The merger of Hauck & Aufhäuser and Bankhaus Lampe resulted in the new Bankhaus Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe at the beginning of 2022. The merger has created one of Germany's leading private banks, with assets under management and administration of over 200 billion euros and total assets of around 13 billion euros.
The new 5-member Board of Management consists of Michael Bentlage (Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and responsible for Asset Management and Investment Banking), Madeleine Sander (responsible for Growth, Transformation and Innovation), Dr. Holger Sepp (responsible for Asset Servicing and Digital Assets), Robert Sprogies (responsible for Back Office Operations) and Oliver Plaack (responsible for Private and Corporate Banking). In total, the merged bank has over 1,300 employees. We talk to board member Madeleine Sander about the orientation of the newly merged bank, diversity and the innovations.
Ms. Sander, we welcome Bankhaus Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe as a new supporting member of the Fund Women! You are on the board of Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe. What exactly is your area of responsibility there?
My mandate comprises two pillars: Firstly, the CFO function; behind this are the areas of controlling, accounting and taxes. The second pillar includes responsibility for the transformation and innovation of the company. This includes the ESG function, our digital asset management Zeedin, the strategy and product development department, and responsibility for the digitization of our business areas.
Among other things, you head the Innovation department, which of course sounds exciting. What innovations are you currently working on at Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe?
We are guided by the megatrends and have gone through a comprehensive strategy process. We identified 15 megatrends, resulting in 90 sub-trends, such as nutrition or health. We then derived the relevant trends for banking and relevant initiatives. Last year, for example, we established a Group-wide ESG function and a dedicated committee for the holistic implementation of our strategy along the dimensions of market, regulation and organization. In terms of AI, we implemented two pilot projects last year; we are already in the process of implementing our digital assets business and are represented in the media in many ways.
Yes! At Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe, you combine the topics of innovation, digitization and diversity. Where do you see the connection here?
In my view, both diversity and digitization are clear drivers for innovation. We don't see technology and digitization as an end in themselves, but ask ourselves: What benefits does this bring for our customers? This question was a very important topic for us in the context of the AI pilots. And diversity is not only a driver here, but also an enabler. It's simply important that I have a team that thinks diversely, and is diverse within itself: in terms of gender, academic training, or social and national backgrounds. This is the only way we can develop products that are well received on the market.
With Zeedin, you have a robo-advisor in-house. Do you address female customers differently than male customers here?
No! Regardless of gender, it is important for us to know: What are the needs, the experiences, the goals of our customers? From this we derive, among other things, the personal risk tolerance.
And what is the ratio of female to male customers at Zeedin?
Our clientele is split about 40:60, 40% women and 60% men. If we put the evaluations side by side, we can already see that there are certain patterns that are partly gender-specific. For example, the risk propensity is lower on average for women. For men, the risk classes are generally higher.
Why do you think that is?
We all grew up with savings books, but many young people in particular have now moved away from them. When it comes to regular savings, women tend to be in the lead. But when it comes to investing money on the capital market, there is a much greater exchange among men. Here, the particularly good trades are also sometimes proudly advertised. This is less the case for women than for men.
What was actually personally your first investment in the securities sector?
That was an actively managed fund, in which I invested when I was just over 18. Incidentally, one man was formative in this: my father. He was an avid newspaper reader and capital market investor. He even had the newspaper sent to him on vacation so that he could follow the development of the stock markets. That fascinated me, so he advised me to invest 200 or 300 euros in a fund to gain my own initial experience. And that's what I did.
What role does your Chinese investor Fosun play in the topic of "women in management positions"?
Many things are different in China, including the issue of women in the workplace. Across all industries, women hold 38% of management positions in China. In the financial sector, the figure is as high as 61%. That really stands out when we talk to our owner. Of course, this inspires us, and that's why we are also highly sensitive to this topic in our company.
Do women invest differently than men? What are your observations?
We have noticed that our customers take a very thorough look at their investments. They ask a lot of questions in advance. In the event of a crisis, they are often more relaxed and less nervous than men. Among other things, this is also due to the investment period. Women see their investments less as trading positions. We also find that women are more interested in sustainability than men. They ask very precisely what is in the fund and which ESG aspects are specifically taken into account.
It is often said that women do not need different financial products than men, but they do need a different approach. How does Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe address women differently?
We offer dedicated events for women. Here we want to create a broader space for women to talk about finances, but also about topics such as parental leave, the gender pay gap or retirement planning. We also address lifecycle issues tailored to women in these events. Some of these events take place at our offices. But I'm also often invited by management consultancies, for example, to talk to women about finance. In this case, one evening is devoted to an all-round discussion of the topic of finance - with women only!
Should a company actually promote female employees differently than male employees? If so, what are the differences?
I'm not a fan of treating women differently in the team than men. It's more important to me that we create the same conditions for men and women and promote a very trusting exchange overall. Role models and closeness are very important here. We have had positive experiences in this way of talking specifically to young female talents about experiences and individual issues. Over the past three years, we have massively expanded our talent management activities - for example, through the Development Dialogue format, a comprehensive training catalog, and an internally designed Transformer program.
What tips do you have for women who want to pursue a career in finance?
The most important thing is: Don't wait until you are approached! I often experience that women think "he or she must see what I can do. Each should do this in her own way, for example, actively approach the supervisor when you see a project in which you are interested, or get in touch that you would like to discuss the next career step. Women often worry that they'll be a pain in the ass if they're constantly on the line. This calls for an empathetic approach, but most women have that!
Thank you very much for this interview, Ms. Sander!