ancient architecture archway building

Clever Commission From the City of Münster in Westphalia

Agencies, Analysts, Authorities, Experts

An automated safety net for municipal investments has not existed since 2017.

If municipalities do not want to set up extensive bond research departments themselves, in which financial analysts examine thousands of qualitative data and annual financial statements from issuers of financial products, the municipalities depend on the independent judgments of reliable credit rating agencies and specialists. The scandal of the Berlin rating agency Scope around the Greensill Bank in Bremen shows the billions in consequences of an embellished credit rating (see Börsen-Zeitung).

The city of Münster in Westphalia did not rely on the judgment of a rating agency registered in the European Union – the process in itself is a disgrace not only for the local rating agency Scope Ratings in Berlin, but also for the European Securities and Markets Authority in Paris, because far away in Paris are the supervisors, who already had internal compliance reports, transparency reports and notifications about the processes in Berlin. There was no lack of information.

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Relatives Are Relative

Agencies, Whistleblowing

The scandal with the Greensill Bank brings back earlier scandals by the same rating agency to mind.

How close can relationships be without being a problem for the rating and for the rating agency? What degree of kinship could influence the independence of judgment?

The story of the fund initiator Interlife Management GmbH seems like a penny dreadful: The company belonged to the father of the business scheme initiator and major shareholder of today’s Scope SE & Co. KGaA. Scope not only gave the first Interlife fund a good rating: A company owned by Scope manager Martin Passenheim took over sales. Ratings with a bitter aftertaste are not a recent phenomenon, but part of the gene code of this rating agency.

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human teeth

Scope Ratings Game of Corporate Law

Agencies, Authorities, Whistleblowing

The “Scope Group” is a bunch of constant changes under company law.

As a result of the Scope Ratings GmbH billion Euro scandal about Greensill Bank in Bermen, which was rated as “investment grade” for the first time in 2019 and is now insolvent, the precise activities of this local rating agency in Berlin have gained public attention. Therefore, the background to the recent Berlin takeover of Euler Hermes Rating GmbH (EHRG) is being researched.

The world-famous brand name “Euler Hermes” was not acquired by Scope. Even back then, when Scope took over FERI EuroRating Services AG, a credit rating agency registered by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and headquartered in Bad Homburg, on August 1, 2016, Scope did not care about continuing the good name of the acquired credit rating agency.

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Rating Technology

Read, Technology

Rating technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of rating services or in the accomplishment of rating objectives.

Rating technology comprises the knowledge of techniques, processes, and the like, and can be embedded in computers to allow for operation without detailed knowledge of their workings, for example in the case of articial intelligence. Rating systems applying technology by taking an input, changing it according to the rating system’s use and model, and then producing an outcome in the form of rating symbols are referred to as rating technology or technological rating systems.

The simplest form of rating technology is the development and use of basic tools. The printing press, the telephone, and finally the internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed decision makers to interact freely on a global scale, making use of most advanced rating technology, processing data in unprecedented quantities.

Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies and has allowed the rise of a new profile of rating analysts. Innovations have always influenced the values of a society and raised new questions in the ethics of technology. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, and the challenges of social credit systems.

Philosophical and political debates have arisen over the use of rating technology, with disagreements over whether rating technology used for social credit systems improves the human condition or worsens it. Some movements criticize the pervasiveness of social rating technology such as commonplace webcams and surveillance cameras, arguing that it alienates people. Proponents of social credit systems view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the civilization.

fabric with abstract ornaments and sequins

Comparing Art on One Platform


In response to the Corona restrictions for museums, art associations and galleries, bpar has established a central platform for specially digital art events with bpar.DIGITAL. It is a project of Beisel Public Art Relations, an initiative of Healthcom GmbH.

Museums, art associations, galleries and collections can upload their digital art formats there free of charge. The virtual tours and guided tours, artist talks, videos and podcasts are not only aimed at art enthusiasts and collectors. In addition, the free offer aims to facilitate access to a wide range of digital art offers for a broad target group, especially under the difficult pandemic conditions.

bpar.DIGITAL is a private initiative – with the intention of promoting the visual arts and culture and bringing them closer to a broad public via digital channels.

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TELOS ESG Fund Check Professional Launched


An engine room of ESG fund management is in the making.

EccoWorks GmbH, known in Germany for their sustainability consulting, and the long-standing specialist for fund ratings in the institutional sector, TELOS GmbH, have bundled their know-how in the field of sustainability to develop an ESG fund rating product as part of a cooperation.

The “TELOS ESG Fund Check Professional” rating product developed in the course of the cooperation is supposed to support professional investors in finding suitable asset managers who are qualified in the field of sustainability. With the help of the ESG rating offered at fund level, institutional investors, for example, can gain confidence that the managers they hire have the necessary experience and qualifications to integrate ESG within the funds they offer.

With an innovative approach, the focus is on the “engine room of fund management” and rounded off by an analysis of the fund’s financial performance. “The integrated rating based on qualitative and quantitative factors as well as the addressing of institutional investors clearly distinguishes us from other ESG fund ratings on the market”, emphasizes Prof. Dr. Henry Schäfer, managing partner of EccoWorks GmbH.

The TELOS ESG Fund Check Professional aims at all asset classes, including liquid as well as illiquid assets. Areas of investigation are the integration of ESG criteria within the investment approach itself, among other things, quality management as well as the responsible fund manager or the team behind the fund and their embedding in networks. The knowledge gained in the rating process is summarized in a meaningful certificate and the rating (platinum / gold / silver …) is also summarized in a rating seal and thus made transparent to the market and thus to investors. The fund management also receives a strengths / weaknesses analysis.

With the TELOS ESG Fund Check Professional, the two partners also want to build a bridge between asset managers and professional investors.

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Requirements Relating to Press Releases or Reports

News, Read, Reports

The text of publications must meet strict requirements.

The European Securities and Markets Authority considers that a credit rating or rating outlook should be accompanied by a press release or report. The press release or report should explain the key elements underlying the credit rating or rating outlook.

At least the following elements should be included::

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Where it would be disproportionate in length to include the full underlying detail of the above elements in the press release or report accompanying the credit rating or rating outlook, the European Securities and Markets Authority expects that credit rating agencies make clear and prominent reference where this underlying detail can be directly and easily accessed through direct web-link. Notwithstanding this, the Authority considers that the inclusion of the core of the above elements in the press release or report is necessary and proportionate to the overall length of the press release or report.

Monarchs or The Pope Are Not a Role Model for China


Many western states do not give China a good role model for further developing the political system.

All leading rating agencies – FitchRatings, S&P, DBRS Morningstar – give the People’s Republic of China a credit rating of A+ or A1. Moody’s credit profile of China (issuer rating A1) is supported by the country’s “a1” economic strength, but also – among other factors – drawn down by the country’s “baa” susceptibility to event risk, driven by risks posed by the banking sector, as well as by external vulnerability risk and political risk due to geopolitical tail risks.

However, many countries with better credit ratings, AAA or AA, do not offer the People’s Republic of China any examples to emulate. Only in kingdoms are there people who are granted a special position in politics and society at birth. In China, too, children of influential politics certainly have advantages in life. But these advantages are not guaranteed by the constitution or law, as in Western and Japanese monarchies: An unacceptable idea for the Chinese.

Absolute and semi-constitutional monarchies are most common today on the Arabian Peninsula, even though Morocco, Brunei, Eswatini and Liechtenstein also count among them. Semi-constitutionalism – where monarchs and elected representatives share powers – ranges from countries which let monarchs retain some powers next to an elected parliament to so-called elective monarchies, which elect leaders from a group of royals – the governing system of the United Arab Emirates. The Pope is also elected from a group of Cardinals, but he is the singular ruler over the Vatican, therefore considered an absolute monarchy.

Infographic: The World's Monarchies | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Internet Oligopoly is Hindering Online Retail Growth


China strengthens small and medium-sized enterprises.

On 5 March 2021, the Government of China (rated A1 stable by Moody’s) said it will encourage internet companies to reduce commissions to an appropriate level for merchants that transact on these internet companies’ platforms. “The government did not specify the level of potential commission reduction in its directive,” writes Moody’s in its report, “and is likely to gauge its effectiveness in terms of expanding market access.”

The instruction aims to boost migration of goods sales and services to online platforms and forms an integral part of the government’s economic development. This shift of business to online platforms has multiple consequences, including the security of business and the stability of social relationships in China. A social credit system can only function effectively if as many, if not all, transactions by citizens as possible are recorded in real time.

Moody’s sees that Internet companies have strong buffers against near-term challenges: “Most have strong financial profiles and good access to funding, which will help them navigate near-term business fluctuations.”

However, the immediate effects are initially negative, as Moody’s writes: “This directive is credit negative for internet companies because it could stall revenue growth and earnings growth. Companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Limited (A1 stable),, Inc. (Baa1 stable), Vipshop Holdings Limited (Baa1 stable) and Meituan (Baa3 stable) derive a substantial portion of revenue from merchant commissions, which are fees they charge merchants that transact market products and services on internet platforms.”

A team from Moody’s Investors Service has been digging deep into the consequences: Ying Wang, VP-Senior Analyst, Lina Choi, Senior Vice President, Chi Kit Edward Lam, Associate Analyst, Clement Wong, Associate Managing Director: “We project that rated Chinese internet companies will grow revenue 15%-20% and EBITDA 10%-15% in 2021, largely similar to the growth rates in 2020 despite the economic recovery in China this year.”

An increasing number of merchants will provide goods and services, especially smaller merchants that have been previously prohibited by high commission charges and the market for online retail and services will broaden over time, stimulate merchant growth and support sector growth in the long term, expects Moody’s.

white ceramic sculpture with black face mask

Guard the Livinguard


Face masks change the appearance of people, but also of companies.

The corona pandemic made many managers really familiar with video conferencing technologies. But it is still unusual when a member of the board of directors of a stock corporation gives its long-awaited lecture in front of around 70 participants from his moving car. He is also available for questions and answers – until a dead zone literally leaves the participants in the dark. “Antiviral face masks: How a start-up stirs up the world market” is the topic of this event.

Unusual entrepreneurs have unusual stories to tell. So the appearance described by Sanjeev Swamy, Chief Technology Officer of the spectacular Livinguard AG, which is based in Bahnhofstrasse in the Swiss city of Zug, fits the company’s claim. He raised money from KKR for his company.

“I first conceived of the Livinguard technology in 2010 when posed with an interesting technical challenge from a British Brigadier General friend. Since then, my partners and colleagues who have joined this journey have taken this technology beyond what I could have imagined back then. I am deeply humbled by our unique ability to help people and our planet today, and this couldn’t have been possible without years of learning from failure”, says Sanjeev Swamy.

There have been enough setbacks in the life of the Indian and now Switzerland fan. Sanjeev Swamy, born in 1961, has already experienced a lot. He reports that a factory in India burned down completely and he is still waiting for the insurance money. For him, other economic tragedies are not only associated with Douceur Sportswear Mgf. Co. Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai, India, but also in Germany with Douceur Brands Germany GmbH, HUCKE BERLIN GmbH, BUSCH Fashion GmbH, Whoopi Fashion GmbH or Douceur Retail GmbH.

With his new attempt, Livinguard AG, Sanjeev Swamy is once again combining his technical ideas with experience from the textile industry. “The Livinguard technology has been scientifically proven to destroy >99.9% of SARS-CoV-2,” enthuses Sanjeev Swamy.

Secured Income by Securing Deposits

Agencies, Clients, Regulations

The system of deposit insurance in the private banking industry makes GBB-Rating almost indispensable.

Cologne-based GBB-Rating, a company of the Auditing Association of German Banks, offers credit ratings with a price / performance ratio challenging its US peers. It is approved by the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) as an External Credit Assessment Institution (ECAI) for commissioned and unsolicited ratings for the calculation of capital requirements according to BASEL III / IV, CRR and Solvency II Directive. GBB-Rating is supervised by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in Paris, which is responsible for all credit rating agencies in the European Union (EU).

The following graphic shows how GBB-Rating (i.e. GBB-Rating Gesellschaft für Bonitätsbeurteilung mbH) is embedded in the relationships between the associations and their subsidiaries:

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The following graph shows active relations and historic relations of managing directors, authorized officers, shareholders and the number of ative or historic relations to other companies:

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Since 1996, GBB-Rating has been active on the German market and increasingly also internationally in other European countries for ratings and credit assessments. With more than 20 rating analysts and around 220 ratings and benchmarking of financial services institutions every year, GBB-Rating is one of the local agencies in Germany and Europe. In the 2018 financial year, an average of 35 employees – excluding managing directors – were employed. The focus of their work is in the financial services sector with particular expertise in assessing banks, building societies and leasing companies. They have also been offering Pfandbrief ratings since 2020.

Assigned ratings and rating reports provide a decision-making basis for management and shareholders, a strengths / weaknesses analysis as a basis for determining the position, starting points for improving opportunity / risk management and monitoring the success and risk factors. The credit rating serves as a negotiating argument for business and refinancing partners as well as an image-promoting marketing tool.

Medium-sized and smaller leasing companies in particular can benefit from a recognized rating when opening up new sources of refinancing at credit institutions and, if necessary, realize advantages or savings potential in the (future) calculation of equity requirements (“leasing risk weight”) through more favorable risk weights.

GBB-Rating offers many years of expertise in the development, backtesting and validation of risk classification procedures (scoring) and data analysis and methodological support for risk management.

Among their services are:

  • Credit assessments: Drawing on many years of experience, detailed knowledge of the relevant processes and risk systems within enterprises, and of clients’ industry and company-specific requirements, GBB-Rating has originated a series of customized rating procedures. Credit assessments focus on banks, building societies, leasing companies and SMEs.
  • Review and validation of risk classifications: The independent support in the review of rating and scoring models in accordance with the requirements for risk classification procedures (MaRisk AT 4.1), quantitative and qualitative validation of the stability, selectivity and failure probability of the models and processes used.
  • Development of risk classification procedures: Development and implementation of individually optimized score cards and rating models as part of risk classification procedures in accordance with MaRisk BTO 1.4.
  • Data analysis: Well-founded portfolio and benchmark analyzes to support decision-making, implementation of various data analyzes to increase transparency and to optimize overall bank management
  • Technical support for risk management: The GBB platform is a tailor-made system solution for optimized information, credit management and credit assessment processes.
  • Service provider for deposit insurance schemes: In addition to designing and supporting the implementation of risk-based contribution systems, GBB also offers backtesting and validation. The design of early warning indicators (e.g. traffic light system, stress tests, reporting, benchmarking) is also one of their areas of responsibility.

Funds are maintained by the banks in such a way that all banks belonging to the deposit protection fund pay in a certain amount annually. The contribution to be made by each bank depends on the company’s turnover and creditworthiness. In Germany, GBB-Rating is commissioned to assess the risk in the private deposit insurance fund. In the statutory deposit insurance scheme, regulatory ratios and external ratings are used as scalar factors.

The voluntary deposit protection fund of the Federal Association of German Banks was founded in 1976 and today exists alongside the statutory compensation scheme of German banks that has existed since 1998.

With the voluntary security fund of the private banks, there was a security limit until December 31, 2014, which is 30% of the relevant liable equity of the respective bank per creditor. In the case of a bank’s liable equity capital of, for example, 100 million euros, the assets of each individual customer are secured with up to 30 million euros, provided the fund has the appropriate funds. The protection limit will be gradually reduced: From January 1, 2015, the protection limit per creditor will be 20%, from January 1, 2020 initially 15% and from January 1, 2025 then 8.75% of the bank’s liable equity capital, which is relevant for deposit protection.

It is crucial for bank customers that banks must inform their customers before opening an account whether or not they belong to the deposit protection fund, Section 23a of the German Banking Act. Today this query can also be carried out online at the Association of German Banks.

The protection of the voluntary deposit protection fund begins where the statutory protection of the compensation scheme of German banks ends. In the event of the insolvency of a participating institution, the deposit protection fund takes over the parts of the deposit that exceed the EUR 100,000 limit up to the respective protection limit.

Rating Forest Investments

Criteria, Definitions, Investors, Read

Understanding the importance of sustainability has popularized an asset class that used to be reserved for the state, churches and nobles. Forest – to be precise its wood – has always served people as fuel, product and building material. Forest has now become the epitome of sustainable investments. The idea of sustainability emerged in a time of crisis and scarcity. Around 1700, the mining industry and livelihood of thousands was threatened in Saxony. The problem was an acute scarcity of timber. The mining industry and smelting of ores had consumed whole forests. Trees had been cut at unsustainable rates for decades without efforts to restore the forests. In Germany, the term sustainability is associated with Hans Carl von Carlowitz. He was raised in and influenced by the aforementioned environment of wood scarcity. He traveled widely in his youth and learned much from the forced discipline of the French minister Jean Baptiste Colbert, who had enacted a forestry reform in France. Carl von Carlowitz’ view that only so much wood should be cut as could be regrown through planned reforestation projects, became an important guiding principle of modern forestry.

In this preliminary article you can learn more about some risks and rewards of buying forests and what you should consider when buying forests. Given the popularity of forest investments, the question arises as to which ratings are available to investors as decision-making aids. The first question to be asked is which instruments can be used by investors to tap into this asset class. The most common investments in forests are shares, direct investments or closed-end funds. Whereas in direct investments investors invest directly in one or more trees on specific areas and leave the management to a service provider, closed-end forestry funds are less individual.

  • A forestry share is a security which securitises a share in a stock corporation whose capital is invested to a large extent in forest property or wood processing. Primarily Scandinavian and North American forestry stock corporations are traded. There are no German forestry stock corporations with significant free float on the stock exchange. Buying forestry shares does not necessarily mean planting new trees.
  • A closed-end forestry fund or closed-ended forestry fund is a collective investment model based on issuing a fixed number of shares which are not redeemable from the fund. Unlike open-end funds known for corporate stock and bond investments, new shares in a closed-end forestry fund are not created by managers to meet demand from investors. Instead, the shares can be purchased and sold only in the secondary market, which is the original design of the mutual fund, which predates open-end mutual funds but offers the same actively-managed pooled investments.
  • Direct investment in forest means becoming the owner of the forest yourself and thus acquiring all the rights and obligations of a forest owner. The investor needs to be able to maintain regular forest care. As a forest owner, you also have certain obligations, since you are legally obliged to ensure road safety. This means that all trees and branches that are located in places with increased traffic – for example on country roads or hiking trails – have to be felled or trimmed as soon as they pose an increased risk for humans. Buying forests also means taking responsibility.

