Demanding training

Lars Fricke is an Executive Wealth Manager at Commerzbank. He has all four certificates of the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) Germany.

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Sabine Ostrowicki

Commerzbank

Lars Fricke is based at his workplace at Wealth Management Berlin-Süd.
Lars Fricke now advises high-net-worth clients with his qualification as Executive Wealth Manager. Copyright: Florian Sommer
Lars Fricke had completed four years of training on a part-time basis and can prove all the certificates that are possible in financial planning. This enables him to advise across generations. In order to provide the best possible qualification, there is also the Wealth Management Campus.

After four and a half years, Lars Fricke had made it: His mailbox contained the last documents confirming that he had passed all four certificates of the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) Germany. He is thus one of four colleagues within Commerzbank nationwide who have achieved this.

"The topics in which I have been trained allow me to analyze even very complex asset structures and to provide holistic customer care," explains the 47-year-old, who now advises clients with assets of five million euros or more as an Executive Wealth Manager in Berlin. Since 2019, he has completed two extensive courses of study at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management on a part-time basis, which he completed as a Financial and Estate Planner.

Comprehensive assessments for the Wealth Manager

In the first course of study, the focus was on the basics of holistic asset planning, and in the second, on the intergenerational investment and structuring of assets. However, in order to be certified, Lars also had to undergo the tests of the FPSB. With its certifications, the Board ensures the quality of advice according to internationally uniformly defined rules.

"70 percent is required to pass," reports the Wealth Manager. In contrast to continuous studies, all topics are queried for the respective examination date. These include the areas of equity, portfolio management, financial mathematics, economics, law and ethics. Upon passing the first exam, Lars obtained the European Financial Advisor (EFA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificates, the Certified Foundation and Estate Planner (CFEP) and the Certified Generations Advisor (CGA) certificates. "The training and certification now allow me to plan a wealth comprehensively and also to address how such assets are transferred to the next generation and what risks are involved, taking into account legal and tax laws," the consultant explains. This is particularly important with regard to the predominantly entrepreneurial customers of the segment.

Early morning learning on vacation

He proved that Lars Fricke is prepared to go long and rocky paths for this by completing the learning and examination marathon. "The first test of the FPSB will always take place on 1. Saturday in August. In my case, that was exactly the Saturday at the end of my three-week summer vacation." This led to him getting up every day on vacation at 4.30 and learning until 8 and then going to the mountains with his family. "And when we came back, I sat down again," says Lars. "But the whole thing really only works with the support of the family." What motivated him to do so? "I just like to learn and always look for a new challenge," says the Wealth Manager. "And I enjoy it extremely much, because it represents an added value for me as well as for the bank." The trained banker has therefore trained from the very beginning, first as a financial advisor, then in securities consulting and now finally in wealth management.

Continuing education is of great importance in wealth management

"This is a remarkable achievement, and I have great respect for it," says Christian Hassel, Head of Private Banking & Wealth Management North/East. He is very concerned about continuing education in the segment as a whole. For this reason, an exclusive Wealth Management Campus was set up in September 2023 in cooperation with HR Learning and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. On a twelve-month study trip, wealth management employees have the opportunity to learn about topics such as management consulting, finance of the future, portfolio, credit and real estate management, asset transfer, Practice-oriented training in law and taxation as well as sustainability to become a Certified Wealth Manager (Commerzbank). "This is an innovative program that makes us fit for the future in advising our customers," says Christian.

Qualification pays off for customers

Lars also confirms that a qualification for advising customers pays off. "My perspective has expanded. You look at customers in a much more detailed, sensitive and comprehensive way and also see more pitfalls, for example in tax matters," he says. "I would therefore recommend it to everyone, especially since you can not only acquire know-how, but also build a valuable network."

Portrait of Lars Fricke

Lars Fricke

Executive Wealth Manager

After completing his training at the then Dresdner Bank in Berlin, Lars Fricke worked as an investment consultant and later as a branch manager. In 2010 he moved to private banking and in 2016 to wealth management. The banking specialist has continued to qualify and is now responsible as an Executive Wealth Manager for advising high-net-worth clients.

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