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Berenberg’s global ambitions

Berenberg wants to transform itself from a German firm to a European one with a UK mindset, before eventually taking on Wall Street. Partners Hans-Walter Peters and Hendrik Riehmer are convinced the old merchant banking model can be modernized, but can they avoid the pitfalls of rapid expansion?


Illustration: Kevin February



Ten years ago, other than being the oldest, Berenberg had little to distinguish itself from the parade of slightly fusty small private banks and mid-cap equities houses in Germany.

But Berenberg has gradually used the post-crisis years to build what it says is Europe’s biggest equities sales team and one of the continent’s largest research operations, largely thanks to the energy of one of its two personally liable partners, Hendrik Riehmer. Now, after investing aggressively in the UK, Riehmer’s ambitions go even further, above all to the US. 

“We want to be one of the top 10 investment banks in Europe, and eventually globally, in equities,” Riehmer tells Euromoney. “We are still ramping up. I don’t think that is happening anywhere else.”

Already, no other independent investment bank ranks so highly in European equity capital markets, according to Dealogic. Over the last year, Berenberg has come from nowhere to achieve a top-five position in London’s IPO market, higher even than bulge-bracket firms such as Barclays and JPMorgan.

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