Savings Culture

Bull, Bears and Squirrels

German savers prefer the squirrel to Frankfurt's bull and bear. Picture source: Reuters

Germans distrust the stock market. Even after years of low interest rates, most German savers prefer to put their money in the local savings bank instead of taking a chance on stocks.

It can’t help that the head of Germany’s main stock exchange is under investigation for insider trading and state regulators might remove him from office because he is “unreliable.” This does not inspire trust, and a tax incentive for stock market investments, as proposed by one of the country’s political parties, is not likely to help.

Under these circumstances, many executives would avoid the spotlight and keep a low public profile. But not Carsten Kengeter, chief executive of Deutsche Börse, which operates the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Instead, to the surprise of many in the audience, Mr. Kengeter took his turn at the podium at the annual Handelsblatt banking summit in Frankfurt, pleading his innocence not just in so many words but by the very act of showing up.

Could it be a swansong? According to those in financial circles, Mr. Kengeter’s future at Deutsche Börse could be decided in the next few days.

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