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Stefan Heringer

„Neunundvierzig Honorarberatung is the sort of company I have always dreamt of creating. We work solely in the interests of our clients and have their entire life situation in mind.

I have been supporting wealthy clients for more than 15 years now. I love working with people and I love my job. That's unusual – particularly in the financial sector.

But it didn't happen overnight.

I was always fascinated by business, especially the capital markets, even as a school kid. It was at school that I made my first foray into buying and selling shares, using virtual money as part of a business simulation game. From that moment on I knew that I wanted to make my hobby my career. When I left school I trained at a major bank, later specialising in securities, doing a part-time degree while continuing to work.

Dead end big bank

In the years that followed I advised wealthy private clients. But then the banking industry began to change fundamentally, at first gradually, then faster and faster, abandoning financial advice in favour of simply selling financial products.

Finally it reached the point where my job was no longer about providing the best-possible support for clients and their assets, but rather increasing the bank's profit margins in the short term. The client's interests, if we bothered about them at all, were secondary. I had to face up to the fact that my dream job had become a nightmare. Disillusioned, I wanted to leave the financial sector entirely. But then by chance in 2008, I came across a completely new business model in the area of financial advice: fee-based investment advice.

What did I find so attractive about the concept of fee-based investment advice? The great thing about it is that when you're only being paid by the client, like a lawyer, there is absolutely no possibility of any conflict of interests – the sort of conflicts of interests that always arise when you're working on commission. That's why I was really happy to spend nine years establishing a fee-only advisory as part of a team with Nikolaus Braun in the Munich branch of a banking startup.I still remember how pleased we were when fee-based advice in the securities business was finally legally protected as independent fee-based investment advice (unabhängige Honoraranlageberatung) in 2014.

Why I found independent fee-based investment advice so attractive?

And something else quickly became clear to me: investing that wants to do justice to the responsibility towards the client must be oriented towards the latest scientific findings. Both: fee-based investment advice and scientifically informed investing are still non-negotiable principles for me after I changed to Deutsche Wertpapiertreuhand to work as an asset manager and senior partner - in addition to and independently of my work for my own company.

And yet, in the long run, I found it less than satisfying to simply take care of investment advice and asset management. Can it be the job of a good wealth advisor to ensure that his clients get richer and richer and die as wealthy as possible? Aren't there much more relevant questions? For whom am I responsible? Which values related to money have shaped me and which ones do I want to pass on to my children? How sound and rational is my overall asset structure? What about that funny insurance policy I bought twenty years ago? How do I reduce unnecessary complexity? Do I have a watertight emergency plan in case I should one day no longer be able to act? How can money help me live a more satisfying life?

Why we founded Neunundvierzig Honorarberatung

We founded our own company precisely to explore these questions: Setting up my own fee-based advisory business as a small, quality-conscious and powerful unit - beyond investment advice and asset management - was therefore the next logical and consistent step for me. With Forty-Nine have founded a company as I always wanted it to be. We work exclusively in the interest of our clients and have their entire life situation in mind.

As I said, I love my job. I find it personally very rewarding to make lasting improvements to my clients' financial situation and their quality of life. The only thing I enjoy even more is spending time with my wife and three kids, or on my hobbies. If you're the same then why not come and see us? We can talk about how we may be able to help you – so you have time for the more important things in life.

Stefan Heringer fee only advisor Munich