Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, or DWS, is a fee-based investment and financial advisor firm based in Germany. It’s owned by Deutsche Bank, an international financial institution. However, all of its stateside business is conducted through its American branch, Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc. (DIMA). While the German branch is solely centered around financial management for institutions and businesses, the American branch is open to individual investors as well.
When combined, both sides of the firm employ 313 financial advisors and other advisory staff members, with 135 of those located abroad and the rest in the U.S. As far as client assets under management (AUM) go, the German branch manages nearly $103 billion while the American division manages $197 billion.
Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management Background
Established in 1983, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management was the first investment management branch that Deutsche Bank created. Its sister branch in America was founded the following year, in 1984. But because Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc. has its roots in other pre-existing firms, its history dates back to 1940.
What Types of Clients Does Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management Accept?
Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc. typically works with large entities and businesses that have massive amounts of money to be managed and invested. More specifically, these include federal and state government groups, foundations, endowments, banks, corporations, pooled investment vehicles, private investment funds, international public authorities, pension plans, mutual funds and financial institutions. Individual investors are also regarded as an important part of this client base, though the firm is generally biased toward high-net-worth clients based on its account minimums.
On the other hand, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management only manages assets for institutional clients, such as banks and other financial institutions, corporations, governments, international public authorities, insurance firms, registered and non-registered funds, foundations and endowments. This means that individuals are excluded from working with the German side of this company.
Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management Minimum Account Sizes
The majority of individual clients that begin an advisory relationship with Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc. will need at least $250,000 ready to invest. The firm also offers these clients the chance to utilize a “dual contract” set-up, which calls for a significantly higher minimum investment of $1 million. Under this arrangement, the client signs a deal with both the advisor and money manager to keep their funds under the same advisement if the advisor has changed firms.
For clients of the German sect, account minimums are not defined and are therefore much more fluid. In this case, the financial situation of the client and the services that they wish to receive will be used to determine the required minimum.
Services Offered By Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management
Whereas most financial advisor firms will usually build a portfolio of services that it feels it can offer clients, Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc. takes the opposite route. What this means is that the firm’s team of advisors will spend time not only listening to the needs and desires of the client, but also researching their current and projected financial situations. This same policy applies to Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management as well, only with a more institutional focus.
In order to create these services accurately, the firm will work with clients to iron out their risk tolerance, investment and security preferences, time horizon and any possible needs for liquidity. Clients will even have the opportunity to spell out any specific investments that they want to be excluded from their portfolio.
Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management Investment Philosophy
As it currently stands, U.S.-based Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc. employs 61 distinctly different investment strategies. Each is made up of a specific types of investment products, depending on the strategy’s main goal. These are split between three overarching groups: alternative, fixed income and equity strategies.
If a client prefers it, DIMA also utilizes strategies for investments based outside of the U.S. The firm also offers management programs centered around environmental, social and governance factors.
Fees Under Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management
Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management is a fee-based firm because some of its advisors earn extra commissions outside of the regular rates charged to clients and their accounts. More specifically, advisors can earn additional compensation through the sale of certain DIMA-managed mutual funds and other investment classes. The firm may also charge performance-based fees may, although they don't apply to all client accounts.
Each of the 61 investment strategies employed by Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management has its own fee structure based on the market value of the customer’s investments. In other words, how much each client pays is unique to the exact setup of his or her portfolio and the type of investments it contains. If you have multiple portfolios, however, an extra charge of as much as $25,000 may be applied to each portfolio.
What to Watch Out For
Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management and Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc., along with their parent company Deutsche Bank, have a largely checkered legal past. Many of these problems have come in the form of misleading investors and “interest rate-rigging,” so potential clients should do thorough research and ask questions before signing on to work with Deutsche.
Additionally, this firm is fee-based and occasionally charges performance-based fees. Potential clients should ask pointed questions about these fee arrangements, as they indicate that the firm is compensated from sources other than clients, which may lead to possible conflicts of interest.
Deutsche Bank, the principal owner of Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management and Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc., has been in the headlines for legal issues many times in recent years. Because the bank is considered an “advisory affiliate” of its two investment management firms, they have each paid the price, both in terms of money and reputation.
Perhaps the largest such incident occurred in 2015, when Deutsche Bank was ordered to pay $2.5 billion in fines, split among multiple offenses, for “interest rate-rigging.” The fines were divvied up as follows:
- $800 million from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission
- $775 million from the U.S. Justice Department
- $600 million from the New York State Department of Financial Services
- $340 million from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority
Deutsche Bank has been charged with many more fines besides these for similar reasons involving misleading statement to clients and other illegal “investment-related activities.” As substantial as the previously listed charges are, the bank has been fined as little as $3,500 in connection with these secondary legal problems.
Opening an Account With Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management
Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc. offers two ways to get in touch and open an account. You can either call the firm’s phone line or physically mail in your client application. While email can be used as an extraneous form of communication, the firm indicates that you’re better off not including your Social Security number over the computer.
Where Is Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management Located?
For prospective American clients, Deutsche Investment Management Americas, Inc.’s headquarters is in New York City at 345 Park Avenue. The U.S.-based division of Deutsche Bank has branches in Boston and Jacksonville too.
Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, the original financial advisor arm of Deutsche Bank, calls Frankfurt, Germany home.
Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor Firm
- Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- There are many factors to look out for when delving deeper into the characteristics that makes a firm what it is. However, almost nothing is as important as ensuring that a firm is a fee-only fiduciary, or at the very least a fiduciary. This means that the firm is legally bound to work in your best interests. Furthermore, fee-only firms don’t make any money outside of the fees they charge clients -- an equally crucial detail.