DWS Investment Management Americas, or DWS Investments for short, 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 this American firm branch. 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 hundreds of financial advisors and other advisory staff members. As far as client assets under management (AUM) go, the firm manages billions of dollars.
DWS Investments Background
Established in 1984, DWS Investment Management Americas was the first investment management branch that Deutsche Bank created in the U.S. But because the firm has its roots in other pre-existing firms, its history dates back to 1956.
For prospective American clients, DWS' headquarters is in New York City. The original financial advisor arm of Deutsche Bank calls Frankfurt, Germany, home.
DWS Investments Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
DWS Investment Management Americas typically works with large entities and businesses that have massive amounts of money to be managed and invested. More specifically, these include 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.
The majority of clients that begin an advisory relationship with DWS Investment Management Americas will need to adhere to some kind of minimum investment. These requirements typically vary depending on the specific service, product or investment strategy the client uses. Minimum annual fees may also be instituted.
Services Offered By DWS Investments
Whereas most financial advisor firms will usually build a portfolio of services that it feels it can offer clients, DWS Investment Management Americas 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.
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.
DWS Investments Investment Philosophy
As it currently stands, DWS Investment Management Americas employs 66 distinctly different investment strategies. Each is made up of specific types of investments, depending on the strategy’s main goal. These are split between a number of overarching groups:
- Liquidity management
- U.S. equity blend
- U.S. equity growth
- U.S. equity value
- International equity
- Global growth sectors
If a client prefers it, DWS 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 DWS Investments
DWS Investment Management Americas 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 DWS-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 investment strategies employed by DWS Investment Management Americas 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.
What to Watch Out For
Of the 43 disclosures listed on DWS Investment Management Americas' Form ADV, Deutsche Bank, the principal owner and an advisory affiliate of the firm, is responsible for 42 of them. The lone civil judicial disclosure attributed to DWS Investment Management Americas comes from a 2009 complaint filed by Invesco, in which it states DWS had a "breach of contract, misappropriation of confidential information, tortious interference and unfair competition" in relation to specific portfolio management software applications, according to its Form ADV. DWS shut down these applications following the case.
This firm is fee-based and occasionally charges performance-based fees. These create potential conflicts of interest, which is mitigated by the firm's fiduciary duty to put clients' best interests first.
Opening an Account With DWS Investments
DWS Investment Management Americas offers two ways to get in touch and open an account. You can either call the firm’s phone line at (212) 454-4500 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.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
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