“Munich is a super location”: The city attracts investment bankers – Munich

Between the fitness studio and “Cafe Roma” at the lower end of the chic Maximilianstrasse there is still no sign of the new tenant. Only in the underground car park do the plaques with the silver letters “GS” reveal who will be moving in here in March: Goldman Sachs is the first of the major investment banks to open a presence in the city. But she won’t be the only one. Morgan Stanley wants to come in the summer, smaller houses like Perella Weinberg have long been there.

The density of DAX companies and tech start-ups, large insurers and financial investors, but also the nearby mountains are reasons why investment bankers in Germany are suddenly no longer just to be found around Frankfurt’s Opernplatz, but also 400 kilometers further south. “We will be represented in Munich with a team of around 30 bankers, some of whom are moving there from Frankfurt, but also some from London,” says Wolfgang Fink, who is responsible for business in Germany and Austria at Goldman Sachs continental European unity. “The city is becoming more and more international.”

Tammo Bünnemeyer is supposed to set up the Munich office for Morgan Stanley; he specializes in technology companies. “In terms of market value, there are around a third of the Dax and more than ten ‘unicorns’ here, i.e. start-ups with a valuation of more than a billion dollars, is how he explains his upcoming move from Hesse to Bavaria. There is business here with mergers and acquisitions, but also with IPOs. Siemens, Allianz and BMW are heavyweights in the DAX, EQT and General Atlantic are among the largest tech investors.

But aspiring German software companies and many European subsidiaries of US Internet companies from the industry have also settled in Munich. “And we want to be where our clients are,” says Fink. Especially in the technology industry, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are the most sought-after advisors alongside JP Morgan.

Munich benefits from Brexit

“In the long term, this regionalization is also a result of Brexit, after which more business moved to the continent for regulatory reasons,” explains Fink. “The European continent has become more important overall as a result of Brexit,” says Bünnemeyer. Frankfurt and Paris, but also Amsterdam, fought for the role of the biggest beneficiary for a long time. It is remarkable that Munich benefits from this.

The US investment boutique Perella Weinberg was one, if not the pioneer, of the trek to Munich. Shortly before the corona pandemic, she opened her office in Schwabing in 2020 – the only one in Germany. Until then, the bankers had worked on Europe from London, then Paris was added. “In London and Paris there is a high concentration of companies and decision-makers – in Germany it is more distributed, here people are constantly on the move,” says Dietrich Becker, European boss and partner at Perella. “That’s why we asked ourselves: Which location has the highest concentration of customers?”

The answer was clear: Munich. “Many decision-makers work – and live – here. And it is a city where you can live well,” says Becker. “Munich is a great location.” According to insiders, the US investment banking boutique PJT Partners, which advised Software AG on its sale to a financial investor, also wants to come to Munich soon.

However, it is not expected that Munich will soon replace Frankfurt as the German banking capital. Morgan Stanley employs around 600 bankers on the Main; in Munich it will probably initially be a smaller double-digit number. At Goldman Sachs the size ratio is similar. And the leisure value of the city with its mountains and lakes plays a role more for more sophisticated bankers. “Viewed from other European countries, Munich is certainly attractive,” says Fink, even at home in nearby Austria. “But when you start your career, many colleagues feel at home in Frankfurt more quickly.”

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