The implications for the rating approaches to these investment alternatives are considerable.

Forestry shares being tradable on the stock exchange at any time are subject to extreme fluctuations in value. The valuation of most listed forestry shares has a history of having fluctuated by several hundred per cent. Such fluctuations in value mean that ratings of these stocks can quickly become out of date. In fact, a buy recommendation can turn into a sell recommendation within a day if the stock market price quickly exceeds the fair value. Most forestry share companies are predominantly wood processors, who are strongly affected by economic fluctuations and thus by fluctuations in pulp or timber prices. Therefore there is a strong dependence of many forestry shares on economic trends.

Direct forestry investments in precious woods, on the other hand, can react better to market fluctuations by postponing the harvest. The trees are left in the forest until the harvest is worth it – they become bigger, taller and more valuable every day. Fuctuations in precious wood prices have historically been significantly lower than those of timber or wood used for pulp production.

In Germany in particular, the very contradictory regulations must be observed. For decades, the German government has not consistently supported wealth creation through property acquisition. Pay attention to the municipality’s right of first refusal. In this sense, there are no secure legal bases for forest investments in Germany, because rights of first refusal can hinder both buying and selling. In addition, the following contradictions must be observed.

The yields generated from a direct forestry investment are generally tax-exempt while the price gains of forestry shares and forestry shares dividends are subject to the almost 30 per cent flat rate withholding tax including solidarity surcharge and church tax. On the other hand, the transaction costs are significantly higher than with stocks. In addition to the purchase price, land transfer tax, notary and fees, which often make up ten per cent of the purchase price, are added, thus significantly reducing the returns for forest investors. Property tax has to be paid annually and wood production in Germany is relatively expensive due to environmental regulations and certifications. In addition to the actual purchase price, there are also other costs when buying a forest which would not be part of the rating analysis of an independent forest rating. For example, you have to include the costs for the notary, usually 1.5% of the purchase price (the percentage can be higher for small areas) and the property transfer tax, around 4% – 6.5% of the purchase price. You must also not ignore the broker’s commission.

As a forest owner, you also have to pay additional costs.

Property tax, accident insurance and, if applicable, contributions from the soil and water associations are to be mentioned here. With the management of the area, the ancillary costs are always offset by possible income from the sale of wood.

Forest areas in other countries offer far higher returns, although buying forest in foreign countries can be difficult for foreigners. It is much easier to hire companies to lease or buy forests or fallow land in other countries, to manage them in order to generate yields for investors. The country rating must be taken into account for every investment abroad. The country rating is used to assess the economic, social and political risk that an investor will be prevented from receiving the income due to him.

Forest investment providers advertise the scarcity of forest. They argue, that the benefits of forestry investments are the growing demand for the raw material wood. Whether there are fewer and fewer forest areas and whether the demand for wood exceeds the supply has to be tested continuously.

Forestry investments are not always socially beneficial, especially when stock corporations and other big companies buy cheap land in foreign countries and perhaps even displace locals, or the price of land for local residents rises immeasurably as a result of land purchases. Forests are not always ecologically friendly. Thousands of hectares with cloned eucalyptus or teak planted in rows are no gain for nature. Many insecticides and pesticides that pollute and destroy the soil and the environment are sometimes used to increase output.

In any case, structurally rich forests with many different tree species offer a better and safer alternative to planted conifer monocultures that are based on only one tree species. Although these grow faster, they are also susceptible to storms, snow, ice and pests. Mixed forests of deciduous and coniferous trees are not only more stable and better adapted to climatic changes, they also allow you to react more quickly to changes in the demand for wood species on the market.

Any forest rating should also pay attention to the age of the forest. Young forests, in which there are only a few old trees, initially require more maintenance. Of course, they can more easily be designed according to your ideas. The young forest will initially generate little income from wood sales through its maintenance. Forests of old age with significantly taller and thicker tree trunks enable an early profit from the logging and sale, but require care for the new generation of trees.

Good soil and suitable tree species mean that larger quantities of wood of better quality can be expected in the long term.

This is likely to be reflected in the cost of purchasing the forest, especially if the seller has had the forest valued by an appraiser. Regardless of the quality of the soil, its location is a decisive criterion for price formation. So it depends a lot on where the forest is located. A forest area near Munich will therefore cost significantly more than a similar one in the countryside in Saxony-Anhalt. The standard land value is derived from the average price of areas sold in the area and, in addition to the special features of the forest area offered, serves as an aid to determining the actual value.

If the forest is well cared for and there is already a lot of high-quality wood to be expected on the area initially, then you should also expect higher costs. In any calculation, bear in mind that there are usually additional costs for managing the forest. So you cannot count the expected cubic meters of harvest one-to-one with the wood prices and use this to conclude the profit. If the area is difficult to access, the wood harvest is also time-consuming. If it is a particularly protected forest, for example in a nature reserve, then management is only possible to a limited extent. The ideal value of these forest areas is all the higher for one or the other, especially if rare animal and plant species live in this forest. You should therefore be clear about your goals in advance and only acquire forest if it fits your previously set goals.

In addition, a forest rating process should include a step in order to check any “contaminated sites”. For example, if the forest is on a former military site, the trees there may have been damaged or the ammunition in the ground has to be laboriously cleared.

All closed-end forestry fund investments have one risk factor: the long contract term. Even with sustainable forestry investments which respect human rights and the environment, the planted trees need lots of time to grow. On ecologically farmed land, they probably take even longer to grow than the fast-growing trees in monocultures, which are harvested earlier, to produce cheap pulp and biomass. During long contract terms, much can happen: companies can fall victim to mismanagement or go bankrupt, the regions in which the forests grow can become politically unstable.

Natural events such as fire, earthquakes, droughts or floods also have a lot of time to occur over the years.

Forestry investment are therefore right for investors in particular if they do not shy away from risks, have the necessary financial means and staying power until the trees generate returns. If you take over a neglected forest that does not promise stability and is therefore susceptible to pests or storms, that does not necessarily mean that it is a bad deal. Careless forest care can have a positive impact on the purchase price and there may be a lot of potential in your future forest. An unkempt forest can be a deterrent, but it is up to the investor to shape and maintain the forest. What possibilities are opening up in the forest and what additional costs have to be reckoned with for any maintenance measures? With almost every intervention in the forest, whether in well-tended or unkempt forests, financial resources are necessary.

Some native tree species have been planted in the wrong locations in the past. This can result in poor growth, instability and increased susceptibility to damage. To select tree species that are appropriate to the location requires a lot of expertise. To increase the stability of a forest and make it fit for the next centuries requires a forestry rating first.

Ecological goals or enjoying forest ownership are important motives for some investors. Because while it has a personal value for some, only the regularly generated income plays a role for others. However, if one compares direct forest investments with other investment options such as stocks, then short-term gains are generally not to be expected. Every rating approach for direct forest ownership has to take this into account. Forest ratings are possibly the ratings with the longest time horizon. Long-term bond ratings – for comparison – usually only refer to a forecast period of four to five years.

Forests give us the sustainable resource wood, which will also be of ever greater importance in the coming generations.

That makes the forest relatively stable as a system. However, for a fast growing return, other investment methods are a better alternative. So buying a forest is a decision that should be made not only for financial reasons, but also for a certain amount of idealism and enjoyment of nature. Forest investors are similar to investors who invest for ethical, ecological or social reasons.

Forest has been in great demand in Germany for a number of years and has often been family-owned for generations. In addition to the forest exchange, there are a few other real estate portals and tender platforms on the Internet that also offer forest. Depending on the respective provider, there may be costs for registration or an application. In some cases, brokers are also placed between the buyer and seller from the outset.

A responsible forest office or an auction houses in the area, the member newspapers of forest owners’ associations for forest pieces on offer or the advertising section of the regional newspapers might provide information on forest for sale. With currently estimated 1.9 million forest owners in Germany, investors are also well advised to ask around in their private or professional environment. The chance that you have forest owners in your circle of friends is quite high.

unrecognizable multiethnic friends in masks standing in subway train

FFP2 Masks Tested


The rating of the ffp2 masks by Stiftung Warentest needs repair.

Stiftung Warentest is a foundation established in 1964 by the German federal parliament with the aim of helping consumers by providing impartial and objective information based on the results of comparative investigations of goods and services.

The organization buys products anonymously from retailers, and make covert use of services, carries out tests in independent labs that use scientific methods and follow their specifications and give verdicts ranging from „very good“ to „unsatisfactory“, based solely on objective results. The findings are published free of adverts in their magazines „test“ and „Finanztest“, and online at

A lot of time has passed since the 1960s and conditions have changed. For consumers, many more products and providers are relevant today than they were in the 1960s, as these are easy to find on the Internet. This makes it difficult for an organization “Stiftung Warentest” to keep track of all relevant products.

An example of this is the test of FFP2 masks that was published at the end of February. The test organization set up by the German Bundestag ignores precisely those masks that were the first to be tested by TÜV Rheinland from German production. If you are looking for the test results for the masks from the STOLFIG.SHOP, you will not find what you are looking for.

Re-Innovate a Social System


In the book with the rather harmless title „Social Credit Rating“, Springer Verlag, Hrsg. Oliver Everling, all financial, societal and political issues of today can be found.

Since 2014, the KP (communist party) of PRC (China), is developing a so called, Social Credit System (SCS). The official goal is to include social (good) behavior in credit ratings for individuals as well as for companies to get more access to good (and cheaper) funding. If you follow the rules of society, you get awarded. By reading most of the contributions two things are clear, (1) this is much more than a social rating and (2) this actually gives a chance for German SME to profile themselves in China (on cost of US competitors).

China consider itself as being in the center of the world, as do the US/Western Europe. So those two blocks will evidently have a confrontation as long as none of them accept two different political models. I cannot imagine China accepting the free and liberal world of the West run by private oligopolies like Google and Facebook, as well as the US/WE accepting a communist party having access to the data, privat or corporate. The articles in this book very nicely show the total different set of attitudes between those blocks.

The Chinese (or Eastern Asian) way of integrating new models into their existing ones instead of going on confrontation like US and the „West“, actually appeals to me more today, although being taught neoliberalism at a Westerns Business School in the 90:ies and reading Fukuyama with great optimism at the end of the Cold War. Therefore I see a re-naisance of the philosophy of the „Wirtschafts-Wunder“ in both Japan and Germany to be the adequate way between Wall-Street Capitalism and One Party system in China. In this „third way“ the state played a regulatory role on the market and acted as a mediator between shareholders and stakeholders (soziale Marktwirtschaft).

Again, there is a perfect balance in this book to get an own picture of what this all means and there is no way to ignore those facts if you want to act in a global market in the future. China is there, no matter if you like it or not, and I prefer to see this as an historical chance to re-innovate our liberal/social system in a time where global capitalism has failed to solve the COVID19 crisis in regard to China.

bitcoins and u s dollar bills

From Money Substitute to Lottery Substitute


The average Bitcoin holding time for investors is estimated 3.1 years.

However, as a new Handelskontor infographic shows, there has recently been a change: More and more traders are appearing, while the relative proportion of long-term investors is falling.

According to research done by Handelskontor, at the beginning of March there were 5.41 million Bitcoin traders – more precisely, so many BTC addresses where Bitcoins were held for less than a month. In November of last year there were only 3.56 million.

The effect shown can be due to an increased use of cryptocurrency as a means of payment, as well as to increasing trading for speculative intentions. Judging by the advertising in the social media, however, when buying Bitcoin, the focus is on speculation about quick wins, and the payment function is hardly mentioned.

The addresses on which the Bitcoins are held for at least 12 months and are not transferred make up an ever smaller relative share of this popluation. This fell within the last 5 months from 64.79 to 58.88 percent.

In the social media these days, optimistic comments on the subject of Bitcoin predominate. In the last 7 days, 110,042 tweets with a positive connotation regarding the development of the crypto currency were posted, whereas the number of negative comments only amounts to 26,253. The vast majority, however, were neutral. This could be an indication that – in spite of all the highs – there is still no euphoria.

Google data shows that the demand for Bitcoin is extremely high, but that altcoins are also increasingly in demand. The search volumes for the crypto currencies Ethereum and IOTA also recently reached new highs.

faceless woman with bull skull in countryside

Resistance of the Gallic Village

Read, Systems

France and Germany are still a long way from having an efficient social credit system.

One of the many prerequisites for a functioning social credit system is the abolition of cash, because only electronic money would allow the state to exercise complete control over all transactions of the citizens. But this control is in turn necessary to enforce the results desired by a social credit system.

The argument for a cashless society has been around for a while, but the rapid rise of the Coronavirus crisis has intensified the debate again amid concerns about banknotes and coins transmitting the virus. In addition to this, the increasing decline of high street bank branches and ATMs has made the possibility of a cashless society in the next few years more likely than ever before.

Interested in financial transactions, analysed the latest data from YouGov, to discover which countries in the world would most be in favour of a cashless society. A total of 25,823 individuals were surveyed for the research, 2,049 from Germany.

India is in number one spot as an overwhelming 79% of Indians would like to have a cashless society in their country. In second position is Malaysia, where 65% of Malaysians are in support of having a cashless society in their country. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Indonesia are in joint third place, as 63% of citizens in each respective country believe becoming cashless will have a positive impact on their society and economy. Vietnam (60%) and Singapore (56%) are among the other countries where over 55% of citizens are in favour of transitioning towards a cashless society, respectively in fourth and fifth position.

Germany is in 16th place, as 20% of Germans think going entirely cash free would be a great decision for their country. Furthermore, 35% of Germans admit to paying in cash less often since the Covid-19 outbreak.

At the other end in 17th position is France, where only 18% of French citizens would welcome their country being entirely dependent on electronic forms of payment.

luck technology travel time

First crypto fund ratings in Germany

Agencies, Assets, Methodologies

TELOS GmbH, known for their fund ratings in the institutional sector, and DLC Distributed Ledger Consulting GmbH announce a strategic cooperation in the field of crypto fund ratings.

The aim of the cooperation is to connect two worlds – that of classic asset management and that of digital asset management. On the one hand, the partners want to create more transparency in the crypto market, which is still new and relatively unknown for institutional investors. On the other hand, the qualitative rating should give investors security about the know-how of the fund providers in the management of this asset class.

“In the first step, crypto values ​​such as Bitcoin or Ether will probably find their way into multi-asset strategies, after the inclusion of illiquid assets, among other things, one can speak of ‘multi-asset 4.0’. Many investors are already indirectly already today invests in Bitcoin without knowing it – for example, if they hold shares of Tesla, MicroStrategy or the parent company of Twitter, Square, in their portfolio “, says Alexander Scholz, Managing Director of TELOS GmbH.

The expertise of TELOS as an established rating agency, even in complex fund products, and the in-depth expert knowledge in the field of crypto assets from DLC Distributed Ledger Consulting should complement each other: “We take on the role of technical specialists in the cooperation and also advise on innovative incentive models for digital assets. Specifically, for example, we carry out smart contract audits of the tokens in a fund and in this way significantly increase security for the respective asset manager and, of course, the investor,” says Dr. Sven Hildebrandt, who was employed by a capital management company before DLC was founded.

Both cooperation partners assume that the universe of crypto funds, which is attractive for institutional investors, will increase exponentially. As market participants understand the asset class and its attractiveness in the overall portfolio context (correlation effects, improvement of the Sharpe ratio), questions about practical portfolio implementation and risk management will come to the fore, especially when choosing the right investment product and asset manager.

Bank Rating – Normative Banking Regulation in the Financial Market Crisis


Oliver Everling and Karl-Heinz Goedeckemeyer (publisher): Banking Rating – Normative Banking Regulation in the Financial Market Crisis, 2nd Edition, Wiesbaden 2015, Springer Gabler,, Copyright Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2004, 2015, ISBN 978- 3-8349-4734-5, DOI 10.1007 / 978-3-8349-4735-2, eBook ISBN 978-3-8349-4735-2, 529 pages.

Particularly after the financial market crisis, the serious, sound assessment of the creditworthiness of banks is of particular importance. High-ranking experts from various perspectives (banking, auditing, commercial law firms, rating agencies, management consultancy) provide competent, useful assistance in this work. Since the first edition of this book, a plethora of topics has been added, particularly concerning the regulation of banks. Bank ratings are being influenced by state regulations, as hardly ever before. Thus, the focus of the contributions of this editorial work shifted to the resulting issues.

The content:

  • Assessment aspects of the business strategies of European banks
  • Methods of business assessment of banks
  • Interpretation of the bank accounting
  • Implications of ratings for the valuation of banks and bank rating systems
  • Overall bank management and credit risk management
  • Banking regulation
  • Rating and financial market communication

Oliver Everling und Karl-Heinz Goedeckemeyer (Herausgeber): Bankenrating – Normative Bankenordnung in der Finanzmarktkrise, 2. Auflage, Wiesbaden 2015, Springer Gabler,, Copyright Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2004, 2015, ISBN 978-3-8349-4734-5, DOI 10.1007/978-3-8349-4735-2, eBook ISBN 978–3-8349-4735-2, 529 Seiten.

brown cathedral

Israel and UAE lead the field


Without a vaccination and without a face mask, the risks remain incalculable.

Israel is leading the race to reach the 60-70 percent threshold needed to suppress the spread of Covid-19 among the general population. Second-placed UAE’s 60.8 doses per 100 inhabitants and the UK’s 30.13 doses per 100 of its citizens are ahead of the United States, where the rate of vaccination stands at 21.77 jabs for every 100 people.

In the Federal Republic of Germany it has not been possible to achieve approximately the same level of protection for the population. Therefore, the pandemic is expected to continue to spread. The lack of success of the measures taken will therefore continue to burden the risk situation of many companies.

