It was clear that Stefan Hoops would not have an easy job when he took over as CEO of DWS from Asoka Wöhrmann last summer after various turbulences.

But the business figures that he presented on Thursday for 2022 and the various personnel changes that the fund company has been reporting for several months show that the tasks are greater than initially assumed - especially since the business environment is anything but rosy.

Tim Kanning

Editor in Business.

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"It would be an understatement to call the year 2022 challenging," said Hoops, who had moved from parent company Deutsche Bank to head the fund company.

"2022 was the ultimate super bear scenario for DWS: all asset classes under pressure, a war in Europe and concerns about the German economy," listed Hoops.

"In addition, there were DWS-specific challenges."

Several familiar faces lost

In doing so, he is likely to be primarily aiming at the greenwashing allegations that the short-term head of sustainability, Desiree Fixler, publicly raised against DWS a year and a half ago.

The accusation that many funds are far from being as sustainable as they are advertised led to investigations by the American stock exchange supervisory authority SEC and several other authorities, including a large-scale raid on the Frankfurt company headquarters, of the largest German fund company.

And they were one of the reasons why the former hopeful Wöhrmann had to vacate the top post.

In the meantime, other well-known faces have left DWS, so that one can slowly speak of a personnel overhaul.

As reported, the long-standing star fund manager Tim Albrecht, who had managed the flagship fund with German shares for over 20 years, said goodbye this week.

The chief investment strategist Stefan Kreuzkamp left the fund company at the turn of the year.

weak picture

It is quite possible that the chairman of the supervisory board, Deutsche Bank Vice Karl von Rohr, will have to vacate his post because of the handling of the greenwashing cause.

Contrary to the usual procedure, six months before his current contract expires, there are still no signs that he will be extended.

Instead, speculation is circulating that Alexander Wynaendts, who is also new to the Deutsche Bank supervisory board, would like a new chief controller for the subsidiary.

The figures that Hoops presented on Thursday underscore the weak picture that DWS is currently giving.

Customers withdrew a total of 20 billion euros.

The consolidated result of the fund company listed in the S-Dax collapsed by 23 percent to 599 million euros.

Hoops blamed, among other things, unscheduled legal costs that may have to do with the investigation into greenwashing.

Assets under management fell by EUR 106 billion year-on-year to EUR 821 billion, which, according to DWS, was largely due to the weak market development.

But even independently of the usual market development, DWS had to give up feathers in the ETF market, for example, as the analysis company Morningstar recently showed.

Actually, Hoops would like to play a bigger role in this growth market with its own brand Xtrackers.

But according to the Morningstar figures, the asset manager Blackrock with its iShares brand remained the undisputed market leader with 44.4 percent last year.

lost market share

According to Morninstar director Jose Garcia-Zarate, part of the reason for this increase was that Xtrackers recorded nearly €4 billion in outflows in 2022.

"Market conditions aside, Xtrackers could have avoided the flood of negative headlines surrounding parent company DWS with greenwashing allegations that eventually led to the resignation of their CEO," Garcia-Zarate said.

At the same time, Amundi completed the acquisition of Lyxor in January 2022 and now has €170.6 billion in assets under management, well ahead of Xtrackers at €132 billion.

Nevertheless, Hoops wants to stick to his goals and make DWS more attractive for shareholders.

For 2022, he announced a dividend of EUR 2.05 per share after EUR 2 in the previous year.

Nevertheless, investors reacted disappointed to the news from DWS.

The price lost a good 6 percent at its peak and only recovered slightly in the afternoon.