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Interview with Norman Wirth, Managing Director of German broker association AfW, about the consequences of the German federal election

Norman Wirth, AfW

Germany has voted – but what does the result mean for the life insurance industry and pension provision as a whole? On behalf of our client Standard Life Versicherung, we interviewed Norman Wirth, Managing Director of the German broker association AfW in Berlin, about the results of the Bundestag election. We spoke to Mr Wirth about the possible consequences for state-subsidised old-age provision, the future of the “Riester” pension, the coming supervision of insurance brokers and a possible ban on commissions (interview in mp3 format on the AfW website in German only).

Article about the future of UK as a financial centre post-Brexit on FondsTrends.lu

The UK government and the British financial industry are currently desperately looking for ways to keep the UK an attractive international financial centre post-Brexit. Indeed, since the EU referendum in June 2016, but especially in recent months, the financial industry on the island has lost a lot of staff, companies and assets. Asset management has been hit hardest, as Hagen Gerle explains in this article for FondsTrends, the information platform of Hauck & Aufhäuser Fund Services about current trends and topics in the fund business: Financial Centre UK Post-Brexit: Searching for A New Meaning (article available in German only).

Survey: The biggest challenges for foreign fund companies in Germany in 2021

Chart showing the biggest challenges for foreign asset managers in Germany 2021

Germany’s decentralised structure with its different financial centres, access to distribution partners, fund-related regulation and Working from Home (WfH) as well as specific requirements from clients are the biggest challenges for foreign fund companies in the German market. Compared to the respective home markets of the asset managers, regulation in Germany causes considerably more work. These are the main findings of the survey “What hurdles do foreign fund houses have to overcome in the German market?” – the second after 2020 – which was conducted by the specialised communications consultancy Gerle Financial Communications (GFC).

Representatives of 18 companies that work for or provide services to foreign fund houses, mainly in Sales, took part in the online survey in February and March of this year. Participating firms came from Europe (twelve firms), North and South America (five) and Asia (one firm). Eight of the participants (44%) have been present on the German market for more than five years, three (17%) between three and five and four (22%) between one and three years. Three companies (17%) have only become active on the German market in the past twelve months. Continue Reading

Asset Manager Survey 2021: What are the biggest hurdles for foreign asset managers coming to the German market?

What are the biggest hurdles for foreign investment companies in the German market? Is it specific requirements of institutional clients or complex German regulations? Switch to Work from Home or cautiously returning to the office? Or is it finding the right sales contacts or pushing ahead with digitisation? The following online survey – the second after 2020 – seeks answers to such central questions. It is aimed at foreign asset managers in Germany who have only been represented here for a few years or are still planning to enter the German speaking market.

The questionnaire consists of 12 questions, so answering shouldn’t take longer than 10 to 15 minutes. The (anonymous) results of the survey can be requested by all participants at the end of the survey with no further strings attached. The survey is open until mid of March 2021. To access the link to the survey (in English), please click here.

British financial sector post Brexit: hoping for equivalence – or move to the EU straight away?

The United Kingdom and the European Union want to sign a “Memorandum of Understanding” by the end of March, which should determine how the financial services industry will proceed after Brexit. While the UK hopes that its regulations will also be recognised as equivalent on the continent, a level playing field seems to be more important for the EU. Every day without an agreement drives more business, firms, and staff to Europe – and unsettles British investment managers increasingly.

Things are not looking good for the UK as an international financial hub. While the Brexit deal may have been an unexpected Christmas present for some Brits, for many it is turning into a national tragedy. Enervated hauliers, angry fishermen and ripped-off online shoppers from the United Kingdom (UK) may soon be joined by relocating employees in financial services firms. The sales manager of a London investment boutique put it succinctly in a phone call with me the other day: “Down the line, if you want to work in the EU, you need the local licence.” Ergo, his employer is intensively looking for a location on the European mainland.

Considerations, like those of this asset manager with its tens of billions in assets under management, are being made by more and more investment houses on the Thames that do not (yet) have a branch in the European Union (EU). The post-Brexit period is a grey area for many of them as long as there is no separate agreement between the UK and the EU. But that may be a long time coming. Continue Reading

The fish, the finances and the last act in the Brexit drama

The (for the time being) final curtain in the Brexit drama is rising these days, but it does not look like a good ending for the British financial and fund industry. Until recently, the biggest opportunity seemed to be “Fish for Finance“. But that is unlikely to happen. British financial firms are sitting on dry land if they do not have their own branch in the European Union by now (read the whole article as a PDF). Until the cancellation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last Friday, “Fish for Finance” – a possible trade between fishing rights for EU fishing boats in British waters on one hand and access for British financial products to the European Union on the other – looked quite promising. Haddock for funds or cod for derivatives, so to speak. Continue Reading

“Digital marketing is a big opportunity for managers of all sizes”

If the business world is united in one consequence of COVID-19, it is the conviction that digital transformation across all sectors and functions has been accelerated by the pandemic. This is especially true for the distribution teams of asset and wealth-managers, say Patrick Ide and Dorit Erzmoneit, Senior Partners for GrndWrX (formerly part of Nurture). They are counting some of the largest brands in the fund industry as well as several niche investment boutiques among their clients.

“Digital marketing’s job is to deliver leads for sales – an incredible opportunity for all sizes of asset managers!”, as the experts for digital engagement explain in an Interview with Gerle Financial Communications.. The importance of the increasing digital presence for investment companies has only recently been demonstrated once more by Universal-Investment’s acquisition of the digital sales and marketing platform CapInside.

Patrick and Dorit are convinced: The ongoing trend to more tailored and deeper digital engagement marketing will eventually rip up the classic sales approach of contacting and meeting clients, only to tell them something they already know. Read more about it in this interview on LinkedIn.

Survey: The biggest hurdles for foreign asset managers in Germany

Specific customer requirements, fund-related regulation and access to distribution partners are the biggest challenges for foreign investment companies in the German market – or at least they were until the Coronavirus lockdown began. The highest personal hurdle for employees and service providers of investment companies was, until recently, the fact that Germany is highly decentralised and has many different financial centres. These are the key findings of the survey “Which hurdles do foreign fund managers have to overcome in the German market?, which was initiated by the specialised communications consultancy Gerle Financial Communications (GFC). Please find the complete results of the survey in this English press release (PDF file). Continue Reading

Survey: The hurdles foreign fund companies have to overcome on the German market

The German fund market is and remains interesting for foreign fund managers, and their number is increasing. But what difficulties do investment companies and their employees from neighbouring European countries or overseas face when entering the market? A new survey by Gerle Financial Communications (GFC) is intended to shed some light on this. Germany remains attractive as a market for foreign investment companies: more and more asset managers are moving to Frankfurt, Munich or the Rhine-Ruhr region. While the number of non-German investment companies in Germany was 28 at the end of 2002, according to the financial supervisory authority BaFin and the BVI industry association there are now more than 700 foreign asset managers operating between Flensburg and Passau. Continue Reading