Infographic: The Covid-19 Vaccination Race | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

for most people in Germany there is no short-term vaccination appointment available. Therefore, protection with face masks is essential.

multiracial women going out from university

Light Masks for Easier Breathing


Masks are also an issue for psychologists.

Who would have thought in 2019 that face masks could one day become an issue for risk managers? The far-reaching consequences give reason to be precisely informed about the use of face masks.

The protective effect of the FFP2 mask is only guaranteed if it is worn continuously and tightly (i.e. to match the shape of the face and finally on the skin). As part of occupational safety, the tight fit of the mask is ensured by the so-called FIT test.

If FFP2 masks are used correctly, there is increased breathing resistance, which makes breathing difficult. For this reason, an occupational health check-up should be offered before wearing in order to medically assess the risks for the user on an individual basis. In accordance with the requirements of occupational safety, the continuous wearing time of FFP2 masks is limited in healthy people. This minimizes the worker’s stress due to the increased breathing resistance. Light masks give the wearer the subjective feeling of being able to breathe better.

FFP2 masks have so far been used for a specific purpose and in a targeted manner in the context of occupational safety. Therefore, outside of the health care system, studies would have to be carried out on the health, possibly also long-term effects of their use (e.g. in risk groups or children). In studies with health workers, side effects such as breathing difficulties or facial dermatitis as a result of the final tight fit have been described. FFP2 masks should not be used multiple times as intended, as they are usually single-use products.

The IC Rating™ model by Intellectual Capital Sweden

Definitions, Models, Read, Systems

Intellectual Capital comprises all factors critical to an organization’s future success that are not shown in the traditional balance sheet.

If you are looking for a rating approach to intellectual capital (IC) that fits that definition, this article is still the right read for you:

The IC Rating™ model by Intellectual Capital Sweden
Kristine Jacobsen, Peder Hofman‐Bang, Reidar Nordby Jr
Journal of Intellectual Capital
ISSN: 1469-1930
Publication date: 1 December 2005 

The Intellectual Capital model is originally based on ideas put forth by Sveiby (1997) indicating a division in internal, external and market assets, and the groundbreaking work done by Leif Edvinsson at Skandia in the beginning of the 1990s (Edvinsson and Malone, 1997). Most IC models today use this division, but the words and details might vary. The IC Rating™ model provides important inspiration for investors who are interested in impact investing, social investing and sustainability.

The IC Rating model contains three main areas of IC:

  • organizational structural capital,
  • human capital and
  • relational structural capital.

The value of the article is, among other things, that it develops a taxonomy that is relevant today and probably also in the future. The model creates order by defining elements and showing relationships between the elements. On the one hand, these are abstract enough to be generally valid, on the other hand, concrete enough to lead to a practical result.

The reader of the article will understand why a company’s intellectual capital is not just the sum of the knowledge of its employees. Instead, it is key to capture that knowledge in the company’s structures, so it is transferred from individuals, to groups, to the entire organization and becomes part of the organization’s “structural” capital.

The IC Rating™ gives the company a better understanding of non-financial assets and their importance in the company’s value creation. Intangible assets behave differently to financial and monetary assets, and should therefore be treated differently. The rating brings new insights into how businesses change and perform and how intangibles interact to create value.

The taxonomy provides for a shared language and terminology, therefore assuring a structured and pedagogical way of discussing and understanding a concept that is often perceived as blurry and unclear. A better internal management of IC and translation of a business strategy into actionable results are the consequences. As with any meaningful asset rating it helps the management make intelligent trade-off decisions with regards to investments. Companies never have unlimited funds to invest in the company and the results of an IC Rating™ will give clear indications where the investments will give the best return.

person dropping paper on box

Countercyclical Capital Buffer in the Election Year


To avoid speculation about the state of banks and the economy in the election year, there are no more capital adjustments.

Bank capital should be accumulated when cyclical systemic risk is judged to be increasing, creating buffers that increase the resilience of the banking sector during periods of stress when losses materialise. Since the decision on the formation of equity capital is not left to the banks themselves, but is controlled by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), the decisions of BaFin are of high political importance and symbolism.

The countercyclical capital buffer (CCyB) is set every quarter by BaFin which takes into account recommendations of the AFS Financial Stability Committee and the European Systemic Risk Committee (ESRB) when making its decision. The CCyB is part of a set of macroprudential instruments, designed to help counter pro-cyclicality in the financial system.

Unfortunately, these measures themselves have a pro-cyclical effect. The capital requirements and their changes are themselves signals for the market. Exaggerated reactions on the part of market participants are possible, both in the event of easing as well as increased capital requirements.

In response to the corona pandemic, BaFin lowered the CCyB from 0.25 percent to 0 percent in April 2020 and has kept it there ever since. The amount BaFin will set the countercyclical capital buffer after the corona pandemic will largely depend on how the cyclical vulnerabilities and risks in the banking sector develop, writes BaFin: “It is currently not foreseeable when the pandemic will be over.”

In contrast, it is possible to predict when the general election in Germany will take place. The Federal Ministry of Finance is responsible for BaFin. Although being member of only the third strongest party in the German Bundestag, the Federal Minister of Finance is entering the election campaign as a candidate for Chancellor and the top candidate of the Social Democratic Party.

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BaFin’s decision shall help maintain the supply of credit and dampen the downswing of the financial cycle. The CCyB can also help dampen excessive credit growth during the upswing of the financial cycle. BaFin’s decision may therefore not reflect economic realities, but rather the need to keep the issue of the fragility of the economy and the vulnerability of banks out of the election campaign. Normally a quarterly review of the decision would be undertaken.

GRENKE Informs About Fruits of BaFin’s Special Auditor


Based on an ad hoc announcement, Grenke AG called this morning for a media conference that was scheduled at short notice.

Due to the severe crisis of the company and the still good ratings, the development is receiving special attention. The questions discussed included possible personnel changes on the Executive Board. The interviewed Antje Leminsky, Chair of the Board of Directors of GRENKE AG, and her CFO referred to the Supervisory Board. This corresponds to stock corporation law in Germany and is a normal process.

At the same time, however, it must be stated that the board of directors does not give any hope that the founder of the company, Wolfgang Grenke, might rejoin the company to ensure orderly conditions. Wolfgang Grenke turned 70 on February 3, 2021. If you follow the example of American presidents, it is not yet an age to leave the fate of your life’s work entirely to the younger generation. Therefore it would have been an important signal that the company’s board of directors could be certain of the support of the founder.

Wolfgang Grenke’s personal financial situation is certainly so secure that in a financial sense the development of the company he founded is no longer important for him personally. The following diagram shows eight important holdings by Wolfgang Grenke. His company shares range from 20% to 79.53%. Each of these companies in turn has shares in other companies, sometimes together with companies in which Wolfgang Grenke also holds shares:

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Mazars’ interim report

According to Mazars’ interim report, no findings have been made that cast doubt on the legal validity and economic substance of the lease contracts with outstanding receivables of around EUR 5.6 billion. According to the report, the allegation of money laundering has also not been confirmed. Generally, there is no systematic need for goodwill impairments on acquired franchises. According to the report, the valuations are justifiable despite methodological deficiencies.

Mazars’ report also contains significant points of criticism. For example, Mazars considers it necessary to consolidate the franchise companies. The report also criticised the failure to disclose related parties in previous annual financial statements, the procedure of parts of GRENKE Bank’s customer lending business, and the money laundering prevention process. The report also contains the already known findings in the areas of internal audit and compliance.

happy multiethnic women walking in park

Rating Evidence on the Effectiveness of Vaccines


‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease.

There is a lot of data circulating about the effectiveness of vaccines against the coronavirus. Even experts can skid when they have to translate the numbers from scientific studies into concrete, understandable information. Explaining the effectiveness numbers and their meaning is not easy.

The vaccines are effective, but how effective exactly? Especially when it comes to vaccination to prevent diseases with COVID-19, it is important to be absolutely clear about its effectiveness and effectiveness in order to counter doubts and questions with clear information.

Say the effectiveness of the vaccine on the basis of messenger ribonucleic acid is given as 94%. This number shows how many cases of symptomatic COVID-19 illnesses are prevented by the vaccinations. This is calculated with 100 × (1 – disease rate with vaccine / disease rate with placebo). This becomes concrete if one looks at a population group that is similar to the group examined in the clinical study. A cumulative COVID-19 disease rate over a period of 3 months is considered, which is, for example, around 1% without vaccine, as was seen in the placebo arms of the vaccination studies.

With vaccine, 94% of these diseases that would otherwise occur would not occur. So actually only about 0.06% of people vaccinated would get COVID-19. On the other hand, it is commonly interpreted that 94% effectiveness means that 6% of all vaccinated people still get sick – versus 0.06% sick people with the correct meaning.

Then what does 94% mean? Misunderstood 6000 patients out of 100 000, actually only 60 patients. This precise description of the findings from the vaccination studies is also important for further predictions, for example when it comes to risk reduction in populations that are more exposed, exposed to higher numbers of infections or have an increased risk of disease.

In 2020 DEFAMA Once Again Achieved Highs in All Key Figures


DEFAMA promised to publish the audited figures and the 2020 annual report at the end of April 2021.

According to preliminary and unaudited figures, Deutsche Fachmarkt AG (DEFAMA) achieved a consolidated net income of € 2.5 (2.1) million or € 2.5 (2.1) million in the 2020 financial year with sales of € 14.8 (previous year: 11.2) million . Earned € 0.57 (0.51) per share. This corresponds to an increase of 21%. Funds From Operations (FFO) were € 5.8 (4.6) million or € 1.32 (1.14) per share, an increase of 26%.

DEFAMA has thus achieved the forecasts in the Corona year or even slightly exceeded them for FFO as a central control parameter, although the Management Board has made precautionary value adjustments in the low six-digit range on outstanding payments from tenants that are affected by the lockdown. The management board and the supervisory board want to propose to the general meeting that a dividend be increased from 45 to 48 cents per share.

For the current year DEFAMA is still aiming for an increase in FFO to around € 7.1 million or € 1.61 per share. The annualized FFO of the portfolio should reach at least € 8.0 million by the end of the year. The target figure for the annual surplus is € 3.1 million, which corresponds to € 0.69 per share. According to the communicated distribution policy, the company intends to raise the dividend again for 2021.

DEFAMA currently has a portfolio of 43 retail parks with a total of 179,000 sqm of usable space, more than 96% of which are let. The annualized annual net rent amounts to a good € 14 million. The largest tenants include ALDI, EDEKA, LIDL, Netto, NORMA, Penny, REWE, Getränke Hoffmann, Dänisches Bettenlager, Deichmann, Takko and toom.

focal point photo string of violin

How to Celebrate Best Asset Manager Ratings


Firstfive AG is Germany’s leading rating agency for assessing asset managers in wealth management.

The best asset managers are honored annually. Based on the Sharpe ratio, i.e. the risk-adjusted performance, the results from three risk classes are combined using a score. The best Sharpe ratio receives 33.33 points and is the benchmark for the following places. They receive points according to the percentage of the top result achieved. The winner is the bank / asset management company with the highest total number of points (out of a maximum of 100). The winner must show outstanding performance in three different investment strategies.

For three evaluation periods, firstfive AG honored the best asset management companies in a digital ceremony in the Villa Bonn in Frankfurt am Main. Despite the pandemic, the award ceremony took place again in a dignified setting, which is a good contrast to video conferences and webinars. The recording of the gala event was broadcast live on February 22nd, 2021 and is available here as video.

The winner in the 12-month rating is Rhein Asset Management S.A. The top placement in the 3- and 5-year rankings is again occupied by ODDO BHF Trust GmbH, which with a total of 3 podium places – as in the previous year – also achieved the best overall result of all participants. The best asset management companies have to show top performance in three different risk classes in order to achieve top positions. This demanding task gives the firstfive Awards a particularly high priority.

“Our evaluations are made on the basis of real depots. The firstfive AG database of around 180 depots is unique and we distinguish ourselves from performance projects or depot contests from other institutions not be identical”, emphasizes Jürgen Lampe, CEO of firstfive AG.

The award-winning duo Liisa Randalu (viola) and Erik Schumann (violin) provided top-class accompanying chamber music. The members of the Schumann Quartet played Duetto No. 2 by F.A. Hoffmeister in C major and songs by Franz Schubert, including the Erlkönig.

Another highlight was the tasting of award-winning St. Kilian whiskeys from Germany’s largest distillery, in which the digital guests were able to participate in real life thanks to samples sent in advance. Not the risk / return ratio but look, smell, taste and run down are the evaluation criteria for a whiskey. Mr. Andreas Thümmler, founder and managing director of St. Kilian Distillers GmbH, explained the pot still process for the production of single malt whiskey according to Scottish tradition. He also showed investment opportunities in premium whiskey with exceptional return opportunities, which you can look at again here.

This year in the 12 month rating, Rhein Asset Management S.A. was just ahead of the game. 1st and 2nd place in the dynamic risk classes and a good 6th place in the balanced class were enough for the Luxembourgers to win the overall ranking. Mainly technology stocks from the USA made above-average performance contributions. Volksbank Kraichgau eG had to be content with second place, just beaten. With a slightly larger gap, ODDO BHF Trust GmbH reached 3rd place

Results overview – 12 months

  1. Rhein Asset Management S.A., Wasserbillig [81.2 pts.]
  2. Volksbank Kraichgau eG, Wiesloch. [79.8 pts.]
  3. ODDO BHF Trust GmbH, Frankfurt a. M. [68.1 pts.]
  4. LIQID Asset Management GmbH, Berlin [52.0 points]
  5. DJE Kapital AG, Pullach [47.2 pts.]

“We are very happy about the award for first place in the 1-year ranking in this very moving and demanding year 2020! The pandemic with all its effects presented us with unforeseen challenges in the past year. It is precisely in such phases that we as asset managers need keeping a cool head and making intelligent decisions. We are all the more proud that we were able to increase the assets entrusted to us by our clients even in this difficult phase. The early identification of global trends in connection with our risk-adjusted strategy was again the basis of our success”, said Mark Bügers, Managing Partner, Rhein Asset Management S.A.

“The second place in the 3-year rating and 3rd place in the 5-year rating also show that our investment strategy is sustainable and successful regardless of short-term market trends”, continued Bügers. “The Covid-19 crisis in particular has strengthened our investment process once again. The selection of stocks that benefit from global growth issues and meet our criteria is the foundation of our philosophy. At this point, it is particularly important to us to thank our customers for their loyalty and trust.”

In the 3-year ranking, top placements in the moderately dynamic and dynamic class gave ODDO BHF Trust GmbH 1st place with a clear lead. Rhein Asset Management S.A. took second place, followed by Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers AG.

Von links: Jürgen Lampe (firstfive), Tilo Wannow (Oddo BHF Trust), Mark Bügers (Rhein Asset Management), Prof. Jan Viebig (Oddo BHF Trust), Antje Erhard [Fotomontage firstfive AG]

Results overview – 36 months

  1. ODDO BHF Trust GmbH, Frankfurt a. M. [97.4 pts.]
  2. Rhein Asset Management S.A., Wasserbillig [85.7 pts.]
  3. Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers AG, Frankfurt a.M. [76.2 points]
  4. LIQID Asset Management GmbH, Berlin [70.0 points]
  5. Hypo Tirol Bank AG, Innsbruck. [69.0 pts.]

In the supreme discipline, the 5-year evaluation, ODDO BHF Trust GmbH from Frankfurt a.M. was able to defend last year’s victory with a very narrow lead. Successful stock picking in Europe and North America remains the basis of success. LIQID Asset Management GmbH, the digital asset management company from Berlin, has to be content with second place. Rhein Asset Management S.A. from Wasserbillig secured another place on the podium.

Results overview – 60 months

  1. ODDO BHF Trust GmbH, Frankfurt a.M. [96.7 points]
  2. LIQID Asset Management GmbH, Berlin [95.2 points]
  3. Rhein Asset Management S.A., Wasserbillig [92.1 points]
  4. Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers AG, Frankfurt a.M. [81.8 points]
  5. DJE Kapital AG, Pullach [75.0 points]

“Due to the corona pandemic,” said Joachim Häger, partner and board member, ODDO BHF AG, “2020 was an extraordinarily challenging year on the stock market. Nevertheless, our asset management can come up with excellent performance figures. This is primarily thanks to our proven quality approach with an active country, sector and individual stock selection. We are pleased that we were able to secure assets for our customers in all risk classes and achieve significant added value in the equity-heavy custody accounts.”

APIs Allow Next Generation Financial Services


Application programming interfaces—or APIs—have already had a fundamental impact on the digital banking industry by creating grounds for an array of new financial products.

According to Marius Galdikas, CEO at ConnectPay, APIs can help further improve financial services, as they create the opportunity to ensure coherent multi-channel services and introduce personalized experiences, fostering repeat usage.

In the payments industry, an API is an intermediary which enables to securely transfer account data between payment service providers (PSPs) and third parties. It is an essential part of open banking, a concept based on open, yet secure access to financial information with the end goal of creating better products for consumers.

According to M. Galdikas, APIs are at the heart of any forward-thinking financial technology company focused on driving innovation. He outlined one example of how APIs can support online businesses to refine the customer experience.

“One crucial consideration for businesses is the consistency at which the services they provide are offered across different digital channels: ‘does it offer the same efficiency, speed, or transparency?’ Ensuring a coherent multi-channel experience may very well be the thing that gives the company that competitive edge. This coherence can be achieved by correctly utilizing APIs – a responsibility that falls upon the payment service provider supporting the business,” explained Galdikas.

“An API is the main element that allows a company to isolate services into something granular and adapt it, with ease, to different channels and platforms. For example, you can easily customize specific elements for different channels, thus creating a more personalized experience for the user, based on the devices used to access the service,” said Galdikas.

