Friedrich von Metzler might not be too well known in the banking worlds of London or New York. But maybe he should be, despite being something of an anachronism in 21st-century finance. Anachronistic because Von Metzler is a banker who has skin in the game – and will have skin in the game even after he retires.
And Von Metzler has just announced his retirement from Metzler, Germany’s oldest continuously family-owned and run bank, founded in 1674. The bank’s full name is the rather grander – Bankhaus B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co – and befitting of its 300-plus years of existence.
Based in Frankfurt, Metzler is one of a few smaller German financial institutions that have impeccable corporate finance relations with the country’s powerful, mostly family-owned Mittelstand businesses as well as with many of the individuals who run these companies through their wealth management services. Another one that springs to mind is the Hamburg-based Berenberg Bank.
Von Metzler, or as he’s most often referred to as FM, announced his retirement last week. He’s the eleventh generation of his family to manage the bank and started working for it nearly 50 years ago. Now 75, FM, after so many years of sterling service, has called it a day. But the notification of his retirement was accompanied by this announcement: “He will remain with the company as a personally liable partner…”
That sounds like the ultimate family business commitment – one that maybe some would argue should be pondered by those running today’s big financial institutions for a minute or two…