Comment: Frankfurt am Main – Asset Management and the cultivated exchange (Markus Hill)

“Mainhattan”, “Trenchcoat City” and “Bankers Hell” – these are often still the more or less flattering names of Frankfurt am Main. Frankfurt polarizes: The city of Goethe, pulsating business metropolis, and apple wine (Äpplwoi) are more likely to be the positive associations that this central business location with companies, international flair, airport, and a variety of professional networks in the asset management sector arouses. What is the attraction of this “hub” of the financial industry network?

Culture of professional exchange of ideas versus “coffee-trip-setting

The professional networks in Frankfurt work efficiently, promptly, and widely across the area. On the one hand, there is a wide variety of events, and on the other, the fund industry is centrally anchored here. The Federal Association of German Investment Companies (BVI) or the Association of Independent Asset Managers Germany (VuV) are based here. Institutions such as the Frankfurt School of Finance or Goethe University are examples of well-known institutions.

Besides, there is a wide range of diplomatic representations, law firms, and foreign associations and companies, which form a fruitful communication infrastructure. Here, an informative added value is frequently offered in a rather informal setting.

Of course, there are also a large number of sales-oriented events organized by asset management companies. They are often on a very interesting technical level – the investor should not be deterred by unpleasant pure sales presentations. The industry has learned a lot in the past years.

Forums for the exchange of ideas

Interesting formats in Frankfurt include the Hedgework event series in the field of alternative investments. There, the industry discusses with each other in a variety of specialist functions.

The event sector is also diverse. Examples are the Institutional Money Congress, the Morningstar Conference, and Finance Week. Investor events with a good “mixed character” can be found, for instance, at IPE Institutional Investment, Citywire, and Expert Investor Europe, and of course, there are many other providers.

A quality feature should be that investors or advisors are not pressed too hard by sales staff. The fund industry today is more oriented towards the needs of investors. It is recognized that no matter how much outstanding talk a product gets into the decision maker’s radar – good performance, reputation, and risk management are more likely to convince.

Frankfurt shows personalities

In addition to Luxembourg, Frankfurt offers many representatives of the private label fund industry a welcome platform for getting to know different approaches to fund management: Universal Investment, Alceda, Ampega Gerling, and many other houses also offer a variety of events and one-on-one meetings at this location for many interested professionals and investors with well-known addresses such as Dr. Jens Ehrhardt (“Family”), Acatis (Hendrik Leber), Johannes Führ and other fund boutique representatives.

Especially if you frequently want to look at different approaches and like to exchange ideas with so-called “hidden champions” in person, you can hardly get around Frankfurt.

It is often forgotten that, in addition to the purpose of specialist information, it is usually also appreciated that industry colleagues can exchange views with industry colleagues. Of course, similar positive spill-over aspects can be found at events organized by companies such as DWS, Union Investment (specialist event on risk management), and other investment companies.

Why is Frankfurt worth a trip for many investors?

The amount of information available for the selection of suitable products or asset managers often seems almost impossible to manage. The right contact at an event or discussion group often helps to find a good mental map on specific topics.

This facilitates additional literature research (manager presentation, fact sheet, reporting). Apart from the pure professional benefit, it should be a great pleasure for many outgoing investors to be able to maintain an intensive dialogue in a pleasant atmosphere. As some consultant in Frankfurt always says: “A good conversation never makes you dumber”.


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