M. Galdikas noted that ConnectPay is also looking to utilize APIs by launching a new payment initiation service for their EU-residing merchant customers. The solution will enable them to securely collect funds from their customers’ bank accounts. For this matter, the company is teaming up with Sensedia – experts in managing complex API ecosystems. Outsourcing an API provider gives more room to focus on innovation, as more resources can be diverted towards the product, instead of building the system from the ground up.

photo of people reaching each other s hands

Role of the ICM Outreach Support Team at a Rating Agency


Integrated Content Marketing (ICM) at a rating agency is key to ensuring that the rating agency’s brands meet business goals, communicate messages in an engaging way, and accurately assess their performance.

An integrated content marketing strategy helps ensure that a rating agency is broadcasting a clear, consistent message across all marketing communication channels by collaborating with other departments and digital marketing teams.

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crime scene do not cross signage

TV Episode on the Social Credit System in a German Soap Opera Crime Thriller


The topic of the social credit system is taken up in a humorous crime series on German state television.

On Saturday, February 20, 2021, the episode is not only available online, but can also be seen on television at 8:15 p.m. on Second German Television (ZDF).

The fictitious story: Georg Wilsberg (Leonard Lansink) is a passionate book antiquarian in the German city of Münster. Since he is always short of money, he also takes on jobs as a private detective. He often calls in his best friend Ekki (Oliver Korittke) and his goddaughter and niece Alex (Ina Paule Klink) for his investigations – often against their will.

Citizens who behave socially are credited with points, and they enjoy numerous privileges based on their point balance. When the general manager of the social credit company is suddenly found dead, Wilsberg is certain: It was murder.

The victim left an encrypted USB stick that Wilsberg found together with his client Christine Lau. Anna Springer is meanwhile suspended because her score is catastrophic. Nevertheless, with the help of Overbeck and Merle, she manages to decrypt part of the data on the USB stick.

The large corporation headed by Juliane Hell has been collecting incriminating material about important decision-makers for years. These were apparently put under pressure to get approval to publish the social credit app. In the media, however, the success of the app is still only reported unilaterally. What is this company up to?

Ekki is thrilled that his good behavior will finally be rewarded and is initially reluctant to help Wilsberg. He lets himself be persuaded to do an unpaid internship at the social credit company, but hopes to find exculpatory material instead of evidence of the murder. Alex, who works as a lawyer for the large corporation, is anything but happy about Ekki’s undercover investigation on behalf of Wilsberg. Security chief Adam Schenk is also targeting Ekki critically. But the citizens’ initiative against the social credit system around activist Bernd Anger has apparently been infiltrated by a mole.

Wilsberg sees no other chance than to publish all of the material as quickly as possible. And he is promptly in danger. Is the data on the stick so dangerous for the company that those responsible go to cover up corpses?

Actually, the shooting of the new ZDF crime thriller “Wilsberg” should already take place in April 2020 and that for two weeks. But then there was Corona and with the pandemic the lockdown, so no more shooting for now. In the meantime, shooting was taking place again in North Rhine-Westphalia, but only under very strict security requirements for teams and actors. That’s why the Wilsberg crew stayed in Münster for only three days this time, but at least one of the scenes filmed in Münster was all the more spectacular: the crime showdown in the Botanical Garden – as the film service Münster.Land found out about the production.

The 71st episode in total was staged as a science fiction comedy based on the script by David Ungureit by Dominic Müller. Above all, it thrives on the contrast between the supposedly good old days and the dangers that the Internet could bring with it.

Even if words are used in this film that sound like the social credit system in China, it has to be underlined that the story is fictitious and has nothing to do with reality in either China or Germany.

Who Used RATING.REPAIR in 2020?

Read, Repairs

Map of RATING©REPAIR users in 2020

We do not know whether it is mere curiosity, serves scientific research or is of commercial use; in any case, we are repeatedly asked who the users of our service RATING©REPAIR are. We are therefore providing an overview of the user structure in 2020.

We only receive this information to the extent that visitors to our website also allow cookies to be set or subscribe. We therefore have no information on who has only visited our website but not used it. Furthermore, it does not record who only reads our freely available blog posts. In addition, these are also published on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and TumblR. Therefore we have many more readers than users. So we are only talking about users in a narrower sense.

The world map shows from which countries we were able to serve users with RATING©REPAIR in 2020. As expected, most of the interested parties are in Germany, where RATING EVIDENCE GmbH is based in Frankfurt am Main. The darker the color, the greater the number of users.

Click here to see a list of the countries of our RATING©REPAIR users 2020

Ranking according to the number of visitors in 2020:

United States
United Kingdom
Hong Kong SAR China
Bonia & Herzegovina
South Africa
United Arab Emirates
Czech Republic
South Korea
New Zealand
American Samoa

In the first two months of 2021, we noticed that users from other countries that are not yet on this list above have joined the list now.

At the beginning of 2021, the user structure led to the following structure of our revenues, which were achieved exclusively through the sale of subscriptions:

RATING EVIDENCE GmbH generates additional sales from investments and other businesses that are not included in this chart. Due to the lifetime price guarantee and the guarantee to all subscribers not to lower prices for later subscribers, there was a slight increase in the average subscription fee over the last year. As a result, around a third is generated in Germany, a third in the countries of the European Union outside Germany and a third in countries outside the European Union.

We see a shift in user structures from month to month, depending on the topics we are dealing with. There was a clear jump in the number of users from China when our book “Social Credit Rating” was about to be published last year and announcements as well as excerpts from the articles could be put on our website.

waving flag of united states of america

In 2020 we installed a translation function from Google Translate on our website, which enabled a quick translation into almost all major languages in the world with just one click of the mouse. Although we do not know exactly how often this offer was used by our users, we have abolished the translation function. Therefore, no more data is passed on to Google Translate. On the one hand, many browsers automatically offer a translation if the visited website does not appear in the language preset in the browser. On the other hand, everything indicates that our users always speak English. Anyone who deals with the responsible and efficient allocation of capital as a resource and with the rating of all asset classes around the world obviously understands enough English.

"During a medical routine check-up my doctor once gave the - for me unknown - name of an illness to me and asked me if I might be infected with this illness. I then asked the doctor what the disease name meant and what the disease was all about. The doctor replied that I had already answered his question by asking him about this disease instead of giving him an answer right away. 'Anyone', he said, 'who has the disease that they have been asked about definitely knows that they suffer from it and would not hesitate a second to say yes.' It is similar with our services from RATING EVIDENCE GmbH. Those who don't know what we can do may not suffer or may not suffer enough to see the value of our services on RATING©REPAIR. Get in touch with us if you are the one who understands what I mean."

 Dr. Oliver Everling, CEO of RATING EVIDENCE GmbH
spiral stairway of modern hall in contemporary building

When Stocks Are Too Good to Sell – Crossings Can Be Dangerous


Private investor crossings are independent transactions in which an investor enters a buy and a sell order for one and the same security in a timely manner and thus buys the security himself. Such crossings are bogus and prohibited, warns the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA).

Crossings are a form of market manipulation. Many private investors only realize that they have achieved a crossing when they receive mail from the FMA. They usually do not know that crossings are forbidden and see in their actions a negligible administrative offense, since they did not commit them “deliberately” and certainly not with the intention of misleading. Private investors are also mostly unfamiliar with the fact that it is technically possible on the stock exchange, but that the trading rules forbid people to buy a security from themselves.

But crossings are in the eyes of the EU lawmakers bogus deals that can represent a form of market manipulation. According to Art. 15 of the Market Abuse Regulation, they are prohibited throughout the EU and threatened with an administrative penalty of up to € 5 million.

Private investor crossings occur particularly in trading illiquid securities, i.e. those that have a particularly low trading volume. This is because, in the case of illiquid securities, there are no or hardly any other orders with which a matching can take place. The prices at which such transactions are processed therefore do not reflect the conditions that would result from business partners who are unrelated to each other.

One activity that often leads to private investor crossings as “collateral damage” is tax loss compensation towards the end of the year: income from securities is subject to capital gains tax (KESt) of 27.5%. It is possible under tax law to offset losses against profits from securities transactions in a tax-reducing manner, provided that these are realized within the same calendar year. The tax-relevant loss arises when the investor sells a security that he originally bought at a higher price at a currently lower price. However, if the investor wants to keep the security in his portfolio, he will promptly place a buy order in order to buy it back as quickly as possible.

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Whistleblowing Is Getting Popular

Read, Whistleblowing

Whistleblowers, i.e. mostly anonymous tipsters who report irregularities to supervised companies, dubious providers or market practices, have developed into an important source of information for the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA).

In 2020, 278 reports were submitted via the whistleblower platform on the FMA website, a new record since the system was introduced in 2014, and an increase of 57% in the past five years alone. Around nine out of ten reports prove to be relevant for supervision. Of the 245 reports that actually affected the FMA’s area of ​​responsibility, around half related to investment fraud (120) and unauthorized business operations (9), i.e. the provision of financial services requiring a license without the required authorization. Almost a third (77 reports) suspected misconduct at banks, only four concerned insurance companies and pension funds. 19 related to the securities business, 15 related to suspected money laundering.

“Our web-based whistleblower platform guarantees whistleblowers technically absolute anonymity. The information is encrypted cryptographically, so it is not possible for us or for the law enforcement authorities to technically identify the informant, “said the FMA Board of Directors, Helmut Ettl and Eduard Müller:” This creates trust and security, and is one of the main reasons why this information channel is becoming more and more popular. ”At the same time, an anonymized, equally secured mailbox enables communication between the authorities and the whistleblower, if they allow it.”

“Our whistleblower platform is such an important – often preventive – instrument in the fight against investment fraud and dubious market practices. Abuses can often be recognized early, and damage can be limited or completely prevented. It makes a valuable contribution to protecting consumers, investors and creditors,” wrote Ettl and Müller.

Two thirds of the indications of investment fraud already concern offers in connection with crypto assets and so-called virtual currencies, with sales being carried out via dubious or criminal online trading platforms on the Internet, and advertising is often via social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok or Telegram. In addition to the distribution of fraudulent crypto assets, the criminal trade in virtual currencies continues to increase. On the dubious trading platforms are in particular financial contracts for differences (CFDs), foreign currency trading (FOREX) or binary options as well as supposedly automated trading with such alleged investment products.

The offer of binary options to small investors is prohibited in the EU, that of CFDs is severely restricted by regulations. A third of the reports of investment fraud related to fraudulent offers with traditional investment products such as stocks or gold as well as various forms of advance fraud.


Whistleblower notices led to seven investor warnings, 42 reports to the public prosecutor’s office and a large number of official proceedings by the FMA as well as criminal convictions in 2020, reports FMA.

crop attractive asian woman putting on mask on street

Concerns About the Impact of COVID-19 on Credit Ratings


The board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published the Final Report “Observed Impact of COVID-19 Government Support Measures on Credit Ratings“. IOSCO is the global standard setter for securities markets regulation.

The pandemic’s economic and market turmoil led to many credit ratings downgrades and has put credit rating agencies (CRAs) and their credit ratings into greater regulatory, industry and media focus. Since March 2020, FitchRatings, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) have together issued over 20,000 credit downgrades across varying asset categories and jurisdictions.

IOSCO’s review shows that the CRAs considered the COVID-19 related government support measures (GSMs) in their credit ratings and that GSMs had a substantial role in alleviating the downward pressure on credit ratings during 2020. “However,” writes the board of IOSCO in the report, “as the aftermath of the economic shock from the COVID-19 health crisis continues to unfold into 2021, it remains important to continue to consider the effects of the GSMs across credit ratings and credit rating methodologies.” In this regard, IOSCO concludes that the impact of GSMs on credit ratings should continue to be regularly monitored through supervisory channels.

“Ultimately, the shape of the recovery will be key to future credit rating actions. Although CRAs have indicated in public reports that they do not expect to adopt further wide-ranging reassessments of credit ratings, there remains considerable uncertainty around the future economic recovery”, fears IOSCO.

It is not only interesting what is to be read in the report. The unspoken information is just as interesting:

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Online Brokerage of Mezzanine Capital for Real Estate Projects

Platforms, Read

Real estate investments are a bit like finding a life partner.

The expectations of capital seekers and investors are often far apart – and the disappointment is great when you have to move on after a hopeful commitment without having achieved anything. Along with the importance of mezzanine capital, there is also a growing desire for digitization and standardization of the placement process. Interested parties can now register on the new digital platform Mezzalite. Matching starts in spring.

Exciting insights came to light after the soft launch

In the current investment environment with very low interest rates, the allocation of mezzanine capital is increasingly in demand, especially among family offices. But the search for a partner is full of traps, time-consuming detours and often ends unsuccessfully. Rapid property development is essential from the perspective of the investor and his financier.

Painful experiences can be avoided if a standardized approach contributes to the analysis of whether the partners are “on the same wavelength”, and whether there is a good chance of establishing a professional relationship as a result. “Applied to real estate developers and investors looking for capital, this means that you can avoid many disappointments in advance with a well-digitized process,” says Georg Stampfl, Managing Director of Mezzalite GmbH.

Georg Stampfl © Mezzalite/Ivana Jovic
Georg Stampfl © Mezzalite/Ivana Jovic

During the registration phase, digital expert Stampfl and his colleagues carried out an analysis of around 100 investors and capital seekers on their new digital platform Mezzalite and found out which main reasons make it difficult to find a partner in the mezzanine capital sector.

Hurdle 1: The match has so far been a matter of chance

Getting to know investors is not easy for real estate developers. So far, according to the study, it has mainly been third-party contacts, often word of mouth, that have brought the two parties together. Media and search engines also play a role in getting to know each other. The bottom line is that searching and finding is unstructured, and matching is a matter of chance. In the end, 50 percent of the cases fail, according to the Mezzalite study, for example because the project does not fit the investment profile and / or the price expectations diverge too much.

Hurdle 2: The search is too time-consuming

Finding investors and borrowers together often takes more time than necessary. This is particularly bitter if, for example, some investors do not really listen to the capital seekers. Months of negotiations follow, only to find out in the end that the project would not have suited the investor right from the start. Some people looking for capital, on the other hand, shy away from the effort of looking for capital for smaller real estate projects, although these could also be of interest to investors.

Hurdle 3: Fear of competition makes checking seriousness more difficult

Investors expect project developers to show their track record in the first step and disclose the people involved, e.g. their own construction workers on board, external partners, banks, securities, etc. The borrower, on the other hand, acts cautiously when releasing data, after all he is faced with tough competition in which he has to protect his market position.

Hurdle 4: Complexity of the process and lack of comparability

Investors are often faced with those looking for capital who do not have a clear idea of ​​how to raise capital or what the capital providers are. The financier, on the other hand, has no way of comparing different conditions. In addition, he is confronted with a wide variety of requirements, for example from what amount a family office invests, what expectations it has in terms of security and what project presentation it would like.


For Mezzalite one thing is certain, says Georg Stampfl, co-founder of Mezzalite GmbH: the automation of the preselection and a standardization of the process for the allocation of mezzanine capital is the most important step towards the goal. The financing partners can – almost like when looking for a partner – handle almost everything digitally, from “dating” to “matching” and “monitoring” to feedback. This has enormous potential to simplify mezzanine capital transactions and reduce transaction costs. This more efficient “partner search” process lays the foundation for a trusting cooperation. After the digital match, the personal negotiations and discussions that are essential for the success of the real estate project or investment are pending.

As with the partner exchanges mentioned at the beginning, the decisive question is what quality are those who register on such a platform. In addition, the quantity is crucial – will there be enough potential partners? Ideally, quantity and quality go hand in hand.

With my-si More Sustainability Is In Sight


The investment platform my sustainable impact, my-si, has started in Germany.

The my-si investment concept envisages generating attractive returns with sustainable investments and at the same time creating a social benefit. Investors choose ESG-approved fund strategies according to five different risk classes according to their personal risk appetite and make a contribution to a better world.

Tobias Schmidt, CEO of my-si says: “Investing money for old-age provision, risk protection or for one’s own financial independence is an important issue for each of us. If we want to achieve anything in the process, we have to generate sufficient returns. At my-si, we think investing a step further, because if we want to improve our future and that of future generations, we have to act today. my sustainable impact invests in a sustainable, return-oriented manner and at the same time donates part of the proceeds: With us, investors support one of ten non-profit organizations and thus the sustainability goals of the United Nations. Specifically, we from my-si donate 1/3 of our advisory fee to the project that our investors personally select. “

At the start of my-si, ten organizations were selected that represent the entire range of UN sustainability goals: the German AIDS Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, Kindernothilfe eV, WorldVision Germany eV, humedica eV, PRIMAKLIMA eV, Veterinarians Without Borders eV, Deutsches Rotes Kreuz eV, TERRATECH Förderprojekte eV and Heinz Sielmann Foundation. They all have the donation seal of the German Central Institute for Social Issues DZI.

The my-si investment strategy provides that all investment decisions are generated by intelligent algorithms. In order to optimize a portfolio, my-si works with the “Equal Risk Contribution Approach”. With this method, the various asset classes in a portfolio are weighted so that the risk contribution of the individual asset classes to the overall risk of the portfolio is as large as possible. In addition to the good diversification, the advantage lies in the stability of the portfolio. In order to be prepared against short-term, extreme market fluctuations, my-si has integrated a “market stress indicator” into this system. It gives signals and adjustment rules in the event of extraordinary market distortions.

my-si invests exclusively in ESG-checked funds with an ISS ESG fund rating of at least four stars. From the remaining fund universe, the funds are selected whose risk / reward ratio achieves a top rating in f-fex fund ratings, i.e. a rating of A or B. Tobias Schmidt: “We have been dealing with the topics of fund ratings and fund selection for more than 25 years and, based on this experience, have developed our own, forecast-optimized rating that provides us with valuable assistance in tracking down future outperformers. In this way we ensure that only top funds with the best risk-reward ratio are in the ESG portfolio. “

In a direct comparison with the average of all funds in the mixed fund categories suitable as benchmarks, the performance of my-si ESG strategies is clearly above the benchmark. “In 2020, our market stress indicator reacted to the correction in good time, and we were thus able to absorb the worst. But even before and after the market correction, we performed very well in all five risk classes compared to the respective benchmark. The long-term achievable return naturally depends on the chosen risk class. In the medium risk class, we consider an average return of 5-6 percent to be easily achievable in the long term. A world without interest does not mean that there are no more returns.”

