Sensitivity to dealing with wealthy people

Wealth managers such as Stefanie Adick build a trusting relationship with their customers and are a firm point of contact for financial planning.

Icon of person
Maike Steinmüller


Portrait of Stefanie Adick
Stefanie Adick is a Senior Wealth Manager. She tells what matters in her job with wealthy customers.

"Have an honest interest in people and a lot of empathy. Then you are right in my job," says Stefanie Adick. And anyone who, like her, is a business economist, certified financial planner and analyst, internationally experienced and knowledgeable in dealing with people, fulfills all the criteria for the care of customers who make a special claim on their bank. The 40-year-old is responsible for around two hundred of them at the Düsseldorf location.

A bank's wealth manager is a regular, fixed point of contact for the client's financial planning. The so-called strategy dialog includes taking stock of the assets, optimizing them with regard to liquidity, handing them over to the next generation or even bringing the assets into a foundation.

Wealth managers accompany their customers through the ups and downs of life

Life and financial planning are closely linked. Stefanie loves her job of accompanying customers at all heights and depths of life, from business or family formation to sudden inflows of wealth and death. "Sometimes everything changes from one day to the next," she says thoughtfully, thinking back to the year 2005. At that time, she was a dual business studies student with corporate clients in New York. "My office was right next to Ground Zero. Four years after the attack, the events were still very present among colleagues."

At the latest during her second extended stay abroad - five years in International Wealth Management in Luxembourg - she felt that she had enough self-confidence to advise clients with complex asset structures. These included, for example, those in the Arab Emirates.

Prejudices at first meeting were part of the program for these customers. You wanted someone at eye level, at the same age, and best of all with just as much fortune. "I couldn't serve with that at mid-20," she says, laughing. "From their point of view, completely understandable. As a young woman, I had to prove myself twice. But I realized that I was quickly perceived as a competent interlocutor."

Asset planning also in consultation with colleagues

Stefanie has been at Commerzbank's Wealth Management site in Düsseldorf since 2014. In Germany, it belongs to the city and region with a large density of wealthy customers. In addition to wealth planning, she also takes care of the issues of securities investments, financing and pension planning. For more complex issues, it calls in specialists, such as investment managers or credit managers. The latter, for example, when it comes to establishing a financing structure for commercial real estate. Or it involves colleagues from the foundation management or the estate administration.

"But don't get it wrong," she says. "My customers include not only the grayly mottled, well-off man over sixty, but also more and more women and young people. So children or grandchildren of our customers who have already received assets transferred, for example from an entrepreneurial family." To introduce them to this new responsibility, she is also a sparring partner for that.

She observes that investing assets according to sustainable criteria in order to make a difference is becoming increasingly important for this generation in particular. "We consultants are now obliged to appeal to customers for sustainable investments. For me, this has been a matter of course for a long time." And what else distinguishes the "young rich". As digital natives, they naturally made quite different demands than their parents on the bank's digital processes and products.

"Some customers find it valuable to underestimate the importance of money. "

"But we simply don't have anything to do with the personal wire," she says. "My customers appreciate the fact that they know their family and professional background and do not have to start from scratch with every concern." In principle, many customers would find it quite valuable if you take the importance of money back and take time for a private exchange.

Not being able to evaluate and take back issues that you would see differently is also an important skill in your job. "I have customers who have millions on their account and are calling because they have been charged 80 cents of postage too much. Of course, I think so…. But factually it is true. Then I take a step backwards and tell them calmly: They are right. I'll clarify that."

It is the supposedly small things in human interaction that wealth managers must also master in order to continuously build a trusting relationship with the customer. "Everyone of us knows this with trust from other areas of life," says Stefanie. "We appreciate having a dentist or hairdresser of our trust. But beware: If the hairdresser is courteous, but the haircut is next to it, the dentist is understanding, but the treatment is wrong, then the relationship can be terminated very quickly." Transferring to the bench means for her: "I can be as good as a wealth manager, but in the end, the product and service offerings of our wealth management must be good. And because it's that, I like to be what my customers see me often. I'm very simple for them: 'The Commerzbank'."

Stefanie Adick

Senior Wealth Manager

Since 2014, she has been working in this function at the Wealth Management location in her home country of Düsseldorf. Stefanie started her studies at Commerzbank in 2002 with a dual degree in business administration. She then worked as a private banking consultant in the Hilden branch before moving to Luxembourg as a relationship manager for Commerzbank's international wealth management for five years. She has completed training as a Certified International Investment Analyst and Certified Financial Planner.

Advising wealthy clients

In Private Banking and Wealth Management, Commerzbank serves clients with a higher need for advice. Many of these customers are entrepreneurs. Commerzbank offers private and business support from a single source, for example for investments, real estate financing or corporate succession. The bank wants to grow significantly in its business with wealthy customers and entrepreneurs.