Founded as an a joint-stock company, Deutsche Bank has been obliged to publish its trading results in printed form from the very beginning, though the scope of said reports was rather limited in earlier years. The annual report from the bank’s founding year 1870 is just five pages long. From 1874 onwards, economic observations were prefixed to the actual report. In this way, even at this early point, the bank’s development was observed in relation to the times.
The merger of Deutsche Bank and Disconto-Gesellschaft in 1929 certainly constituted the greatest organizational turning point in the history of the “old” Deutsche Bank Berlin up to that point. It was a development which was of course reflected in the annual reports of the now unified institution, too – in statements on individual branches, personnel changes in leading positions and major commitments, for example.
There are no Deutsche Bank annual reports for the years between 1945 and 1951. The headquarters in Berlin were closed at the end of the Second World War and in the Western zones an Allied directive prescribed the opening of several regional subordinate banks; however these subordinate banks did not publish their own annual reports.
In 1952, the inactive Deutsche Bank Berlin (Altbank) was hived down into three successor institutions, which then functioned as joint-stock companies: Norddeutsche Bank, Rheinisch-Westfälische Bank and Süddeutsche Bank, all of which published individual annual reports over the subsequent years. As of 1955 these would be published as Group reports. In 1957, Deutsche Bank AG was founded from these three banks as a new unified corporation. Until 1968 few changes were made to the external appearance of the annual report.
As of 1969, illustrations were included in the document, which had previously been nothing more than text and numbers. Between 1980 and 1995, motifs from the Deutsche Bank Art Collection decorated the cover of the bank’s annual reports and since 2000 the reports have been available online, accessible via the Deutsche Bank Group Website.