Investors can invest with my-si from a deposit of EUR 1000 and top this amount up from EUR 50 per month in a savings plan. Five strategies with different risk profiles are available. my-si works completely digitally, that means: investment concept, advice, user interaction, account opening, control of your own charitable contribution, selection of the non-profit organization,

Reporting, billing, etc. are implemented completely online, quickly and at attractive conditions.

“Despite digitization, my-si is a real, that is, interactive advisor”, says Tobias Schmidt: “Investors can adopt the sample portfolio 1: 1 or use this to put together their own portfolio. They have the same freedom in choosing the projects to which the charitable contribution should go. “

low angle view of slightly opened door structure

Modular Market Reports – New Product From Industrialport


“The current Corona development and the associated lockdowns were a real blessing for industrial real estate in 2020”, writes Peter Salostowitz, Managing Director of Industrialport GmbH & Co. KG and lecturer for PropTech and Entrepreneurship at the Fresenius University, the test winner “Private Business Universities “.

“Hardly a week went by in 2020,” says Peter Salostowitz, “without a new large investor, developer or portfolio that has been sold. An end to this development is not yet in sight, as the financial resources from the other usage classes are now largely flowing in industrial properties.”

The decline of the previous supply structure in retail will require new supply channels, predict the experts from Idstein: “Whether these will compensate for the already experienced decline in demand on the part of the key industry in the future and whether the population’s increased financial fear will be an incentive to buy on the Internet is an exciting question.”

Regardless of these future questions, Industrialport emphasizes: “In any case, in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market for industrial real estate has shown itself to be significantly more resilient than other asset markets.” This is shown by the current report “Market in Minutes” industrial real estate market in Germany from Savills and IndustrialPort.

The IndustrialBundle market report from Industrialport is getting a big brother – the IndustrialKIT: “This modular market report enables you to evaluate our IWIP index data set on a daily basis. The evaluation can be created in different designs and in DE / EN. The previous IndustrialBundle elements can be combined with the new evaluation options. Of course, rental developments at the location can also be displayed. For a better classification, we also provide you with the value-driving parameters of the comparison cases that were included in the rent calculation.”

Rating of Financial Institutions – Properly Assessing Banks and Financial Services Providers


Zafer Diab and Oliver Everling (publisher): Ratings of Financial Institutions – Banks and Financial Services Correctly Assess, Wiesbaden 2016, Springer Gabler, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden,, 217 Pages, ISBN 978-3-658- 04194-6, ISBN 978-3-658-04195-3 (eBook).

The financial crisis leaves a completely different banking landscape. In a very short time not only former big banks disintegrated, but completely different institutions formed from mergers and takeovers. Increased competition among banks is not only under the yoke of an unresolved sovereign debt crisis, but also under increased pressure from banking supervision and the next generation of financial services providers. Many business models were only possible through new information and communication technologies and await probation in practice. The legislation now covers every financial institution and places it under supervision. The book not only highlights the consequences of regulation and competition for banks’ credit rating, but also sets standards, criteria and procedures for assessing the existential risk of other financial institutions.

Zafer Diab und Oliver Everling (Herausgeber): Rating von Finanzinstituten – Banken und Finanzdienstleister richtig beurteilen, Wiesbaden 2016, Springer Gabler, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden,, 217 Seiten, ISBN 978-3-658-04194-6, ISBN 978-3-658-04195-3 (eBook).

Click here to find more books supported by our company.

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New Rating Approaches for Crypto Exchanges and Crypto Custodians

Agencies, Models, Read

It was not just Tesla’s spectacular entry into the world of bullish cryptocurrencies that attracted the attention of investors to this young asset class. Thousands of crypto currencies are now part of a universe that ranges from outright fraud to serous applications. Keeping an overview here is hardly possible for individual private investors in particular – hence a typical market situation in which rating agencies are required. Classifications by rating symbols are easy to understand and therefore reach many investors.

The need has already been recognized internationally in various countries. Correspondingly, websites like, which aim to give investors orientation with ratings and rankings, catch the eye among the search results. Like the cryptocurrencies, the rating agencies have also emerged from different motivations that need to be carefully considered.

Finanz Verlag GmbH is now commissioning DLC ​​Distributed Ledger Consulting GmbH to carry out crypto ratings. Initially, tests are planned with regard to crypto exchanges and crypto custodians, an expansion to other products in the digital asset environment is planned.

Two evaluations are planned for 2021

  • The first test – with a focus on crypto exchanges – is published in the investor magazine “BÖRSE ONLINE”.
  • Another test follows – with a focus on crypto custodians – in the publication “Trends in Asset Management (TiAM)”, which is aimed at professional investors.

Dieter-Thilo Fischer, Managing Director of Finanzen Verlag GmbH, explains: “Crypto assets are already on the agenda of many investors – and they almost certainly have a great future ahead of them.” Nevertheless, for many it is a “cryptic” asset class with new challenges, in which an independent source of information is particularly important. “We are therefore pleased to have gained an extremely experienced blockchain specialist consultancy for our planned ratings with DLC.”

Dr. Sven Hildebrandt, managing partner of DLC Distributed Ledger Consulting, adds: “Of course we are pleased to be able to work for such an established publisher in the financial market environment. And you certainly feel confirmed when our company’s assessment is so widely spread. We are very much aware of the responsibility that this entails. After all, over 300,000 people read the publications of the Finanzen Verlag. “

woman in black leather jacket holding microphone

The Threat of Hacktivists


Cyber risk is event risk, a risk that is growing across all sectors globally.

Digitization continues to increase, making software more pervasive throughout an organization, which in turn drives ever more complex software supply chains while attacker capabilities are growing simultaneously. “However,” writes Moody’s in a research document, “the types of cyberattackers remain essentially the same: criminals, advanced persistent threat groups backed by nation states, and socially motivated attackers known as ‘hacktivists.'”

According to its report “Sunburst attack on public and private entities raises credit risks as extent of breach unfolds”, Moody’s believes that the scale and sophistication of the Sunburst attack will trigger profound shifts around cybersecurity risk management and oversight practices for debt issuers. In terms of the objective of the Sunburst attack, cyber experts view it as an intelligence gathering exercise that targeted government agencies and private corporations.

A highly sophisticated and well-resourced adversary, likely backed by a nation-state, was able to leverage access to SolarWinds‘ internal source code, and possibly that of other software providers, to act as a conduit into a huge swath of government and industry IT systems. SolarWinds is a mid-sized enterprise software company whose Orion network management and monitoring software is used extensively by industry and government IT teams.

“The sophistication of the malicious code implanted by the Sunburst attackers passed internal quality checks,” continues Moody’s report, “allowing them to bypass authentication protocols at the conduit companies and thus gaining footing across thousands of public and private organizations. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) says the parties behind the intrusion deployed a variety of tools at their disposal to further infiltrate their victims’ networks, including password guessing and password spraying to breach its targets.”

Following the disclosure of the attack, CISA directed government and government-related entities to power down or disconnect any identified software from federal networks. This step may have exposed those entities to other risks, however, as it might have decreased visibility across their networks. CISA also issued a technical alert providing details and mitigation strategies to help network defenders take immediate action.

“The next step was to determine whether or how the organization was compromised or affected”, reflects Moody’s. “This step is ongoing and leading to the discovery of some follow-on malicious activity. While the costs of each of these actions is generally containable, the potential losses from breached networks, including severe operational issues, compromised customer data and loss of intellectual property or trade secrets, are far greater.”

crop anonymous person calculating profit on smartphone calculator near banknotes

Calculating Aggregate Risk Weight for Private Banks


Calculation of the Aggregate Risk Weight for CRR Credit Institutions Assigned to the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks

The credit institutions under the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR credit institutions) are obliged to secure their deposits in accordance with the German Deposit Guarantee Act by belonging to a deposit guarantee system. The following relates to Entschädigungseinrichtung deutscher Banken GmbH (EdB), the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks.

The following information does not replace legal advice and is completely non-binding. The compilation serves only to provide a quicker introduction to this complex subject from the perspective of private banks. An unofficial translation of the Compensation Scheme Funding Regulation is provided by the Association of German Banks for information purposes only. The original German text is binding in all respects. The following is not applicable to the calculation of the aggregate risk weight for CRR credit institutions assigned to the Compensation Scheme of the Association of German Public Banks.

This applies only to CRR credit institutions within the meaning of Section 1 (3d) sentence 1 of the German Banking Act. According to Section 1 (3d) sentence 1 of the German Banking Act, CRR credit institutions are credit institutions within the meaning of Article 4 (1) number 1 of Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on prudential requirements for credit institutions and investment firms and amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 (OJ L 176/1 of 27 June 2013).

“The Regulation on the Funding of the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks and the Compensation Scheme of the Association of German Public Banks” (Compensation Scheme Funding Regulation) is the “Verordnung über die Finanzierung der Entschädigungseinrichtung deutscher Banken GmbH und der Entschädigungseinrichtung des Bundesverbandes Öffentlicher Banken Deutschlands GmbH” (Entschädigungseinrichtungs-Finanzierungsverordnung, EntschFinV). This Regulation applies to the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks and the Compensation Scheme of the Association of German Public Banks (compensation schemes), as well as CRR credit institutions within the meaning of Section 1 of the Deposit Guarantee Act that are assigned to a compensation scheme.

This Regulation sets out the further details of the funding of the compensation schemes and further provisions on the methods for calculating contributions, and the calculation and collection of contributions and payments, The following is about these rules with an eye on private banks.

Section 19(2) to (4) of the Deposit Guarantee Act

(2) Contributions to deposit guarantee schemes shall be based on the amount of covered deposits of the CRR credit institutions that are members of the deposit guarantee scheme and the degree of risk incurred by the respective CRR credit institution.

(3) A deposit guarantee scheme may, with the approval of BaFin, use its own risk-based methods to calculate the risk-based contributions. The calculation of the contributions concerned shall be proportional to the risk of the CRR credit institutions that are members of the deposit guarantee scheme and shall take due account of the risk profiles of the various business models. The own risk-based methods for calculating the contributions may also take into account the asset side of the balance sheet and risk indicators such as capital adequacy, asset quality and liquidity.

(4) Lower contributions may be provided for in the case of CRR credit institutions that belong to low-risk sectors or for members of an institutional protection scheme that is not recognised as a deposit guarantee scheme.

A CRR credit institution’s annual contribution shall be calculated in such a way that the sum of all annual contributions reaches at least a certain annual target level. The annual contribution for CRR credit institutions assigned to the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks shall be at least 20,000 €. In addition to the annual contribution, a flatrate surcharge may be levied to cover the administrative and other costs incurred by the compensation scheme in the course of its activities. The surcharge for CRR credit institutions assigned to the Compensation Scheme of German Privat Banks shall not exceed 12,500 € plus in each case 0.5% of the CRR credit institution’s annual contribution. The surcharge shall be fixed together with the respective annual contribution and shown separately in the contribution notice. The compensation scheme may also levy a surcharge for contribution assessment years in which no annual contribution is levied.

The compensation scheme sets an annual target level in each contribution assessment year. Deposit guarantee schemes shall have adequate financial means that are proportionate to their existing and potential liabilities (available financial means). They shall put in place adequate systems to determine their potential liabilities. The deposit guarantee schemes shall ensure that, by the end of 3 July 2024, their available financial means shall at least reach a target level of 0.8% of the amount of the covered deposits. If the available financial means fall short of the target level, the deposit guarantee schemes shall ensure that the collection of contributions shall resume until the target level is reached again. If, after the target level has been reached for the first time, the available financial means have been reduced to less than two-thirds of the target level, the contributions shall be set at a level allowing the target level to be reached again within six years.

The compensation scheme may raise or lower the annual target level to reflect developments in the business cycle. When it does so, the respective phase of the business cycle and the potential impact of pro-cyclical contributions on the CRR credit institutions’ financial position shall be taken into account. The annual target level may be raised by means of a flat-rate surcharge if this appears necessary in view of a forecasted growth in covered deposits until the target level is reached.

Annual Contribution

The annual contribution shall be calculated by applying the following formula:

Ci = max. {MCi; (CR x ARWi x CDi x µ)}


Ci = annual contribution from CRR credit institution
MCi = minimum contribution of 20,000 €
CR = contribution rate
ARWi = aggregate risk weight for CRR credit institution
CDi = covered deposits of CRR credit institution
µ = adjustment coefficient

The annual contribution shall be either the minimum contribution MCi or the result of the formula CR x ARWi x CDi x µ, whichever is higher.

Contribution Rate

The contribution rate is determined on a yearly basis by dividing the annual target level by the sum of covered deposits of all CRR credit institutions as at ultimo of the preceding year. The aggregate risk weight for the CRR credit institution shall be a percentage calculated on the basis of several risk indicators.

The compensation scheme shall use the adjustment coefficient to adjust the sum of the annual contributions of all CRR credit institutions that would be produced by calculating the annual contributions on the basis of the contribution rate, the aggregate risk weight and the covered deposits of each CRR credit institution using the formula Ci = CR x ARWi x CDi (unadjusted annual contributions) to the annual target level. The adjustment coefficient shall be calculated by applying the following formula:

µ = Annual target level / Sum of unadjusted annual contributions

The compensation scheme shall be entitled to lower or raise the adjustment coefficient if this is necessary due to developments in the business cycle and the pro-cyclical impact of the annual contributions.

Credit Quality Grade

The aggregate risk weight for CRR credit institutions assigned to the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks shall be calculated on the basis of a credit quality grade. The credit quality grade shall be based on a risk assessment of the CRR credit institution by the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks using risk categories and risk indicators.

For each credit quality grade, the aggregate risk weight shall be as follows:

Credit Quality GradeAggregate Risk Weight
050 %
175 %
290 %
3100 %
4110 %
5125 %
6140 %
7160 %
8180 %
9200 %

By way of derogation from the above mentioned stipulations, an aggregate risk weight of 110% shall apply to newly established CRR credit institutions until and including completion of the second full financial year. In addition to paying the annual contribution, CRR credit institutions newly assigned to a compensation scheme shall be required to make a one-off payment. The one-off payment shall be 0.2% of the covered deposits held by the CRR credit institution on 31 December of the preceding year, but at least 25,000 €. The one-off payment shall be due when the notice concerning the payment has been announced.

The Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks shall base its assessment of the CRR credit institution’s risk on the following risk categories:

  1. capital,
  2. liquidity and funding,
  3. asset quality,
  4. business model and management, and
  5. potential losses for the compensation scheme.

The CRR credit institutions shall be required to confirm to the compensation scheme the factual and arithmetical accuracy of the information they report. The compensation scheme may verify the accuracy of such notification.

Obligation to Submit Documentation and Proof

CRR credit institutions shall deliver to the compensation scheme by 30 June of the respective contribution assessment year the following information and documents for calculation of the annual contribution:

  1. the annual financial statements (annual accounts) for the financial year ending before 1 March of the respective contribution assessment year and for the preceding year,
  2. notifications as regards asset encumbrance, single data point model and validation rules as at the balance sheet date of the financial year ending before 1 March of the respective contribution assessment year and as at the balance sheet date of the preceding year,
  3. the overview template for own funds, as at the balance sheet date of the financial year ending before 1 March of the respective contribution assessment year and as at the balance sheet date of the preceding year,
  4. the completed reporting template for the financial information as at the balance sheet date of the financial year ending before 1 March of the respective contribution assessment year and as at the balance sheet date of the preceding year,
  5. the completed compensation scheme questionnaire to gather additional information as at the balance sheet date of the financial year ending before 1 March of the respective contribution assessment year and as at the balance sheet date of the preceding year,
  6. the statement of assets and liabilities, together with a statement of income and expenses, and for branches of undertakings domiciled abroad the notes thereon, and
  7. for the purpose of preparing the risk assessment, all current credit ratings relating to them or the credit ratings obtained for submission to the compensation scheme.

The documents specified above must bear an unconditional audit certificate issued by the auditor. Annual financial statements or a statement of assets and liabilities bearing a conditional audit certificate shall only be taken into account by the compensation scheme if the objections made by the auditor do not relate to the risk indicators and risk categories on which the risk assessment is based.

Risk Categories and Risk Indicators

The following risk categories and risk indicators shall be incorporated into the risk assessment with the following weighting (source):

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Description of the Risk Indicators

1.1 Leverage ratio in accordance with Implementing Regulation (EU) No 680/2014, template C 47.00, row 340, column 010.

1.2 Common equity Tier 1 ratio in accordance with Implementing Regulation (EU) No 680/2014, template C 03.00, row 010, column 010. If the waiver pursuant to Section 2a of the Banking Act in conjunction with Article 7 of Regulation (EU)
No 575/2013 is applied, the group-level ratio shall be used. For CRR credit institutions which are covered by the provisions of Section 53c, number 2 of the Banking Act, the ratio of the banking group shall be used.

2.1 LCR in accordance with Implementing Regulation (EU) No 680/2014, template C 76.00. If the waiver pursuant to Section 2a of the Banking Act in conjunction with Article 8 of Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 is applied, the ratio at group level shall be used.

2.2 Net stable funding ratio (NSFR). The Net Stable Funding Ratio disclosure standards published by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision on 22 June 2015 require the mandatory disclosure of the NSFR for reporting periods after 1
January 2018. From 2019, the NSFR shall receive a weighting of 9% in accordance with Implementing Regulation (EU) No 680/2014. If the waiver pursuant to Section 2a of the Banking Act in conjunction with Article 8 of Regulation (EU)
No 575/2013 is applied, the ratio at group level shall be used.

3.1 Non-performing loans ratio in accordance with the Financial and Internal Capital Adequacy Information Regulation (Finanz- und Risikotragfähigkeitsinformationenverordnung), templates for financial information pursuant to Section 25(1), sentence 1 of the Banking Act. Delinquent loans (excluding loans for which specific loan loss provisions have been established) less collateral provided for these loans plus loans for which specificoan loss provisions have been established before the deduction of specific loan loss provisions less collateral provided for these loans proportional to the amount of total loans.

