Commerzbank fights appeal over €400m bonus pool

Commerzbank has asked the UK Court of Appeals to throw out claims made by over 100 of its investment bankers who argue they are owed a share of discretionary bonuses from a €400 million pool.

The bankers were employed by Dresner Kleinwort’s investment banking division which was taken over by Commerzbank in 2009.

The ongoing case is centred on allegations that Stefan Kleinwort, then head of Dresdner’s corporate and investment banking arm, told staff at a town hall meeting in August 2008 that a guaranteed minimum bonus pool of €400 million would be allocated to front and middle office employees.

Part of the lawsuit was struck out in May 2010 when the court decided a town hall meeting does not constitute a contractual agreement.

A Commerzbank spokesperson said: “Dresdner Bank was entitled to reduce its employees’ 2008 discretionary bonuses in the light of the marked deterioration in the investment bank’s performance in late 2008.

“Commerzbank, as the new owner of Dresdner Bank, is defending these claims and has appealed elements of the summary judgement granted in May 2010 as it believes the claimants have no real prospect of success.”

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