DWS supervisory board chairman warns against prejudice
Instead of looking back at good figures, the focus of the DWS general meeting will be on the most recent raid and the replacement of the CEO. A reminder comes from the parent company Deutsche Bank.
After the search at the Deutsche Bank fund subsidiary DWS in connection with “greenwashing” allegations, supervisory board chairman Karl von Rohr warned against prejudice.
“We will draw clear consequences if misconduct is found here or elsewhere,” the Deutsche Bank Vice will assure the shareholders at the DWS online general meeting this Thursday (June 9), according to the text of the speech published in advance. “But here, too, the presumption of innocence should apply: allegations are not evidence and investigations are not a judgement.”
change at the top
According to Rohr, the focus on sustainable investment products at DWS should not be shaken: “The Supervisory Board, which is intensively involved in the strategy process of DWS, and also Deutsche Bank as the majority shareholder of DWS stand behind the strategy and financial goals of DWS without any ifs or buts DWS.”
On May 31, around 50 emergency services from the public prosecutor’s office, the Bafin financial supervisory authority and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) examined rooms in the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and in the neighboring DWS building. Less than 24 hours after the start of the raid, Deutsche Bank and DWS announced that the current DWS boss Asoka Wöhrmann would be stepping down at the end of the general meeting. Effective June 10, he will be succeeded by Deutsche Bank manager Stefan Hoops.
According to the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt, the reason for the search was the suspicion of capital investment fraud. The asset manager DWS is accused of having sold so-called green financial products as “greener” than they actually are – “greenwashing” in other words. The investigation was initiated by former DWS sustainability officer Desiree Fixler with public criticism of her former employer.
In his speech, DWS Supervisory Board Chairman von Rohr explained that the control committee was regularly informed about how to deal with the topic of ESG (“Environment, Social, Governance”). “I would like to emphasize at this point, especially with a view to the events of the past week: Up to now, no circumstances have arisen that would have required a separate examination by the Supervisory Board or given cause to intervene.”
DWS had always rejected the “greenwashing” allegations. The outgoing CEO Wöhrmann confirmed in his speech, which was also published in advance on Tuesday: “Our statement has remained unchanged since then. So are our beliefs.” The topic of sustainability is “far too significant and far too important for us to be okay with it being used by individuals to derive personal benefits from it”.