source close to the situation. Cohen's departure does not represent a focus away from the CBO sector.

"[Deutsche] just wants their own people in these top positions," said the insider.

Cohen declined to comment on the matter. Deutsche officials would neither confirm nor deny Reuben's departure, except to say that with "18,000 new employees there's a good chance there may be some that we let go." The bank announced it would hand out 5,500 pink slips in November of last year.

The firm recently announced that some staff in its Asia-Pacific offices will be cut, but these layoffs "will in no way be hit compared with the overall business in London and New York."

Deutsche is currently trying to woo National Australia Bank to the table in a sale of BT Funds Management, the second-largest Aussie-based money manager. - SK

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