Present from the outset
When, in the summer of 1997, Joachim Faber joined the insurance company Allianz, the original intention was that he would take over in few years from Diethart Breipohl as the Group’s finance director. But fate decided otherwise. In choosing to expand its business activities to asset management, the group’s management decided, at the end of the 1990s, to entrust the responsibility for this new activity to Joachim Faber, who had in fact proposed that Allianz should branch out into this activity. This timely choice has seen the Munich-based insurer develop into one of the world’s top five asset management companies, with some 1,500 billion euros of assets now under management. Thus, rather than choosing to become the group’s finance director, one of the most prestigious positions in the German economy, Joachim Faber naturally opted to become CEO of the new division, Allianz Global Investors (AGI), explaining that he had always been passionately interested in the financial markets.
The development of this new business line gathered pace in 1999 when Joachim Faber, at that time aged 49, decided to take over the American investment management company Pimco. This proved to be a shrewd decision since Pimco now represents half of the assets under management at AGI. This acquisition led to him being appointed to the Executive Board of Allianz one year later.
Born in May 1950 in the university city of Giessen in the centre of Germany, the initial career path of the head of Allianz Global Investors was very different from his current position. After studying administrative law, first at Bonn University, then at the Postgraduate School of Public Administration in Rhénanie-Palatinat, he began his banking career at the State-owned bank of that autonomous region. However, six years later in 1984, he joined the German subsidiary of the American bank Citicorp in Frankfort. It was there that he discovered his interest in the world of finance. Under his responsibility, Citicorp become the leading distributor of derivative products on the German market. But Joachim Faber did not allow himself to get carried away by his success, as he has always been particularly suspicious of the Anglo-Saxon short-term approach of maximising profits in minimum time. This caution stood him in good stead during the 2007 crisis. Whereas the American insurer AIG had to rely on the American government to avoid going bankrupt, the Allianz group has emerged relatively unscathed from the crisis.
However, after just over ten years at the head of AGI, Joachim Faber will hand over the reins at the end of 2011 when he retires.