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Interview with Andreas Pohl

Shaping the future together

Andreas Pohl, CEO, on strategic decisions and future-looking questions.

Mr Pohl, how would you sum up the year 2023? 

Once again, we did a great job in 2023 and achieved excellent business results. We can look back on a record year in which we were even able to increase our results once again. This sensational achievement is due, above all, to our financial advisors, who supported their clients.

The result is even more remarkable given that 2023 was heavily influenced by external factors. The geopolitical crises, i.e. the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, are having a global impact on society, politics and the economy – and on us too. General conditions, particularly in the financial sector, were once again challenging. The inflation rate and changes in the interest rate and property markets caused extreme uncertainty for consumers. Although these changes slowed down towards the end of the year, the economic situation remained tense throughout. Our financial advisors expertly guided their clients through these turbulent times and offered them first-class financial advice on financial protection, retirement provision and financial planning. I would like to express my sincere thanks for their outstanding commitment. 

We can look back on a record year in which we were even able to increase our turnover once again. This sensational performance is above all thanks to our financial advisors, who stood by their clients.
- Andreas Pohl -

You have been managing the company very successfully as Chair of the Management Board for almost ten years. What is the secret of your success? 

I strive to be a designer and not an administrator. My job is to optimise the strategic positioning of the company and to continuously develop it, with the aim of leading our financial advisors to economic and business success. This requires making decisions that affect the present and the future.

To do this justice, a culture of open communication is particularly important to me. I have a great team on the Management Board – I trust them and talk to them regularly. Contact with our financial advisors is just as important to me. Proximity to sales is very important to me. That's why I was particularly pleased to finally get together with everyone again at our Financial Advisors' Day in March 2023. The day at the Lanxess Arena was one of my absolute highlights in 2023. This togetherness is what makes us special. We pull together.

The day at the Lanxess Arena was one of my absolute highlights in 2023. This togetherness is what makes us special. We pull together.
- Andreas Pohl -

Family-owned companies are regarded as the backbone of the German SME sector. What are the strengths and special features of the family-owned company DVAG? 

First of all, we are in the comfortable position of not having to focus on short-term return targets. Instead, we focus on the long term and stability. Our strengths are our diversity, our flexibility and our forward-looking approach.

Deutsche Vermögensberatung (DVAG) is not just one family-owned company. It unites a large number of family-owned companies and independent entrepreneurs under one umbrella. This community has always been colourful and diverse. Issues such as equal opportunities, fairness and diversity have been an integral part of our corporate culture since the company was founded in 1975. The career system is identical for everyone, regardless of their background, religion, culture, age or gender. Here, everyone has the same opportunities. What counts is performance. We are a strong community made up of over 50 nationalities, and we all support each other. Our cornerstones have always been tradition, continuity and loyalty. I am very proud of that! 

We are a strong community, composed of over 50 nationalities, and we support each other. Our cornerstones have always been tradition, continuity and loyalty. I am very proud of that!
- Andreas Pohl -

DVAG's corporate citizenship is also closely linked to the family-owned company. How does this fit into the company's overall philosophy?

Social commitment has always been part of our DNA. This is because Deutsche Vermögensberatung (DVAG) is part of society – it does not stand alongside it and certainly not above it. Whether we are promoting sport, culture or society, the values that characterise DVAG are preserved and passed down from generation to generation. It is important to us to give something back.

That makes me even more pleased that this is so important for us as DVAG and for our financial advisors too. All of them are involved in a variety of projects, for example for the charitable organisation "Menschen brauchen Menschen e.V", the work of "Tafel Deutschland e. V." or the many projects in their own regions – I think this commitment is outstanding. 

Do these values also motivate people to join Deutsche Vermögensberatung (DVAG)? 

First and foremost, I think the attractiveness of the job profile of a financial advisor and the many prospects on offer are key: they work independently, take personal responsibility and have flexible working hours. Performance pays off with us. If you want to, you can take on responsibility and set up your own company.

The large number of new recruits speaks for itself. Every month, around 140 people choose a career at Deutsche Vermögensberatung (DVAG). That means they are also opting for the best conditions on the market: specialist and personal training and professional development that meets the highest industry standards and offers the best qualification.

What role do regulatory requirements play in the work of financial advisors?

Of course, regulatory requirements influence our work. The recent debate on introducing a ban on commission has caused a great deal of controversy – and rightly so. This regulatory initiative would completely overshoot the mark and worsen the situation for many consumers. Financial advice should remain affordable for broad sections of the population. Free choice of advisory model is essential, especially for people with less to invest. A ban on commission would simply create a cost hurdle for financial advice.

The results of the focus group on retirement provision will lead to further discussions in the coming year. I think much of what is in the final report from the focus group makes sense. Regardless of how it is organised in the future, one thing is certain: the importance of private pension provision will continue to grow and will be indispensable in retirement provision. It is now important to expand the opportunities for consumers and strengthen the advisory services on offer. 

How are you meeting the challenges posed by increasing regulation?

Experience has shown that regulatory changes require a high level of expertise and investment. As the largest independent financial advisory company in Germany, we have the necessary expertise to meet these challenges. We can implement laws quickly and in a practical manner, minimising the additional burden on our financial advisors.

So that we can continue to relieve our financial advisors of administrative tasks in the best possible way in the future, we are constantly pushing ahead with digitalisation, among other things. We are using the opportunities digitalisation brings to support our financial advice services and are developing digital tools to simplify processes. For us, personal and tailored financial advice for our clients remains our focus. It is, and remains, the pillar of our success.

Do you feel equally positive about the years ahead? 

Yes, I am definitely optimistic about the future. Regulatory changes will likely increase the requirements for private pension provision and financial planning even more. That means the topics of money and finances are also becoming increasingly complex for consumers. A good, qualified, holistic financial advisory approach provides answers to these challenges. With the awareness of a forward-looking business model, an exceptional team behind us and strong product partners at our side, I believe we are very well positioned – today and for the future.