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Friday, June 4, 1999 Published at 21:40 GMT 22:40 UK

Business: The Company File

Morgan Grenfell bites the dust

There once was a merchant bank in London...

One of the most eminent names in merchant banking in the UK, Morgan Grenfell, has been killed off after Deutsche Bank renamed its global asset management business.

The firm will now be called Deutsche Asset Management (DAM). The name change coincides with the merger of Deutsche Bank's asset management business with that of Bankers Trust.

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Robert Smith, DAM's chief executive, said: "The key thing that clients and consultants should understand is that a change of name doesn't signal any change in the way we are going to do business."

"We are the same guys", he said.

Morgan Grenfell was bought by Germany's largest bank in 1989. Five years later it was renamed to Deutsche Morgan Grenfell.

However, the unit was always troublesome for Deutsche Bank. The parent company at first followed a hands-off approach.

But then financial irregularities at some of its funds came to light, resulting in a record 2m fine, plus one million pounds in costs.

Five directors of Morgan Grenfell resigned over the affair, and one of its former fund managers is currently facing fraud allegations.

After that episode, Deutsche's management took tighter control at its London-based operations.

Staff in London will not take the name change lightly. They were outraged last year, when Deutsche's chief executive Rolf Breuer said the Morgan Grenfell name could easily be lost because it was "hardly used in the market".

Morgan Grenfell was founded in the 19th century. Top names in the world of global finance, US firms J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley, trace their ancestry back to common roots with Morgan Grenfell.

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