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SoftBank in Talks to Hire Senior Ex-Deutsche Bank Trader

Giles Turner and Donal Griffin

(Bloomberg) -- John Pipilis, the former head of fixed-income trading at Deutsche Bank AG, is in talks to join SoftBank Group Corp.’s giant investment fund in a senior position.

Pipilis’s potential role would be head of financing at SoftBank Investment Advisers, according to two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the talks are private. SBIA manages the $100 billion Vision Fund, the world’s biggest pool of technology investments, which holds stakes in WeWork, Uber Technologies Inc. and Slack Technologies Inc.

The talks may not result in Pipilis being hired, the people said. Still, the discussions not only highlight how former traders from Deutsche Bank are reconvening at SoftBank, but also how the Japanese conglomerate is increasingly using financial structuring to help manage its growing tech portfolio.

Pipilis, a veteran of the German lender until leaving amid its historic overhaul earlier this year, oversaw one of the world’s biggest fixed-income trading businesses, dealing in everything from derivatives tied to corporate and sovereign debt, currencies and interest rates to junk bonds and leveraged loans.

Pipilis declined to comment, as did a spokesman from SoftBank.

Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing is cutting 18,000 jobs and retreating from risky trading businesses in the latest revamp of the Frankfurt-based lender, which has struggled over the years with legal and regulatory woes. The various overhauls have prompted the departures of a number of top staff.

SoftBank has become home to a number of Pipilis’ former colleagues. Colin Fan, the former co-head of Deutsche Bank’s investment-banking unit, joined SoftBank in 2017, while Rajeev Misra, who built the German lender’s credit derivatives and trading business, is the Japanese company’s head of strategic finance and is in charge of the Vision Fund.

Other former Deutsche Bank staff who now ply their trade at SoftBank include Akshay Naheta, Murtaza Ahmed, Munish Varma, Saleh Romeih, Faisal Rahman, Aamir Akram, and Ziyad Al Ashaikh.

Unlike traditional tech investors, who buy equity stakes in startups, SoftBank has used a variety of investment strategies to fund its deals, from seeking lines of credit to using billion-dollar collar trades. Pipilis’s role may be to help the Vision Fund manage its debt, but also advise on fixed-income strategies for companies in its portfolio, one person said.

--With assistance from Sonali Basak.

To contact the reporters on this story: Giles Turner in London at gturner35@bloomberg.net;Donal Griffin in London at dgriffin10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Keith Campbell, Marion Dakers

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