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Frankfurt, 05.12.2018 12:00:00

The atmosphere was convivial, when Professor Dr Nils Stieglitz, President of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, welcomed Thomas Rodermann, Spokesman of the Management Board and Market Head Germany, Austria and Nordics of UBS Europe SE, at the front of a Frankfurt School classroom on November 30, 2018. They had met at a football game the day before, when the wealth manager had to leave early to prepare his lecture. Professor Dr. Wolfgang Reittinger, Professor of Management Practice in Private Wealth Management at Frankfurt School, had invited Thomas Rodermann to be a guest speaker at his Master Elective on “Private Wealth Management“.

“I am probably the last banker who still wears a tie”, Thomas Rodermann joked after the official welcoming notes were over. “I keep wearing it, because it is like a uniform and it makes me feel confident and comfortable” he admitted and stressed how important it was to stay authentic, when meeting with a very diverse customer base that can range from a young tech founder to a hedge fund manager or the owner of a traditional family-run enterprise. Before diving into the UBS business model, Thomas Rodermann looked back at his career spanning 35 years in the banking industry and pointed out that knowing the client as well as the product side of the business had been a huge career asset for him.

Thomas Rodermann

Thomas Rodermann

Thomas Rodermann

Thomas Rodermann

Together with the students, he listed the biggest challenges for the banking and wealth management industry such as the ever changing regulation, digitisation, the rise of protectionism and the low yield environment. “In order to be a global player, you need a very strong home market and an internationally leading business model. With UBS we are the Market leader in Switzerland and we are the first choice for billionaires worldwide, when it comes to helping them invest their money”, the top banker explained. To stay successful, it was essential for UBS to know their clients, Thomas Rodermann pointed out. So for example UBS publishes a yearly billionaires report and listens closely, when clients tell stories about themselves and their business interests. “We try to know everything about our target clients. When you have interesting research on a topic that is important to your client it is an excellent opportunity to start a conversation”, he said.

In order to stay profitable, banks would have to get a lot bigger and consolidate platforms and infrastructure, resulting in an 80 to 90 per cent reduction of German banks, the Market Head of UBS Europe Despite predicted, based on an actual study from Oliver Wyman. Despite the consolidation facing the banking industry in the coming years, the area of wealth management would stay an interesting industry for highly educated and motivated people, he emphasised and invited the students to apply for internships at UBS.

After his speech, Thomas Rodermann took time to answer the students’ questions which were presented by the class speaker Syrine Lebrun-Damiens who is currently in her third semester of the Master of Finance programme at Frankfurt School. Her fellow MoF student, Nikolai Schütze was pleased with the opportunity to pick the brains of one of the industry’s leaders: “A guest lecture from an experienced practitioner can be quite useful besides looking at a topic only from an academic perspective – especially when the practitioner is a top-level executive. Thomas Rodermann gave fascinating insights on the peculiarities of Wealth Management and how the German banking sector might transform over the next 15 years.”

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