4.1 Ratio of risk-weighted assets (RWAs) to total assets RWAs: total risk exposure amount in accordance with Implementing Regulation (EU) No 680/2014,
template C 02.00, row 010, column 010. Total assets according to the annual financial statements prepared in accordance with point III. If the waiver pursuant to Section 2a of the Banking Act in conjunction with Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 is applied, the group-level ratio shall be used. For CRR credit institutions which are covered by the provisions of Section 53c, umber 2 of the Banking Act, the ratio of the banking group shall be used.

4.2 Return on average assets: Net income according to item 19 of the profit and loss account form in accordance with the Accounting Regulation for Credit Institutions (Kreditinstituts-Rechnungslegungsverordnung), adjusted for increases or reductions in the contingency reserves pursuant to Section 340f of the Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch) and in the special reserve pursuant to Section 340g of the Commercial Code. Average total assets shall be the arithmetic mean of the total assets as reported in the annual financial statements and the total assets as reported in the annual financial statements for the year preceding the annual financial statements of the previous year.

4.3 Rating: The rating shall be based on quantitative and qualitative macroeconomic and microeconomic aspects. Assessment levels shall comprise the market environment, assets, financial and earnings situation, business model and strategy, and the corporate structure and management of the CRR credit institution. In addition, the risk situation shall be evaluated.

Basis for Calculating the Risk Indicators

The basis for calculating the risk indicators shall be the assets, financial and earnings situation of the CRR credit institution at the end of the last business year ending before 1 March of the respective contribution assessment year. The financial data shall be based on the annual financial statements of the CRR credit institution or the corresponding statement of assets and liabilities, together with a statement of income and expenses and notes.

Calculation of the Credit Quality Grade

The credit quality grade shall be calculated as follows:

  1. The risk indicators shall be calculated in accordance with column 3 of the table.
  2. The risk indicator value thus calculated shall determine the level of the individual risk score (IRS) of a risk indicator. The IRSs shall lie between 0 for “very low risk” and 100 for “very high risk”.
  3. The IRS of each risk indicator shall be multiplied by the corresponding weighting in column 2 of the table. The weighted IRSs shall be aggregated and, on the basis of the total, assigned a credit quality grade between 0 for “highest credit quality” and 9 for “lowest credit quality”.

Ratings-based Risk Assessment

Ratings-based risk assessment shall be based solely on current credit ratings issued by a recognised credit rating company in the form of full ratings with a forecast period of one year. Current credit ratings means ratings which the CRR credit institution or a third party has commissioned with respect to the creditworthiness of the CRR credit institution and are valid on 31 May of the respective contribution assessment year. Current credit ratings for CRR credit institutions within the meaning of Section 53(1), sentence 1 of the Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz) shall also include ratings issued with respect to the creditworthiness of their undertaking abroad.

Recognised credit rating companies means companies which

  1. are registered as credit rating agencies,
  2. are certified as credit rating agencies and
  3. have at least five years’ experience as credit rating agencies performing the credit-rating of CRR credit institutions or at least ten years’ experience as credit rating agencies performing credit assessments of CRR credit institutions for deposit guarantee schemes.

The CRR credit institutions shall, on request, furnish the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks with suitable proof that the conditions specified have been fulfilled.

The Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks shall map a rating score class to each credit assessment category used by a recognised credit rating company. The Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks publishes the mapping of the rating score classes on its website.

The CRR credit institutions shall send the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks all the current credit ratings relating to them to enable it to perform the risk assessment. Where CRR credit institutions do not have a current rating, they shall obtain one. This does not apply to CRR credit institutions which submit all the credit ratings for their undertaking domiciled abroad if these ratings meet set requirements.


Association of German Banks – The Deposit protection scheme

Auditing Association of German Banks – Minimising the Risks in the Interest of Deposit Protection

Compensation Scheme Funding Regulation

Deutsche Bundesbank – Deposit protection in Germany

European Banking Authority – Deposit Guarantee Schemes data

Federal Financial Supervisory Authority – Questions & answers on deposit protection and investor compensation

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Extended Lockdown Tensions the Spring for a Higher Jump in Sales at Vectron Systems


The listed Vectron Systems AG assumes that when the corona lockdown ends, strong demand for its products can be expected.

This is especially against the background that so far only 30 to 40 percent of the target industry, catering, have converted their till systems in accordance with the new legal regulations. This is also indicated by the relatively good sales in lockdown, although it is obvious for Vectron that these would have been significantly higher without the Corona measures. In August of last year, before the second corona lockdown became known, the company forecast within the medium-term planning that sales in 2021 would increase to around EUR 50.0 million with a simultaneous EBITDA margin of 20 percent .

With more than 225,000 installations, the listed Vectron Systems AG is one of the largest European manufacturers of POS systems. Stable hardware combined with flexible, reliable software has made Vectron the market leader for POS solutions in German-speaking countries and in Benelux in the catering and bakery sectors. Several hundred specialist retail partners sell the products internationally. Digital cloud services are offered under the brand names myVectron and bonVito. The spectrum ranges from loyalty and payment functions to online reservations and online reporting. All services are directly connected to the cash register system.

Since politicians have again extended the lockdown today and were unable to make any clear statements about the final termination of the current lockdown measures, the original planning for 2021 is increasingly fraught with uncertainty. For this reason, the company now considers it necessary to withdraw this as a precaution.

The Management Board justifies its positive assessment for the time after the lockdown with a pent-up need to catch up and with the implementation date of April 1st, 2021 for the mandatory conversion of the cash register systems to the new tax regulations. Many companies have suspended the necessary investments because of the closings, but would have to do so immediately after reopening.

Bank Risk Management: Minimum Requirements, Instruments and Strategies for Banks


Oliver Everling and Samuel S. Theodore (publisher): Bank Risk Management: Minimum Requirements, Instruments and Strategies for Banks, Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Th. Gabler, Wiesbaden,, hardcover, 1st edition 2008, 595 pages, ISBN 978-3-8349-0512-3.

Oliver Everling und Samuel S. Theodore (Herausgeber): Bankrisikomanagement: Mindestanforderungen, Instrumente und Strategien für Banken, Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler, Wiesbaden,, gebundene Ausgabe, 1. Auflage 2008, 595 Seiten, ISBN 978-3-8349-0512-3.

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Federal Finance Minister’s Speculators


Issuers must be concerned about the damage to the image of the German financial center caused by the inadequate supervision of BaFIn by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

As part of the federal administration, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) in Germany is subject to the legal and technical supervision of the Federal Ministry of Finance, within the framework of which the legality and expediency of the administrative activities of BaFin is monitored. For Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, details from his area of ​​responsibility will come to light in the election year 2021.

Employee transactions with stocks or derivative instruments that are related to Wirecard were examined. To this end, all employee transactions reported by employees in the high risk category A between January 1, 2018 and September 30, 2020 were evaluated. The number of transactions which were not reported by the employees of BaFin is not provided. The numbers therefore only relate to those employee transactions that were also displayed by them.

According to the BaFin, the evaluation showed that 510 of the employee transactions reported in the above period were related to Wirecard. 344 deals were stocks and 166 were derivative instruments. This business was done by 85 employees.

The figures suggest an astonishingly high level of financial activity by BaFin employees in their own interests. Obviously, in the federal agency monitored by Olaf Scholz’ Federal Ministry of Finance, self-interest in conducting lucrative speculative transactions has a high priority. In particular, investing in derivative instruments, which BaFin employees around Olaf Scholz (SPD) make active use of, require a large amount of time to monitor issuers and market developments in order to be successful. However, such a high number of these transactions was detected.

The BaFin had to admit anomalies, even about insider trading. According to the special audit, the person concerned was not able to access inside information about their business as intended, i.e. within the scope of their duties. However, she did the deal after the inside information was available in her organizational unit. Because of this and due to other special circumstances, it cannot be ruled out that the person was aware of the inside information. The suspicion of insider trading is therefore in the room and must be clarified further. The BaFin therefore initiated official and personnel law steps and filed a complaint with the responsible public prosecutor’s office.

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What About S&P’s Irannotice?


S&P Global Inc. international business activities must comport with U.S. international trade restraints, including economic sanctions regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls.

Pursuant to Section 13(r)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, S&P Global Inc. (S&P) provides notice to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that disclosure of activity described in Section 13(r)(1) of the Act has been included in the issuer’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 9, 2021. Hence the question of what this is all about.

As a global company headquartered in the U.S., S&P is subject to U.S. laws and regulations, including economic sanction laws. These laws include prohibitions or restrictions on the sale or supply of certain products and services to embargoed or sanctioned countries, regions, governments, persons and entities. Embargoes and sanctions laws are changing rapidly for certain geographies, including with respect to Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. These embargoes and sanctions laws may affect S&P’s ability to continue to market and/or sell products and services into these geographies and in turn adversely impact the revenue from such geographies.

Additional international trade restraints may be promulgated at any time and may require changes to S&P’s operations and increase their risk of noncompliance. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations can result in significant fines and penalties and related material adverse effects on S&P’s reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

Additionally, S&P is subject to complex U.S., European and other local laws and regulations that are applicable to our operations abroad, including trade sanctions laws, anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act 2010, anti-money laundering laws, and other financial crimes laws. S&P’s internal controls, policies and procedures and employee training and compliance programs related to these topics may not be effective in preventing employees, contractors or agents from violating or circumventing such internal policies and violating applicable laws and regulations. A determination that S&P has violated such laws could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition or results of operations.

Compliance with international and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to S&P’s international operations increases the cost of doing business in foreign jurisdictions.

Pursuant to Section 219 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, which amended the Exchange Act, an issuer is required to disclose in its annual or quarterly reports, as applicable, whether, during the reporting period, it or any of its affiliates knowingly engaged in certain activities, transactions or dealings relating to Iran or with individuals or entities designated pursuant to certain Executive Orders. Disclosure is generally required even where the activities, transactions or dealings were conducted in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

The following details S&P’s business with companies controlled by the Government of Iran:

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Weighing the Score of ‘bbb+’ for the Swedish Banking Market


The Swedish rating agency commits itself to the general outlook for the banking sector in Sweden.

Nordic Credit Rating (NCR) applies a score of ‘bbb+’ for the Swedish banking market and expects an economic upswing in 2021 led by external demand for Swedish exports and the eventual rebound in services and tourism during the third quarter of 2021.

“Our expectations of the economic environment are dependent on a large proportion of the population being vaccinated by the summer and the subsequent lifting of restrictions on travel and the service sector. As the rebound takes effect,” says Sean Cotten, NCR’s chief rating officer, “we believe unemployment will fall quickly, especially among younger adults, who have been disproportionately affected by the loss of service and seasonal work.”

Despite material government support provided during the pandemic, Sweden’s creditworthiness remains strong in the eyes of NCR. This strength bolsters their assessment. Housing prices increased by 11.5% in 2020, with significant growth from May to November before the second wave of the pandemic slowed activity in December. NCR believes that the pace of housing price growth in 2021 will be more in line with the long-term 6% growth rate.

“NCR believes that the Swedish banking market has demonstrated its resilience during 2020 allowing banks to improve capital buffers and provide credit to corporations and private individuals,” says Sean Cotten. “We expect somewhat higher realised credit losses during 2021, but expect banks to continue to perform well as the economy normalises in the second half of the year.”

The Swedish rating agency gives the approximate weight of the mentioned score in the rating of Swedish banks:

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Next Generation Financial Services: Digital transformation and new services


Oliver Everling and Robert Lempka (editors): Next Generation Financial Services: Digital Transformation and New Services, Frankfurt am Main 2020, Frankfurt School Verlag, 480 pages, ISBN (print) 978-3-95647-176-6.

The digital transformation of the financial industry is in full swing. On the one hand there are consolidation and cooperation processes between banks and fintechs as well as between fintechs among themselves, on the other hand new digital providers, services and products keep coming onto the market. These new offers open up strategic and market potential for the industry and generate new customer behavior. The entire industry is subject to constant change and a high degree of innovation on the part of both the provider and the customer.

The book presents this digital transformation process in the financial sector and describes various digital services and business cases. Established providers discuss their digital strategy, established fintechs describe their business models and new start-ups present their innovative products and services. The book thus provides a profound overview of the status quo and the further progress of digitization in the financial industry.

The authors come from the financial services industry, fintechs, consulting firms and academia. They give the book a high topicality and practical relevance. The book is aimed at those in the industry who are involved in digital strategy and product development and who are significantly driving the digital transformation of the financial industry.

Oliver Everling und Robert Lempka (Herausgeber): Finanzdienstleister der nächsten Generation – Digitale Transformation und neue Dienstleistungen. Frankfurt am Main 2020, Frankfurt School Verlag, 480 Seiten, ISBN (print) 978-3-95647-043-1.

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Grenke’s Supervisory Board Goes Into Detail

Read, Reviews

S&P’s Issuer Credit Rating of Grenke AG

Rating TypeRatingLast Review DateCredit Watch/ OutlookCredit Watch/ Outlook Date
Local Currency LTBBB+10-Dec-2020Negative10-Dec-2020
Local Currency STA-210-Dec-2020NM10-Dec-2020
Foreign Currency LTBBB+10-Dec-2020Negative10-Dec-2020
Foreign Currency STA-210-Dec-2020NM10-Dec-2020

“We have heard your call for more transparency regarding the resignation of our Board of Directors member, Mark Kindermann, loud and clear and would like to respond to it in detail”, writes Prof. Dr. Ernst-Moritz Lipp, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of GRENKE AG to “GRENKE investors”.

The alleged Grenke scandal has so far had little impact on the ratings. In its latest analysis, dated December 11, 2020 the rating agency Standard & Poor’s affirmed the Group’s counterparty credit rating BBB+ / A-2. S&P’s outlook on the long term rating is negative. With the 8th of October 2020, GBB Rating has confirmed the A-Rating but changed the outlook from “stable” to “negative” because of the current situation, says GRENKE on its website.

According to § 111 German Stock Corporation Act (Aktiengesetz, AktG), the supervisory board is to supervise the management board. The supervisory board may inspect and audit the books and records of the company as well as its assets, particularly the company’s cash and the inventory of securities and goods. It may also instruct individual members to perform these tasks, or may commission special experts for certain tasks. The supervisory board shall instruct the auditor of the annual accounts to audit the annual accounts and consolidated financial statements pursuant to section 290 of the Commercial Code (HGB). Moreover, the supervisory board may instruct that an external audit be performed of the substance of the non-financial statement or of the separate non-financial report (section 289b of the Commercial Code), or of the consolidated non-financial statement or the separate consolidated non-financial report (section 315b of the Commercial Code).

The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority’s (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin) criticism of Internal Audit and Compliance processes in the course of the ongoing audits by Mazars was the imminent reason for Mark Kindermann’s resignation. In the course of the ongoing audits by KPMG and Mazars, there had already been some qualitative indications and findings regarding the Internal Audit and Compliance organisation.

According to Ernst-Moritz Lipp, BaFin’s criticisms related to

  • the quality of working papers,
  • the ability of the Board of Directors to discard identified deficiencies,
  • to the fact that Internal Audit did not initiate its own investigation into the Viceroy allegations,
  • the quantitative staffing of Internal Audit, and
  • to Internal Audit’s restricted access to certain company confidential information until the beginning of 2020,
  • procedural weaknesses in the documentation of related parties at the Compliance function,
  • insufficient traceability of updates to the Compliance manual,
  • questions about the metrics for assessing compliance risks,
  • insufficient documentation of the Compliance function’s written annual reports, and, again,
  • inadequate staffing of the Compliance function.

The Supervisory Board, reports its Chairman, discussed the points of criticism and possible consequences with Mark Kindermann after his deadline to submit comments had expired. As a result, Mark Kindermann resigned.

“The uncertainty that has prevailed since September is weighing heavily on our stock and bonds”, admits Ernst-Moritz Lipp. ” The audits are also requiring considerable management and personnel capacities from the company. It is a top priority for the company that we continue and conclude the ongoing audits swiftly. Naturally, we are consistently addressing the findings of the audits and further refining the processes.”

The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of GRENKE AG reports on what has already been done in recent months: “Last October, for example, we transferred the Internal Audit function from Mark Kindermann to CEO Antje Leminsky, and at the beginning of 2021 we transferred the Compliance function to Isabel Rösler, our new Chief Risk Officer (CRO). In addition, suitably qualified personnel are being sought for both Internal Audit and Compliance, because we want to expand the workforce in the short term.”

In the German two-tier board system there is an executive board (all executive directors) and a separate supervisory board (all non-executive directors). The chairman of the supervisory board is the equivalent of the chairman of a single-tier board, while the chairman of the management board is reckoned as the company’s CEO or managing director. These positions are almost always held by separate people. According to Aktiengesetz, supervisory board oversees and appoints the members of the management board and must approve major business decisions. The supervisory board, in theory, is intended to provide a monitoring role. The question therefore arises as to whether the line between supervision and management has already been exceeded at Grenke.

“Since December,” writes Ernst-Moritz Lipp to Grenke investors, “we have been working with an independent consulting firm to review the processes for Internal Audit and Compliance and further develop both areas.”

“Further,” writes Ernst-Moritz Lipp, “the Supervisory Board has decided to reallocate Mark Kindermann’s remaining responsibilities as follows: Antje Leminsky, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, will assume responsibility for Human Resources. Isabel Rösler will also take over key administrative functions in the back office with immediate effect. Sebastian Hirsch, who was appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in October 2020, will additionally be given responsibility for Group Accounting. This step would have been taken anyway after the publication of the annual financial statements and has now been brought forward.” The statements made by the chairman of the supervisory board give an idea of the extent to which the supervisory board itself has assumed control and thus responsibility.

“We also understand that you have further questions and in particular would like to know when the audits will be completed.” As the timetable is largely determined by the auditors, Ernst-Moritz Lipp admits that he is currently unable to make any binding statements on this matter. According to Section 111 (6) AktG the members of the supervisory board may not have others perform the tasks incumbent on them.

