Finance

DWS boss Stefan Hoops hits back at ‘critical reporting’ on asset manager


The new chief executive of DWS has taken to social media to defend the asset manager over what he claims is “critical reporting” of its results and wider strategy by the media.

“While I should take critical reporting about DWS Group on the chin, the competitor in me is getting the upper hand every now and then,” wrote Stefan Hoops in a LinkedIn post on 11 August.

Hoops said he took issue with media coverage suggesting that some staff “seem willing to leave” DWS.

“Let’s check the facts: We have not seen a pick-up in attrition and our colleagues are fully focused on #ClientsMarketsInvesting. To be specific, we have not had resignations among our top 200 talents in the last 2 months and our investment division is stable,” wrote Hoops.

Hoops took over as CEO in June following the resignation of Asoka Woehrmann, after German authorities raided the Frankfurt offices of DWS and Deutsche Bank — also its majority shareholder — in relation to allegations of greenwashing made against the asset manager.

READ DWS boss resigns after officials raid on Frankfurt offices

The LinkedIn post is the latest in a string of outbursts from Hoops since he became CEO. Others include a recent video interview with former US basketball player Robert Horry as part of DWS’s sponsorship of the Los Angeles Lakers.

He has also interacted with Desiree Fixler, the former head of sustainability at DWS who claimed the firm had overstated how much it used sustainable investing criteria to manage its assets.

In one post, Fixler said she wanted Hoops to disclose if new and existing board members were involved in any meetings in 2021 with Karl von Rohr — chair of the supervisory board at DWS — which discussed or reviewed her concerns about DWS’s approach to ESG.

“Oh and I’m still happy to do that call or meeting,” she added in another post.

Hoops responded: “Hi Desiree, thank you for reaching out via (social) media. Let’s use appropriate channels, please.”

READ DWS chief exec says greenwashing allegations and personal attacks were a burden, ‘especially for my family’

Hoops, previously head of Deutsche Bank’s corporate bank, was also critical of how the appointment of two new members to its executive board — one of whom is the chief counsel at Deutsche Bank — was interpreted as a sign that DWS was becoming more dependent on its parent.

“This interpretation could not be more wrong,” said Hoops.

“In fact, it is the other way around…We are only independent once we have our own platform and AM-specific framework,” he said, adding the two new board appointments will help achieve this.

The CEO also hit back at reports citing “massive outflows in Q2”, after the asset manager published its results on 27 July.

In the results, DWS reported €25bn of net outflows during the second quarter. However, the asset manager said these were driven predominantly by its low-margin cash products. Excluding these, DWS said outflows would have totalled €300m over the three-month period.

Meanwhile revenue decreased 3% quarter-on-quarter to €671m.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email David Ricketts

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