From Asia to Europe, unflinching loyalty to HSBC
Rudolf Apenbrink makes no bones about it: his Germanic origins make him naturally loyal to his company. Rightly so, since this family man, a keen golfer, passionate traveller and German car lover has spent the whole of his career at HSBC. He humorously recalls his very long university education, in accordance with the German curriculum, which culminated in a PhD at the venerable age of 29. Armed with this he joined HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt, the HSBC subsidiary, in 1993: he progressed through the ranks, from general assistant to asset management six years later. He delights in defining his job in simple terms: "When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I help people get a good pension." After several years as head of the German, Austrian and Eastern European markets at HSBC Asset Management, his Asian adventure began in July 2007. During three years, as CEO with responsibility for Asia, Rudolf Apenbrink had the time to discover the region’s riches: "Asian countries, and in particular Japan and Australia, are very sophisticated when it comes to investment, explains Rudolf Apenbrink. But the key difference with Europe is without any doubt the extremely short investment time frame: it is very common there for investors to invest in an equity fund for only a few days or a few months. Investors in Asia are also less risk-averse than is the case on European markets."
He returned to the Old Continent in September 2010, when he was appointed CEO for the Emea region, based in Germany. After some twenty years in the asset management sector, he notes thoughtfully that: "The institutional asset management sector is now far more structured than in the past, with far clearer asset allocation and a more systematic approach." From his point of view, the distribution of products to retail investors, which he sees as procyclical, still needs to be simplified further. As for the future, Rudolf Apenbrink is still a great believer in the benefits of continuing to invest in emerging markets. At the current time, HSBC Global Asset Management has almost 145 billion dollars of assets under management in emerging markets, out of a total of 450 billion dollars.
*Europe Middle-East Africa