In 2019, Lisa Hassenzahl founded Her Family Office (, which provides financial advice to wealthy women. The focus is not only on investment, but also on topics such as wills, prenuptial agreements, and so on. In this interview, she speaks to Fondsfrau Anke Dembowski about how she accomplishes this. The following is part one of an interview with Lisa Hassenzahl; the second interview will follow shortly.

Lisa, you offer financial advice for women. How do you describe your target clientele?
We address women who have financial planning needs, i.e. who need a sensible structuring of their finances. Some then also have a need for corresponding solutions.

What should be the size of the assets that your clients bring with them?
For ongoing support in the family office, they should have a minimum volume of 1 million euros of investable assets. If the amount is less, it depends on how extensive the advice should be. If a broader scope of support is desired, our clients should have 5 million euros. Then we can also take over the accounting for real estate, for example.

It is important that our clients are open to topics such as financial planning and structuring. Most of them are entrepreneurs or women in management positions (C-level), but also women who have come into money through inheritance, gifts or divorce.

The term family office is used very broadly. What do you understand by it?
We understand the term family office to mean providing a full service, scaled down to the individual. If someone wants to come to us and has a smaller sum, we can adjust the service accordingly.

Do wealthy female clients represent a gap in the field of female finance so far? I usually see smaller topics there, e.g. whether a savings plan is possible for as little as 25 euros and how to build up a modest fortune with small steps.
Yes, that is correct! At the level at which we work, there is clearly a gap in the German-speaking counselling landscape that is aimed at women.

But it is important to me: We should talk to all women about finances, even those who have little money. Therefore, all counselling services that address women are important and have their justification. But that also includes the question: What about the women who basically have luxury problems, where it's not about the 25-euro savings plan?

It is also important that those women find a counselling opportunity who do not have a green field in counselling. Many already have a broad portfolio of investments, partly built up themselves, partly inherited. They often want to know: Who can help me now? What should I do? We also respond to the needs of these women. We take the time to sort it all out and offer a protected atmosphere.

How do these demanding clients find you, or how do you find these clients?
This varies. In the classic family office clientele, the referral business is strong; by the way, women refer more often than men. When it comes to "small" amounts, female clients often find us through social media channels. We have a strong content-oriented approach to the outside world, e.g. on television, with interviews, or with podcasts on Brigitte or herMoney.

What brings the most?
That is always difficult to say. It's the totality. I think podcasts are a very efficient tool, especially when I address specific topics. The podcasts from herMoney and the Brigitte podcast "what the finance" have a high reach.

What questions do your conversations focus on? What are the demands of your upmarket clients?
The starting point is often that there are large amounts in the account and a custody fee has to be paid for them. For example, if a woman has half a million euros in her account through a settlement or inheritance. They then often want to deal with it professionally.

The majority of my clients are in their mid-40s to mid-60s, and they also want to get an overview of their finances. Where do I stand? What assets do I have? Are they invested wisely? The topic of retirement planning is also often raised. Women entrepreneurs also have questions about succession planning.

It is particularly noticeable among women that they actively ask about wills and arrangements for risky cases. They are grateful when you bring this up - that is really a big difference to men!

How much does a woman need for comfortable retirement planning?
Of course, this always depends very much on one's own demands and the associated cost of living. With the demands of our clientele, we are quickly talking about at least one million in assets needed to finance retirement. As is often the case, there is no upper limit.

Many private banking departments of banks also vie for the upscale clientele. What distinguishes your approach from theirs?
Wealthy women are very present in the banks as an attractive target group. Of course they would all like to have them as clients! But there are only few female advisors in the higher advisory positions at the banks. Accordingly, the women often cannot be advised by a woman, and some just make a point of it.

How does that differ?
Women and men differ in the way they conduct conversations. The way a conversation proceeds is different. Women usually have a greater need for information than men and often take longer to make decisions. Banks don't like that because there is no time there. They want to get to the product sale quickly.

There is still a need to create better awareness. There are already good advisors in banks, but many simply don't have a feeling for what women want differently. Sometimes I hear really blatant stories... women are sometimes treated like little girls!

If you focus on counselling women: Do you also offer other products - female products - or is it rather the different approach that makes the difference to counselling men?
No, I don't use fundamentally different products. But there may be other priorities. Women like to invest in broadly diversified investment funds or ETFs rather than in individual shares, but I think women's funds are rubbish. "Pink products" are a development to watch, because often it boils down to women being asked to pay more. Sure, you can map a gender equality fund, but only if you think that's an investment case! We have to be careful as hell if women are to be pushed into a pink product track!

How do you charge? Do you take a commission, a time fee, or some other type of fee?
That depends on which aspect we are looking at. We always charge a fee for financial planning, analyses and structuring. The initial consultation is free of charge; then we submit a fee offer for the desired service. This way, our clients know in advance what fee they will be charged for which step. For ongoing support, we charge a percentage service fee on the assets under management, i.e. no hourly fee.

We do not collect commissions, because that would contradict what we do. However, there are products for which a commission is priced in; this is often the case with insurance policies. We then disclose this and offset it against our fee.

It is often said that a man is not a good old-age provision. I'm interested in whether a man isn't a good old-age provision after all... How high do you estimate the proportion of women in Germany who have liquid assets of, say, over 300,000, who earned it themselves? And how many have inherited it or have become wealthy with their husband?
Of the women who come to me, about 80% have earned their wealth themselves - through entrepreneurial activities or employment. However, when very young women have assets of more than 300,000 euros, this often comes from inheritances... the generation of heirs then already makes itself felt.

But you're right: Often a man turns out to be a good old-age provision after all. I estimate that in Germany as a whole, the proportion of wealthy women who have acquired significant wealth through their husbands is at least 50%. This is often still the case with older women in particular. Here, however, the problem is often that there is no marriage contract. Many wives have built up a large fortune together with their husband.

If it were up to me, both partners would generally be obliged to record their initial assets when they marry. In the case of a divorce that takes place 10, 20 or more years after the marriage, this is often very difficult to trace back retroactively.

What advice do you give to women who are economically well married?
It is still not enough to marry a man and then say: From now on, I am no longer interested in finances. My appeal is therefore: Take care of your finances anyway! Find out how you are positioned financially!

Thank you very much for the interview, Lisa! We are looking forward to the second interview with you!

Profilbild von Anke Dembowski

Anke Dembowski

Anke Dembowski is a financial journalist and author of various investment fund-related and other financial books. She is also a co-founder of the "Fondsfrauen" network.

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