Financial centre Stuttgart – hidden champion
The Stuttgart metropolitan area is one of the most important financial centres in Germany – nearly 50,000 of the region’s residents work in the financial sector. Supported by the strong economic environment, the countless financial institutions of different sectors are strongly rooted in both industrial financing and consumer banking.
Situated in the centre of the state capital, the Stuttgart stock exchange is not only one of the major players in the financial centre but also Germany’s leading trading centre for retail investors. In Stuttgart investors can trade in stocks, securtised derivatives, bonds, funds and participation certificates – on terms normally reserved for institutional investors. Stuttgart is Germany’s market leader in the trading of corporate bonds, and European market leader for securitised derivatives. With an annual trading volume of around 90 billion euros in all asset classes, the stock exchange is in tenth position in Europe.
The beginnings of the Stuttgart stock exchange can be traced back to the financing of new technologies and products during the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century. After 1945 it made an important contribution as a regional stock market to the “economic miracle” in southwest Germany.
The Stuttgart region is also the home of building societies. The “Society of Friends” founded in Wüstenrot in 1924, today Wüstenrot Bausparkasse AG, or the market leader, Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall AG, have their headquarters here. Stuttgart also impresses in the field of insurance: 27 insurance providers and pension funds – including the W&W Group and Allianz Leben, the largest life assurance company in the state – are based here. Stuttgart is also home to Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, the largest state bank in Germany and one of the 100 largest banks in the world.
The market environment of the financial industry is constantly changing and it must always face up to new needs. The interconnection of the different financial sectors and the communication between them are important factors in meeting these challenges. The support of this network is, alongside ensuring the smooth operation of the stock exchange, one of the central tasks of the Vereinigung Baden-Württembergische Wertpapierbörse e.V. The association therefore brought into being a central point of reference for the pooling of interests relevant to the financial centre under the name “Stuttgart Financial”. Stuttgart Financial serves a neutral, overarching platform for financial topics in Baden-Württemberg and fulfils this through countless activities in the fields of education, research, communication and location marketing.
“Money does not stink” is no longer true. Savers, investors and financiers today want their money to be managed according to ethical principles. That doesn’t have to be to the disadvantage of returns. Social-ecologically oriented banks have been able to significantly improve their positioning in the market. Their loans and deposits grew annually by 30 per cent between 2006 and 2011. This puts them among the fastest growing banking groups. However, social-ecological banks’ share of the German consumer banking market is relatively low at only 0.2 per cent. Their business model is nonetheless now leading the way. It has plausible answers to the crisis of confidence in banks and the general change in society’s values towards sustainability and transparency. Germany’s four “green” banks handle their business fairly, ethically and ecologically. Umweltbank offers loans and instant access savings accounts. Current accounts are available from GLS Bank, Ethikbank and Triodos Bank.