Christoph Schwarzmann is Head of Wholesale Germany and Austria for German asset manager BANTLEON since December 2020 and is successfully relaunching this part of their business. Christoph is in the asset management industry for more than 15 years. He worked for Amundi and Pioneer Investments before, e.g. as Head of Sales for Banks and Asset Managers or Private Wealth Clients. His career began in various roles in German banks. Christoph is a Bankbetriebswirt (BA) from the Frankfurt School of Finance.
What led you to dedicate yourself to the financial sector? What would you be doing if you did not find a path in Business?
I was already interested in economics during the last stage of the secondary school and attended an advanced course for economics and law. My career started in a large German bank, and soon I felt addicted to investment advisory and capital markets. After several roles in banks, I began working in asset management 15 years ago. To be honest, I never had a plan B beside the financial industry – and I still enjoy it.
What advice would you give young people trying to be successful in the industry?
I guess the attractiveness of the financial industry has decreased since the financial crisis – so first of all it’s great to see young people joining the industry! While the typical retail banking business and branch-based banking obviously is facing challenges, there are nevertheless a lot of opportunities and demand for talents: e.g. in asset and wealth management, in the FinTech space, but also in areas like risk management, IT, or legal and compliance. So a variety of educations and skill sets are needed, and if you are willing to learn, act smart and agile, I am convinced there are a lot of opportunities for the next generation in the financial industry.
What sustains your drive within the industry?
Economics and capital markets never become boring! Just look back at the past 20 years: the TMT bubble 99/00, the Lehman crisis 08/09, the Euro crisis, negative interest rates for years, 20/21 the Corona virus. Even if some patterns are recurring, no event is like the one before. Furthermore, working in sales means working with people on a daily basis which is energizing. And last but not least new trends like ESG or the rise of thematic investing always come with broadening the own horizon.
What do you think will be the next disruptive element in the asset management industry?
If the fields of application for the blockchain technology within our industry are taking shape, I guess this could lead to immense change.
Bantleon specializes in economic research, so is it fair to say your investment funds take a more top-down approach? If so, why is this differentiation important as an asset manager?
Bantleon does not specialize in economic research per se, but in economic cycle-based asset management. For that purpose, we combine an indeed highly specialized and award-winning team for economic analysis with teams of experienced portfolio managers and analysts, which are bottom-up driven. There might be some sort of top-down-bias, but the differentiation as an asset manager is the combination of both: leading economic research with distinct fundamental company and issuer analysis, which results in portfolios that are managed pro-active and risk-oriented.