FINANCIAL CENTRE FRANKFURT:“Frankfurt’s Autumn” for family offices, asset managers and foundations

“Speak, that I may see you” (Socrates). This or something similar could be the motto under which the asset management industry and investors frequently meet in Frankfurt. This autumn seems promising. Interestingly, the voice of the independent will be heard more often: Family offices, asset managers and foundations are entering into a fruitful dialog, three examples of many: “Management Forum Asset Management” (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management), “Frankfurter Dialog for Family Offices and Asset Management ” (Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek) and “trend forum and Asset Management” (portfolio Verlagsgesellschaft). To be fair, one could also refer to the Düsseldorf event “German Asset Management Day” (VuV – Verband unabhängiger Vermögensverwalter Deutschland e.V./ VuV Association of Independent Asset Managers), which is organized from Frankfurt and will also take place in November. What interesting topics are discussed in Frankfurt, for example? What are the interesting keywords for the dialog partners?

Low-interest phase

Plant emergency – whether explicitly in the meeting program mentioned or by lecture and discussion to expect: Under these keywords, one can summarize many of the meeting elements, which concern themselves with the range investment and products. Whether institutional or semi-institutional investors or private investors – solutions are sought. Procyclic versus risk management – flight from bonds into risky investments? Is the next foundation for a financial bubble now being laid or will there be a constructive, know-how-based adjustment in the investment behavior of investors?

Family offices and asset managers

Not only this autumn, but these target groups will also be strongly courted by the product supplier side. It is interesting to note that family offices – often forgetting the “pseudo-scientific” use of the definition of the family office – also want to increasingly promote their products. If the client has done well with this in the past and there is transparency for their clients regarding possible conflicts of interest, the request appears legitimate. As long as there are still many different forms and intermediate forms of family offices and no clarity of terminology exists, the smooth transition between asset management and consulting, controlling, and reporting will remain an interesting area of discussion. Family offices offer asset management, asset managers offer family office services – may the target group-oriented solutions be revealed in competition as discovery processes (F. A. von Hayek). Untouched by this, neutral, equally independent family offices “without” products will continue to look after their clients.


Asset emergency and product solutions move foundation decision-makers. A relativization may be allowed: Perhaps there is no lack of product offerings, but perhaps a lack of time and know-how in some foundations? Due Diligence needs time. Foundation size and volume in the investment area can create a bottleneck in terms of personnel resources for the examination of the diverse offerings in the market. The financial industry may be overestimating itself, or perhaps it has learned that the world is not just about capital investment for foundation decision-makers. Mission Investing – the smooth transition between fulfilling the foundation’s purpose, fundraising, and sustainability in the holistic sense of the foundation’s mission are also points that are intensively discussed at Frankfurt events. A positive trend: Foundations will gradually discover which product providers not only pursue short-term sales interests but also have a longer-term partnership based on a competitive product offering.


AIFM, MIFID, KAGB, and various other abbreviations of the wide world of regulation will have room for discussion at many events in Frankfurt. Many of the KVGen such as Universal-Investment, Hansainvest, Ampega, and other well-known addresses are well known among independent asset managers, family offices, and foundations. For independent asset managers questions of consulting liability can be in the foreground. Fund advisory, fund management and club deals (e.g. real estate) are topics of discussion that meet with a positive response from all three target groups. The VuV and also many law firms in Frankfurt have an expertise advantage here due to the “regulatory dynamics” (interpretation etc.) in these fields.

Independence and trust

Of course, there will always be the group-bound world of product suppliers. Banks and capital investment companies of various sizes offer recognized solutions for the target groups. This class of providers is addressed in part by the events. The not group-bound, independent product offerers stand however clearly in the foreground of the “Frankfurt autumn”. The author of these lines has carried out his survey of this group of investors (in addition to funds of funds management, family office, and private banking) as part of the “1st Funds Boutique Panel” – interestingly enough, independents often like to buy independents. An unambiguous interpretation should be deferred here – in addition to the element of performance, the element of trust in the areas of specialization and long-term thinking can also play a role. Competitive performance is naturally assumed here.


Frankfurt is an excellent location for the professional exchange of ideas at a high level. National and international suppliers and investors meet here. The networking of different providers and target groups is increasing – product packaging, asset classes, and customer segments are losing their discriminatory power in the discussion. The banking crisis has led to controversial discussions, but perhaps a second, “holistic” level is developing in the culture of discussion alongside the established product and event-level – the dissolution of the rigid target group philosophy on the provider side: perhaps from “Who can I sell my product to?” to “With whom do I want to build a good business relationship in the long term? Established industry and the “independents” would sustainably pursue location marketing!