According to Section 111 (4) AktG the measures to be taken by the management may not be transferred to the supervisory board. However, certain types of business transactions might only be implemented with the supervisory board’s consent. Where the supervisory board refuses to grant such consent, the management board may demand that the general meeting adopt a resolution concerning such consent.

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Religious Affiliation and Politics


Religious ties are a major cause of conflict.

For example, while the leadership in the People’s Republic of China has hardly any institutional ties to religions, almost all presidents in the USA are religious. This results in conflicts of interest that can have different meanings depending on the religious affiliation.

A look at past presidents’ religious affiliations shows a broad mix of different Christian denominations.

Infographic: Religious Affiliation of Past Presidents | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista.

With Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States, he becomes just the second Catholic ever to hold the highest office in the land – joining John F. Kennedy. The Catholic Church, sometimes referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2018. Hence the question arises whether the Pope will have greater influence under the new administration.

International agreements are important that foster mutual trust and enable the Catholic Church to cooperate more effectively in the spiritual and social well-being of countries. In this regard, On 22 October 2020, the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China agreed to extend for another two years the Provisional Agreement regarding the Appointment of Bishops in China, signed in Beijing in 2018. The agreement is essentially pastoral in nature, and the Holy See expressed his confidence that the process can be pursued in a spirit of mutual respect and trust, and thus further contribute to the resolution of questions of common interest.

According to data collected by the Pew Research Center, among past presidents, the Episcopal Church has had the most members hold the office of president over the past 232 years. The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and is based in the United States with additional dioceses elsewhere. Starting with George Washington, there have been 11 Episcopalian presidents out of the 46 that have held office, with other notable Episcopal presidents being James Madison, Franklin D. Roosevelt and George H.W. Bush. TEC has its origins in the Church of England in the American colonies, and it stresses continuity with the early universal Western Church and claims to maintain apostolic succession (though the Catholic and Orthodox churches do not recognize this claim).

Presbyterians are the next most common with 8 presidents, notably Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan. Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism, which traces its origins to Great Britain, specifically Scotland. Baptists, Unitarians and general Christians were tied with four apiece, with other smaller denominations rounding out the religious tree.

Equifax Acquires AccountScoreC


Facilitated by the acquisition of AccountScore, Equifax enhances its consumer and commercial product offerings, combining traditional credit bureau information held by Equifax with bank transaction data.

Regulatory approval for the acquisition has been received from the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Integration of these new data assets will enable Equifax clients to benefit from higher rates of automated, digital income verification, to carry out more granular assessments of affordability and expenditure and offer more predictive and inclusive credit scoring, by using the most up-to-date information available.

For consumers, this combined data approach will improve an individual’s ability to demonstrate their creditworthiness by enabling information that isn’t currently used to be taken into consideration. This approach enables financial inclusion for those with ‘thin’ credit files, increasing their potential access to credit at a time of great financial uncertainty.

According to Patricio Remon, President of Europe at Equifax, AccountScore is a pioneering company with a proven track record of building innovative Open Banking platforms. He says, “this signals our commitment to continuously evolve and embrace strategic innovation to support our clients’ digital transformation, and will bring many benefits for their customers.”

“More than 2.5m UK consumers and businesses now use Open Banking-enabled products to manage their finances, access credit and make payments. This growth is helping to empower a generation of consumers, giving them more control over their own financial information, offering them greater access to a wider range of financial products and making it much easier to complete simple digital applications.”

“AccountScore and Equifax have an established and successful partnership, having collaborated on a number of products and offerings over the last two years,” said Emma Steeley, CEO at AccountScore. “This acquisition allows AccountScore to accelerate its growth and reach new customers, backed by a powerful global company.”

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How Sustainable is Tesla’s Bitcoin Investment?


Tesla holds and may acquire digital assets that may be subject to volatile market prices, impairment and unique risks of loss.

“If we hold digital assets and their values decrease relative to our purchase prices, our financial condition may be harmed.” This is the terse statement from the US automotive company on the FORM 10-K to be submitted to the US SEC.

In view of the great attention that Tesla enjoys, the group apparently accepts that thousands of investors are now investing in bitcoin in the hope of participating in the further increases in value of bitcoin. The question arises whether Tesla’s bitcoin investment was made solely to exploit these effects of its market power. Correspondingly, the company’s ratings should be questioned critically. With a stable long-term rating of B2, Tesla, Inc. is already clearly speculative from Moody’s point of view.

In addition to financial aspects, a sustainability rating also includes ethical, ecological and social issues. If one ignores the ecological criticism of Bitcoin, then Tesla’s behavior must now also be viewed critically under ethical and social criteria.

In January 2021, Tesla updated their investment policy to provide them with more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on their cash that is not required to maintain adequate operating liquidity. As part of the policy, which was duly approved by the Audit Committee of their Board of Directors, they may invest a portion of such cash in certain alternative reserve assets including digital assets, gold bullion, gold exchange-traded funds and other assets as specified in the future. Thereafter, they invested an aggregate $1.50 billion in bitcoin under this policy and may acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term. Moreover, Tesla expects to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for Tesla products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which they may or may not liquidate upon receipt.

The prices of digital assets have been in the past and may continue to be highly volatile, including as a result of various associated risks and uncertainties. For example, the prevalence of such assets is a relatively recent trend, and their long-term adoption by investors, consumers and businesses is unpredictable. Moreover, their lack of a physical form, their reliance on technology for their creation, existence and transactional validation and their decentralization may subject their integrity to the threat of malicious attacks and technological obsolescence. Finally, the extent to which securities laws or other regulations apply or may apply in the future to such assets is unclear and may change in the future.

Moreover, digital assets are currently considered indefinite-lived intangible assets under applicable accounting rules, meaning that any decrease in their fair values below Tesla’s carrying values for such assets at any time subsequent to their acquisition will require Tesla to recognize impairment charges, whereas Tesla may make no upward revisions for any market price increases until a sale, which may adversely affect Tesla’s operating results in any period in which such impairment occurs. Moreover, there is no guarantee that future changes in GAAP will not require Tesla to change the way the company accounts for digital assets held by Tesla.

Finally, as intangible assets without centralized issuers or governing bodies, digital assets have been, and may in the future be, subject to security breaches, cyberattacks or other malicious activities, as well as human errors or computer malfunctions that may result in the loss or destruction of private keys needed to access such assets. While Tesla intends to take all reasonable measures to secure any digital assets, if such threats are realized or the measures or controls they create or implement to secure their digital assets fail, it could result in a partial or total misappropriation or loss of their digital assets, and Tesla’s financial condition and operating results may be harmed.

Since digital assets are considered indefinite-lived intangible assets under applicable accounting rules, any decrease in their fair values below Tesla’s carrying values for such assets at any time subsequent to their acquisition will require Tesla to recognize impairment charges, whereas Tesla may make no upward revisions for any market price increases until a sale. “As we currently intend to hold these assets long-term, these charges may negatively impact our profitability in the periods in which such impairments occur even if the overall market values of these assets increase”, writes Tesla on FORM 10-K.

Moreover, Tesla expects to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for their products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which Tesla may or may not liquidate upon receipt. With these phrasings, Tesla is giving car buyers an incentive to save in Bitcoin on their car and pay for it in Bitcoin. This implies a further, possibly intended, boost for Bitcoin, although experts warn of the lack of technical suitability of Bitcoin as a means of payment transactions.

“We believe our bitcoin holdings are highly liquid. However, digital assets may be subject to volatile market prices, which may be unfavorable at the time when we want or need to liquidate them”, writes Tesla. The high liquidity of Bitcoin is partly caused by barely controllable market segments that hardly know their limits to money laundering. Therefore, there is also an aspect here that must be taken into account in Tesla’s sustainability rating.

Rating in the Leasing Business


Hans-Michael Heitmüller, Marijan Nemet and Oliver Everling (Publisher): Rating in the Leasing Business: Significance and Requirements Against the Background of Current Market Developments, Fritz Knapp Verlag GmbH,, Frankfurt am Main 2010 , 363 pages, ISBN 978-3-8314-0834-4.

The rating of leasing companies is becoming increasingly important. Because of the financial crisis, the refinancing of leasing companies is made more difficult. This makes the rating a success factor for them in the context of a broader investor approach. But even rating judgments are not free of criticism and contradiction. Appropriate standards must therefore be discussed and questioned as well as the optimal operating structure and size of the leasing company itself. The requirements for operations management and especially for risk management are constantly increasing.

For the first time in the literature, the rating of leasing companies is addressed in this book. Here, the focus is on opportunities and default risks, as they are to be assessed according to Basel II using rating scales. The aim is to clarify the procedures and assessment benchmarks with regard to leasing companies, to show approaches to implementation and to clarify the benefits and functions of ratings for leasing companies in addition to legal, tax and technical aspects.

The book is a valuable guide for anyone involved in investment and finance issues related to leasing companies. In other words, executives and professionals in banking, insurance, accounting and tax consulting firms, consulting and IT companies, law firms, regulators and authorities, credit rating agencies and research firms, and universities benefit from this book.

Hans-Michael Heitmüller, Marijan Nemet und Oliver Everling (Hrsg.): Rating im Leasinggeschäft: Bedeutung und Anforderungen vor dem Hintergrund aktueller Marktentwicklungen, Fritz Knapp Verlag GmbH,, Frankfurt am Main 2010, 363 Seiten, ISBN 978-3-8314-0834-4.

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German Communities Demand Good Social Credit Rating When Buying Land

Read, Scores

The allocation guideline for the allocation of community-owned building plots in the development plan area “South of Adolf-Reichwein-Strasse” in the Rodenbach community provides an example of applied social credit rating in Germany.

As part of the reallocation process, the municipality of Rodenbach acquires areas to implement the objectives pursued with the land-use planning. The municipal council of the municipality of Rodenbach resolved the following guidelines for the allocation of building sites with a view to a socially and urban-planning sensible building and land policy. The aim is to cover the housing needs of population groups with special housing supply problems, as well as the housing needs of the local population. The priorities are set under a socialist majority in the local council and with an SPD mayor for a family-friendly and sustainable development.

The developer has been entrusted with the development of the building area ‘south of Adolf-Reichwein-Straße’ and thus also with the sale of the building plots. The construction sites are to be allocated according to social criteria and with local residents, taking into account compliance with EU law. The award procedure for the building sites that are owned by the municipality of Rodenbach after completion of the reallocation procedure is regulated by the following award guideline, which comprises a specific rating system.

Rodenbach is a municipality in the Main-Kinzig district, in Hesse, Germany. It is situated on the river Kinzig, 8 km east of Hanau. Rodenbach is located about 20 kilometers east of Frankfurt am Main on the edge of the Vorspessart and is largely surrounded by forest, which is part of the Hessian Spessart Nature Park. Both districts are located on the stream of the same name, which is called the Lache in its lower reaches. It flows southwest of Rodenbach through the Bulau and there flows into the Kinzig, which flows north past Rodenbach towards Hanau. The next larger city next to Hanau is Langenselbold. The topographically highest point of the municipality marker is at about 245 m above sea level.

So-called “local residents’ models”, taking into account the basic right to freedom of movement, shall enable lower-income and less well-off residents to acquire adequate housing in their home municipality. In this way, an intact socially and demographically balanced population structure and social cohesion in the community should be preserved.

The following criteria are used in the specific case of Rodenbach and give an example of socialism in Germany. The following criteria are believed to ensure fair and traceable allocation of the properties:

  1. Applicants’ need according to social criteria such as number of children, relatives in need of care,
  2. Applicants’ need for income,
  3. Exercising an honorary position,
  4. Applicants’ reference to the municipality of Rodenbach, taking into account the length of time their main residence, employment / business practice.

The municipality board is authorized to allocate part of the land in a direct procedure, provided there is a public interest (e.g. doctors, pharmacists).

The building site applicant list is the basis for awarding building plots according to a point system.

Requirements for an Application

In the award procedure, the applications of the persons are considered who are entitled to apply according to the criteria listed here and who can prove the correctness of the information if required by submitting appropriate evidence upon request. Information that cannot be verified cannot be taken into account.
It is expressly pointed out that all information provided by the applicant must be correct and complete. This must be confirmed with a signature when applying. Incorrect or incomplete information can lead to exclusion from the award procedure or, after the award decision, to reversal.

  1. Asset limit: Applicants may have a maximum of assets equal to the value of the property. Applicants are not allowed to own a plot of land that can be built or a property in the municipality of Rodenbach. Real estate property outside the municipality of Rodenbach, on the other hand, is counted as assets, but is not an exclusion criterion.
  2. Upper income limit: Applicants may earn a maximum income (total amount of income) as an average according to the tax assessments of the last three years, taking into account the average nationwide annual income. The following income limits must not be exceeded: Individual € 51,000, couple € 102,000. If the acquisition is made as a couple, the calculation is based on the added income in relation to twice the average income. A tax exemption of € 7,000 per dependent child must be added to the upper limit.
  3. Applicants must be of legal age with unlimited legal capacity at the time of application.
  4. Applicants must meet the requirements listed in the procurement guidelines.
  5. Only one application will be considered per household: Only one property application can be submitted per couple, family, registered partnership, cohabiting community, cohabiting community or single parent.
  6. Applicants undertake to acquire the property in their own name. Applicants must also be the contractual partner or purchaser in the sales contract. A transfer of the property to third parties (also within the relatives) is excluded.

Award criteria

The eligible applications will be evaluated according to the following award criteria and the point system. The amount of points achieved is decisive here. A ranking list will be created. The higher the number of points, the further up the ranking is. If the points are equal, then chance decides.

Social Credit Rating system

The land is awarded by the municipality board. For each applicant a score is calculated. The following point system is used:

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General terms and conditions

  1. The purchase process takes place on the basis of a uniform standard purchase contract.
  2. As the seller, the municipality of Rodenbach will appoint the notary’s office.
  3. If the applicant confirms in writing within eight weeks, a notification is sent to the notary to set a date for the notarization. The purchase agreement must be notarized within a period of 3 months after the decision.
  4. If a purchase contract does not come into existence, plots that become available again are offered individually to successors in accordance with the order of criteria.
  5. It is assumed that the intended construction project can be financed by the applicants. A current confirmation of financing must be submitted with the application.
  6. 30% of the purchase price is due upon certification, 70% of the purchase price upon completion of the development (preliminary stage expansion).
  7. In certain cases, the seller reserves the right to repurchase the property in accordance with §§ 456 ff. BGB or the obligation to make additional payments: a. In the event of incorrect information from the applicant in the award procedure. b. In the event of a violation of personal use and sales restrictions. c. In the event of a breach of the construction and purchase obligation.
  8. Right of repurchase: When exercising the right of repurchase, the municipality has to repay the purchaser the purchase price minus any depreciation, encumbrances and plus connection costs; Likewise, the building value is reimbursed for developed properties. The building value is determined by the responsible expert committee (Office for Land Management).
  9. Additional / additional payment obligation: If the return transfer is not used, the purchaser undertakes to reimburse an appropriate part of the discount to the municipality. This percentage is calculated from the period that is missing up to 10 years of use, i.e. a refund of the discount of 10% per year.
  10. Construction / purchase obligation: With the purchase of the property, the purchaser undertakes to build a residential building within a period of 3 years from the completion of the development (preliminary expansion) according to the stipulations of the development plan (ready for occupancy).
  11. Own use: The properties are sold with a personal use obligation. This means that the purchaser undertakes to live in the house without interruption for a period of 10 years after it is ready for occupancy. If the property consists of 2 residential units, the buyer has to live in one residential unit with primary residence for the specified period. If you move out earlier, the obligation of the percentage reimbursement of the discount to the municipality according to point 9 also applies here.
  12. Sale restriction: If the property is sold or given away in whole or in part, the municipality of Rodenbach has the right to buy back the property.

The Road Ahead For Social Credit Rating


The municipality of Rodenbach grants a child bonus in the form of a discount on the sales price on the purchase of building land for the construction of residential buildings for personal use. The children for whom the applicant is entitled to child benefit and who live in his household when the purchase contract is concluded and are registered with their main residence are taken into account. Applicants receive a discount of € 5 per child per square meter. The maximum discount is limited to € 15 per applicant.

Note on legal entitlement

Citizens have no claim, since there is no legal claim to the allocation of a communal building plot. There is also no legal entitlement to the maintenance of the procurement guidelines. By participating in the selection process, the interested parties declare that they agree that a judicial review of the award process is excluded.


A plot of land is reserved for 2 months without obligation and free of charge. If a purchase decision is not yet possible, the reservation will be withdrawn and the property will be released again for new interested parties. The municipal council of the Rodenbach municipality discussed the allocation of the municipality’s own building plots in the construction area “south of Adolf-Reichwein-Straße” at the public council representatives meeting on November 12th, 2020 and decided to make the allocation in accordance with this allocation guideline.

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Reach and Scope of Scope Ratings

Agencies, Read

Google Trends provides access to a largely unfiltered sample of actual search requests made to Google.

It’s anonymized, because no one is personally identified. It is also categorized, i.e. determining the topic for a search query, and aggregated, i.e. grouped together. This way it displays interest in a particular topic from around the globe or down to city-level geography.

Google Trends normalizes search data to make comparisons between terms easier. Search results are normalized to the time and location of a query by the following process: Each data point is divided by the total searches of the geography and time range it represents to compare relative popularity. Otherwise, places with the most search volume would always be ranked highest. Different regions that show the same search interest for a term don’t always have the same total search volumes.

Many people don’t bother typing in an address like in full to get to this website. If you use a Chrome browser, all you have to do is write “scope ratings” and then go to the website you are looking for with one click. That is why the data from Google Trends is interesting to find out in which countries the Berlin rating agency is searched.

As the evaluation on February 5, 2021 shows, Scope Ratings are mainly sought in Hungary.

Scope Ratings is commissioned by the Hungarian Central Bank to carry out the ratings of the applying issuers and the bonds to be issued.

That was back in 2019. “Scope successfully prevailed in the bidding process and convinced the central bank with its expertise,” said the then COO of Scope Group, Torsten Hinrichs. “The added value lies in a differentiated approach that opens up a new perspective – for example by taking regional characteristics into account.” Torsten Hinrichs left Scope Group by end of 2019.

