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The world’s fifth-oldest financial institution – The Japan Times - 19.5.2023

Metzler Bank: Building on a Wealth of Time-Honored Ties with Japan

If “money makes the world go ‘round,” as the adage goes, then those who make the money go ‘round have a great responsibility on their shoulders. As the fifth-oldest financial institution globally and the oldest private bank in Germany with an unbroken tradition of family ownership since 1674, Metzler is well-acquainted with the weight of its role in the world of wealth. 

“We are an institution rooted in history; but we’re also a progressive, forward-thinking bank, always on the lookout for opportunities to stay ahead of the curve,” says Gerhard Wiesheu, a member of the executive board of B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co. AG, and president of the financial center initiative, Frankfurt Main Finance.

Moreover, the group continues to provide its long heritage of trusted expertise to its Japanese clients, with strong relations that officially date back to 2001, when Metzler Bank opened its Tokyo office. In reality however, ties between Metzler and Japan go back to 1893, when a member of the family, Moritz von Metzler, visited the country and participated in the cherry blossom festival of Emperor Meiji. To date, the relationship remains robust as ever - a bond that Wiesheu, who holds an advisory role in Germany and Japan relations, looks to as “renewed.”

Gerhard Wiesheu
The relationship with Japan is very important, economically, but also politically.
Gerhard Wiesheu
Member of the Executive Board of B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co. AG

The Metzler top executive was part of the delegation for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s inaugural visit to Japan in April 2022, having also accompanied former chancellor Angela Merkel on previous trips. This speaks not only to Wiesheu’s value as an advisor, but also to Metzler’s reputation as an iconic institution, that is indispensable to the industry. 

Wiesheu points out that the first governmental consultations between Japan and Germany supported by  Chancellor Scholz and Prime Minster Kishida in March 2023 were a strong signal of the renewed rapport between Japan and Germany. “The relationship with Japan is very important, economically, but also politically. It is now even more important, as Japan has long-been an ally of Germany, since 1861 with the signing of a treaty on friendship, trade and shipping. And it has always been a solid, reliable relationship, built on trust. The difference now is that there is a huge, new dynamic coming into this renewed relationship.”

“Our business with Japan remains solid, but not just for us. There is also a revitalized vigor in other sectors of business. If I look to the future, the next three-five years, I think the momentum of our relationship will go up even more tremendously, across many aspects.”

The article appeared in the Japan Times on May 19th, 2023.

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