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Not the "spider in the web"

Meet Europe's biggest investor: Diethart Breipoh, Allianz

A corporate culture but no monastery

Do you see yourselves playing an active part in the restructuring of German banking over the next four or five years?

The papers are writing about all sorts of scenarios: sometimes they call us the "spider in the web". We have always clearly said that Allianz does not make industrial policy [marshalling powerful shareholdings in companies to bring about mergers and thus change the balance of power in a particular industry]. That's to say, when we are invested in a good industrial or financial corporation it is because we trust the management. We do not think ourselves smarter than this management and if this management comes to us with ideas we are ready to discuss them and to see whether we can offer our support.

In portfolio management we devise our own strategies but the starting point is always the situation in the industry. The industry has to decide. And if there are clever solutions which can improve shareholder value, then we will be very open. But we are not the spider who is all-organizing and thinking that in every field where he is invested, he is cleverer than the managers he trusts to achieve shareholder value.

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