The structure of the bond purchase program presented by the Hungarian Central Bank under the name “Bond Funding For Growth Scheme (BGS)” is similar to that of the European Central Bank (ECB). The total volume of 300 billion Hungarian forints (HUF) corresponds to around 921 million euros, which is 0.7% of Hungary’s gross domestic product. Bonds from Hungarian companies that do not come from the financial sector are purchased, denominated in HUF with terms between three and ten years. A rating of at least B+ is required for an award. The ratings for bond issues that have taken place are published. The bond purchase program was launched on July 1, 2019.

The background to the program is the intention of the central bank to diversify the financing alternatives for Hungarian companies, i.e. to open up other possibilities for raising capital in addition to traditional bank loans, including a liquid market for corporate bonds. The central bank will buy up to 70% of a single bond.

In the two years since the program was introduced, the demand for Scope Ratings is mainly in Hungary, as the Central Bank of Hungary buys bonds from Hungarian companies with a Scope rating under the conditions mentioned. Since the Hungarian central bank buys the overwhelming majority of corporate bonds, the interest in scope ratings is likely to exist primarily among Hungarian companies that are interested in their refinancing by the Hungarian central bank.

This graphic from Google is therefore also interesting, as it shows as of February 2021 that Google received search queries for scope ratings mainly from Berlin over the last year in Germany.

From the federal states with the financial centers of Germany, where most of the institutional investors and family offices with large assets are located, above all in Frankfurt and Munich, but also in Düsseldorf or Hamburg, Google was unable to register any search queries worth mentioning.

In order to answer the question of the importance of scope ratings for investors, the following facts arise:

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Collection of Contributions by The Institutional Protection Scheme of EdB

Associations, Authorities, Read

A credit institution is an undertaking which conducts at least one of the banking businesses described in detail in section 1 (1) of the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz) commercially or on a scale which requires commercially organised business operations. The banking businesses include the deposit business and credit business, but also specific securities-related activities such as principal broking services and the safe custody business.

The EdB compensation scheme is in place to protect depositors from the risks associated with the banking business of its members.

If a compensation event occurs, the depositor shall have a right to compensation as provided for by the law from the deposit guarantee scheme of which the CRR credit institution is a member.

The Entschädigungseinrichtung deutscher Banken GmbH (EdB, Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Association of German Banks. It was entrusted by the German Federal Finance Ministry with the task of running the statutory deposit guarantee and investor compensation scheme for the private banks in Germany.

The EdB’s job is to compensate the creditors of a bank assigned to it where the bank is unable to repay deposits. Liabilities arising from securities transactions conducted by a credit institution (i.e. bank) as defined in the EU Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR) are also deemed to be deposits.

Pursuant to section 1 (3d) of the German Banking Act, a CRR credit institution is a credit institution that also meets the narrower definition of a credit institution in accordance with Article 4 (1) no. 1 of the EU Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR). CRR credit institutions are supervised in the context of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) either directly by the European Central Bank (ECB) as significant institutions (SIs) or by BaFin together with the Deutsche Bundesbank as less significant institutions (LSIs).

In accordance with Section 26 (1) of the German Deposit Guarantee Act (Einlagensicherungsgesetz or EinSiG), the CRR credit institutions are obliged to pay annual contributions at the end of each accounting year (Jahresbeiträge). The accounting year covers the period from October 1st of one year to September 30th of the following year. The contributions to the EdB are therefore due for payment on September 30 of each year.

The details of the contribution payment can be found in the ordinance issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance on the financing of the compensation facility of German banks and the compensation facility of the Federal Association of Public Banks in Germany (compensation facility financing ordinance or Entschädigungseinrichtungs-Finanzierungsverordnung – EntFinV), see Federal Law Gazette I of 11 January 2016 p. 9 f.

Pursuant to Section 17 (2) EinSiG, the EdB must ensure that the financial resources available to it reach a target level of at least 0.8 percent of the covered deposits of the institutions belonging to it by July 3, 2024.

The EdB has developed an internet platform for the regular collection of annual contributions to the EdB, via which a questionnaire is made available to the institutes from the end of May / beginning of June each year. A number of key figures and the external rating results must be entered in the questionnaire. The Internet access data for using the platform are sent to the banks annually by post.

The completely recorded questionnaire must be sent electronically via the aforementioned platform together with the following documents (see also Section 15 Paragraphs 2 to 4 of the EntFinV):

  • Asset encumbrance sheets, current and previous year (template F 32.01),
  • COREP sheets, current and previous year,
  • SAKI sheet, current and previous year,
  • Documentation of all ratings valid as of May 31, 2020 in accordance with Section 10 of the EntFinV (at least one rating is required)

The following documents are to be sent in paper form to the Auditing Association of German Banks e.V.: The fully recorded and legally binding questionnaire including date and institute stamp, and in accordance with Section 34 (1) EinSiG: the audit report for the financial year, insofar as this has not already been sent to the Auditing Association.

The EdB can allow the CRR credit institutions assigned to it to pay up to 30% of their annual contribution in one accounting year by assuming contractual payment obligations. The prerequisites are that the EdB and the CRR credit institute have signed a framework agreement on payment obligations pursuant to Section 21 of the EntFinV and a framework contract on financial collateral pursuant to Section 27 of the Funding Regulation by June 30 of the respective accounting year. In addition, there has to be an agreement on the assumption of payment obligations by September 1st of the accounting year according to § 22 EntFinV for the accounting year and the provision of financial collateral according to § 26 EntFinV.

A contribution notification will be created on the basis of the transmitted data. The contribution notification is an administrative act against which an objection can be raised at the EdB. However, according to Section 32 (1) EinSiG, objections and actions for rescission have no suspensive effect. Pursuant to Section 32 (2) EinSiG, the law provides for the possibility of enforcement from the contribution notice in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Enforcement Act.

The EdB also has to levy special contributions if it finds that its funds are insufficient to carry out compensation proceedings. Section 29 EinSiG regulates the details.

The contributions to the compensation scheme depend on the creditworthiness of the assigned institute. You will find an explanation in “Creditworthiness functions according to the EntFinV”. The external rating results, which are included in the calculation of the creditworthiness with 25%, are part of these explanations.

With regard to the creditworthiness function, a left-skewed distribution in favor of the discount classes was determined as part of the annual backtesting process, which is also expressed in an increased “µ” in the EBA formula. On the basis of a now broader and qualitatively better database, both individual risk indicators and the transformation functions were validated with the aim of a broader spread. On the basis of transformation functions, the calculated risk indicators are assigned individual risk values ​​(IRSi), which are combined to form a weighted individual risk value. Using the sum value (ARSi) of the weighted individual risk values, the aggregated risk weight (ARWi) is determined based on ten credit rating cagegories using a further transformation function.

The annual contribution is the result of the following formula:

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Capital Market Rating


Oliver Everling and Jens Schmidt-Bürgel (editors): Capital Market Rating: Perspectives for Corporate Financing, Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Th. Gabler, Wiesbaden 1st edition December 2005,, hardcover, 318 pages, ISBN 3-409-14242-8.

The financing requirements for companies have changed considerably in recent years. There is a trend from bank-oriented to capital-market-driven financing culture, and corporate bonds are becoming an increasingly important form of financing. Capital market ratings reflect the ability and willingness of a company to fully and timely meet its payment obligations under its debt obligations. This makes them an important instrument for assessing and communicating the future viability of the issuer. For investors, capital market ratings are a tool to assess the credit risk of fixed income securities they wish to buy or sell. Leading investors worldwide rely on ratings, which in turn gives companies a secure and flexible way to raise capital.

In the anthology “Kapitalmarktrating” renowned experts give a practical insight into the process of capital market rating, prerequisites for a good rating, instruments and methods of risk identification and control.

Oliver Everling und Jens Schmidt-Bürgel (Herausgeber): Kapitalmarktrating: Perspektiven für die Unternehmensfinanzierung, Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler, Wiesbaden 1. Auflage Dezember 2005,, gebundene Ausgabe, 318 Seiten, ISBN 3-409-14242-8.

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Berechtigungsscheine As An Emerging New Asset Class in Germany


Eligibility certificates (Berechtigungsscheine) are short of becoming a new asset class in Germany.

Since January 2021, the Federal Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has been distributing authorization certificates intended for the purchase of goods with practically no prior notice. Within a few days, markets were created where the certificates of entitlement are now traded. For example, old people or pregnant women were initially benefited by the distribution of “Berechtigungsscheine”. Due to their fungibility, entitlement certificates can be traded so that they can also be used as a means of payment and storage of value for a specified period.

Fungibility (from Latin fungibilis) is generally the property of goods to be determinable according to unit of measure, number or weight and therefore to be exchangeable within the same category for other items of the same type, quantity and quality. This characteristic is also given in the certificates of entitlement issued by the federal government of Germany. Authorization certificates are printed like banknotes in the Bundesdruckerei.

The housing entitlement certificate (Wohnberechtigungsschein), abbreviated to WBS, which has already been introduced in Germany, is not fungible. An applicant must meet certain legal requirements in order to receive a housing entitlement certificate. Colloquially, the housing entitlement certificate is also called § 8 certificate. This is an official certificate in Germany with the help of which a tenant can prove that he is entitled to move into an apartment (social housing) subsidized with public funds. What is new in the system now begun by the federal government of Germany is the fungibility property of the entitlement certificate, as was also the case at the time of the war economy.

Entitlement certificates are similar in function to food stamps (Lebensmittelmarken). A food stamp is a document issued by public authorities to certify that the owner can buy a certain food in a certain amount. In times of need, especially during war, such tokens are issued to the population, supposedly in order to better manage the general shortage of consumer goods.

Different brands can be grouped together in grocery cards (Lebensmittelkarten), because in addition to food, other consumer goods, e.g. rationed heating material (coals), clothing, luxury goods such as cigarettes and alcohol as well as gasoline. The permits are then usually called reference certificates. A special occasion – such as the birth of a child – had to be present or an application had to be made in order to be issued a voucher.

The term “entitlement certificate” (“Berechtigungsschein”) now used by the federal government is known from the German Democratic Republic (DDR). The authorization certificate to receive a GDR visa was the prerequisite for “visits and trips by persons with permanent residence in Berlin (West) to enter the capital of the GDR” (East Berlin) or the GDR itself. Another example are authorization certificates (Berechtigungsscheine) for drinking spirits. The drinking brandy for miners was a brandy that was given out to miners in the Soviet occupation zone and later in the GDR as deputation wages.

At the beginning of the 1960s, a shortage of supplies also meant that certain foods such as butter and meat were temporarily rationed in the GDR. You could only get these groceries at your place of residence upon presentation of a business-related customer ID. A transfer certificate from the local dealer was required for holidays or stays abroad.

The value of entitlement certificates results on the one hand from the rationing, on the other hand from the difference between the personal contribution to be made by the holder of the subscription and the (black) market price of the goods. The system introduced by the federal government of Germany provides for a so-called “personal contribution” (“Eigenbeteiligung”).

Rationing is known from many socialist or communist countries. In Cuba, for example, the distribution of food is rationed. Rationing in Cuba is known as the Libreta de Abastecimiento (“reference booklet”) or Libreta for short. This system determines the reference quantities for each person and the frequency of allocation.

In order to organize the supply of the starving population, the People’s Republic of China also continued to use authorization certificates at least until the end of the Mao period, with which scarce goods were distributed among the needy population.

The system of entitlement certificates now introduced by the Federal Republic of Germany initially only benefits individual population groups such as certain over 60-year-olds or pregnant women. On the (black) markets, prices are currently emerging that are based on the value of the goods to be purchased. For example, there are already numerous offers of authorization certificates on Ebay.

Berechtigungsscheine for twelve FFP2 masks are currently offered for 24 euros on Ebay, for example, but also for 16.50 euros or 37 euros. For the buyer there is an additional payment of 2 euros for each set of 6 masks. It cannot be said with certainty whether the authorization certificates offered on the online portals actually all come from Bundesdruckerei. Likewise, according to testing services in Germany, there is no guarantee that the FFP2 masks that can be obtained would withstand a test by the TÜV.

Whether Berechtigungsscheine can establish themselves as a new asset class depends on the duration of the issue of Berechtigungsscheine, the period of validity of the Berechtigungsscheine and – among other factors – on whether further goods and services will only be available in the future on presentation of entitlement certificates due to shortage management.

businessman man suit people

German Authority Gives No Mercy to Insider Trading

Actions, Crime

On January 27, 2021, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) reported an employee of the securities regulator to the Stuttgart public prosecutor on suspicion of insider trading. The employee had sold structured products with the underlying Wirecard AG on June 17, 2020. On June 18, 2020, Wirecard AG made public that it was not yet possible to obtain sufficient audit evidence about the existence of bank balances in trust accounts totaling 1.9 billion euros. The financial supervisory authority had discovered the suspicion as part of their special evaluation. BaFin immediately fired the employee and initiated disciplinary proceedings.

BaFin tightened the compliance rules for its employees’ private securities transactions in mid-October 2020. Speculative financial transactions, i.e. short-term trading, for example with derivative financial instruments or stocks, have no longer been possible since then.

Financial Psychologist Recommends Inconspicuous Face masks


FFP2 masks are not just a question of operational risk and the operational risk rating of banks.

“You are by far our dearest customers” – this or something similar can and could be read in some German shops, the reference to the required minimum distance. In view of the ongoing pandemic and slow vaccinations, the end of the exceptional situation in interpersonal dealings is not in sight. “How should financial counselors behave now when talking to customers? What is a Corona-related basic expectation of behavior in counseling?” Janko Laumann, Institute for Applied Financial Psychology, Lecturer at FOM Bonn deals with these questions.

“Especially when customers demand a handshake,” says Janko Laumann, “it can be seen as an affront by advisors if they refuse to shake hands. Accompany the negative behavior with a small sentence: ‘Mr Müller, for your protection it would be better not to.’ So make sure your customer understands your behavior. “

Since the eyes are usually easy to see when wearing a mask, Janko Laumann recommends being particularly cordial, especially under the mask: “A mask covers a large part of the face. The facial expressions can only be guessed rather than they are really visible. Fortunately, the establishment of contact is based on evolutionary biology in such a way that the eyes play the most important role. “

The dangers lie in the fact that the reactions are not recognized under a mask. The mouth instinctively plays a major role in facial expressions when “the teeth are shown”. Janko Laumann recommends financiers speak louder, clearer words in shorter sentences, avoid filler words and be particularly careful when pronouncing number words.

Janko Laumann recommends neutral colors for the mask.

“When choosing the mask, make sure that it doesn’t catch the eye of your customers. Colorful is beautiful and red is a signal color. Colorful and red masks are therefore part of the carnival, but not part of advising customers! Avoid masks with advertising imprints or other messages. These take away any sovereignty and credibility. ” So much for a few examples from a whole series of other recommendations by the financial psychologist.

Manufacturers of FFP2 masks such as EPG Pausa GmbH from the Stolfig Group have adapted to these requirements. Red masks are also offered, which correspond to the corporate identity of savings banks, but otherwise white, blue and black masks and only in other colors upon customer request. The masks from the STOLFIG.SHOP do not show any logos in bright colors, but the logo of a financial service provider is discreetly stamped so that there are no functional restrictions for the mask can have.

FFP2 Mask

React Flexibly to Requirements With FFP2 Masks

Processes, Read

Resilience in crisis situations and flexibility distinguish companies with good ratings.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the core business of many industries continues to be severely affected. However, many medium-sized companies have reacted flexibly to the new conditions and adapted their production to the circumstances.

An example for this is EPG Pausa GmbH from Stolfig Group. The company started the production of FFP2 masks at the Eichelhardt site and was able to conclude a major contract with the German Federal Government and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in December 2020. The basis for this success was the EU type examination certification of the products by TÜV Rheinland Intercert Kft.

The Stolfig Group is a development partner of the automotive industry and a first-tier supplier (Tier One). The first wave of the pandemic had already severely affected the order situation, freeing up production capacity.. After the German Federal Government also called on local producers to support them in fighting the pandemic, the Stolfig Group seized the opportunity to build up another mainstay during the crisis. The changeover to a textile product, of course, presented the automotive supplier with a number of challenges. EPG Pausa first had to find suitable production machines, suppliers for the basic materials and qualified staff.

“TÜV Rheinland is an excellent partner in our opinion. The collaboration was highly professional and the communication was always fast and courteous. Despite the holidays at the turn of the year, the certification was driven forward and the audits were conducted at record time in international collaboration.”

Wei Hong, Managing Director of EPG Pausa GmbH

Certification was also more time-consuming than initially anticipated, as FFP2 masks fall under the Personal Protective Equipment Regulation 2016/425 and must also comply with EN149:2001+A1:2009. In partnership with TÜV Rheinland, everything finally went smoothly and quickly, as Managing Director Wei Hong confirmed. The company is now occupied with the distribution and production of larger margins of their new protective masks.

Meanwhile, EPG Pausa is already working on masks for children. Their development must be based on the specific dimensions of children, so that the masks ultimately meet the requirements for safety and wearing comfort. TÜV Rheinland will also carry out the testing of these products.

TÜV Rheinland has tested the masks of EPG Pausa GmbH according to the regulation 2016/425 for Personal Protective Equipment as well as the standard EN149: 2001 +A1: 2009 and was subsequently able to issue the corresponding EU type examination certificate. Now, the company can attach the CE marking to its FFP masks and offer them as Personal Protective Equipment on the European market.

During the pandemic, masks with forged certification marks have repeatedly come onto the market. TÜV Rheinland is an internationally renowned testing service provider and a strong partner for EPG Pausa GmbH and Stolfig Group. The EU’s “New Approach Notified and Designated Organisations” has designated TÜV Rheinland InterCert for the certification of particle-filtering masks. By means of their international network of experts and test laboratories, TÜV Rheinland enables a supplier like EPG Pausa GmbH to test their products quickly and efficiently, since TÜV Rheinland has decades of experience in testing Personal Protective Equipment.