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Interview with Meinhard Platzer, co-CEO of LGT Bank

26 February 2019

April French Furnell

Citywealth spoke to Meinhard Platzer, the co-CEO of LGT Bank AG, Zweigniederlassung Österreich to discuss the strategic importance of Austria for the bank, its future ambitions and philanthropic endeavours.

 

As Co-CEO, what do your responsibilities entail?

With a team of 10 people we established the LGT Bank Österreich in 2007 and grew up to 150 people. As Co-CEOs, Dietmar Baumgartner and myself are responsible for the operation in Austria.

 

Explain the strategic importance of a presence in Austria for LGT Bank.

Due to its origin in Austria, the Princely Family of Liechtenstein has a very close relationship and economic interest in the country. E.g. the princely palaces and museums are also located in Vienna.

LGT Bank Österreich was founded in Austria in 2007 with offices in Vienna and Salzburg. We offer LGT private banking solutions for private individuals in Austria, Central and Eastern Europe. Since its launch, LGT Bank Österreich has developed into a major private banking player in the country.

 

What makes LGT Bank stand out in the Austrian market from competitors?

One of our differentiators is our shareholder, the princely family. The family is our largest client with an individual investment strategy. We offer our clients an investment opportunity alongside the investment strategy of the princely family. Therefore, we successfully combine the interests and goals of our customers, owners and employees. The focus on our business model results in a high financial stability and a high creditworthiness that is confirmed by S&P and Moody's.

As an internationally active private banking and asset management group, LGT has the ideal size to combine local advice with a global network.

 

What’s next for LGT Bank Austria? What are your ambitions?

Our ultimate ambition is to fully satisfy our customers through a strong customer and advisory approach. Since 2007, our asset base has been growing at an average annual rate of more than 20 per cent and we intend to continue growing at this level in order to become the premiere provider of private banking services in Austria.

 

How has the bank developed over the past 12 years in Austria?

We started 2007 from scratch with a small team of about 10 people in Vienna. Although the following year 2008 was a turbulent time for our customers and our employees, we were able to build up the business due to the support of our shareholders, our enthusiastic and loyal employees and as a result, become a major player in the subsequent years

Today we have around 150 employees in two locations and rank among the most successful private banks in Austria with a business volume of around 8,4 billion CHF.

 

What are your views on cryptocurrency? Do you anticipate a growth in interest among owning crypto among your client base?

We follow the development of the underlying technology, blockchain, but we do not consider cryptocurrency as an asset class. Therefore, we do not offer investments to our clients.  

 

Tell us about your impact investing options for clients? What drives clients to choose impact investments?

Sustainability is a core value within LGT, which is an integrated part of our investment process. We offer various sustainable investments. All our investments are rated according to ESG criteria. We have a dedicated team for impact investing. Therefore, we offer debts and equity investing opportunities and believe that high returns correspond on the long run with high values having an impact on the environment and society.

 

Tell us about the bank’s philanthropic endeavors.

LGT's CEO H.S.H. Prince Max von und zu Liechtenstein founded LGT Venture Philanthropy in 2007 with the mission to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged people, contribute to healthy ecosystems and build resilient, inclusive and prosperous communities.

We have our own team in Austria that deals with all aspects of philanthropic endeavours. Therefore, we offer customers special worldwide offers in which they can invest. M-KOPA Solar, for example, is one organisation that we support within the philanthropic framework. This organisation brings light to Kenya. In Kenya, more than five million households have no electricity. Therefore, expensive kerosene is burned in lamps at night, which provides little light and releases harmful particles. M-KOPA now supplies millions of households with solar power and at the same time makes a profit with its sustainable business idea.

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