ALV.DE - Allianz SE

XETRA - XETRA Delayed Price. Currency in EUR
-0.65 (-0.30%)
As of 3:01PM CET. Market open.
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Previous Close218.00
Bid217.30 x 214900
Ask217.40 x 10000
Day's Range216.70 - 218.35
52 Week Range170.46 - 225.90
Avg. Volume930,262
Market Cap91.669B
Beta (3Y Monthly)0.97
PE Ratio (TTM)12.57
EPS (TTM)17.30
Earnings DateNov 8, 2019
Forward Dividend & Yield9.00 (4.13%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-05-09
1y Target Est213.69
  • Allianz Expects Germany to Avoid Recession in Third Quarter

    Allianz Expects Germany to Avoid Recession in Third Quarter

    Nov.11 -- Ludovic Subran, chief economist at Allianz, discusses expectations for the German economy ahead of this week’s GDP report. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Anna Edwards on "Bloomberg Markets: European Open."

  • Thomson Reuters StreetEvents

    Edited Transcript of ALV.DE earnings conference call or presentation 8-Nov-19 7:30am GMT

    Q3 2019 Allianz SE Earnings Press Conference

  • Financial Times

    Germany narrowly avoids recession as growth ticks up

    The German economy has defied expectations of a recession by growing 0.1 per cent in the third quarter as higher spending by households and the government offset a downturn in its export-focused manufacturing sector. It also revised down Germany’s second-quarter economic performance from minus 0.1 to minus 0.2 per cent, while revising up first-quarter growth figures from 0.4 to 0.5 per cent.

  • Reuters

    MOVES-AllianzGI promotes distribution head Tobias Pross to CEO

    Allianz Global Investors said on Monday Tobias Pross, global head of distribution, would succeed Andreas Utermann as its chief executive officer from Jan. 1. The asset management company said Deborah Zurkow, global head of alternatives, would replace Utermann as global head of investments.

  • Financial Times

    AllianzGI chief to depart in management reshuffle

    Allianz Global Investors, the €557bn asset manager, has announced the departure of its chief executive after almost four years in sole charge of the company. Andreas Utermann will step down from the role at the end of this year and be replaced by Tobias Pross, currently global head of distribution at AllianzGI and a member of the company’s global executive committee. The 53-year-old said he was stepping down to spend more time with his “still relatively young family”, citing the pressures of leading a global asset manager while raising three children.

  • Germany Teeters on Recession, But It’s Not All Bad News

    Germany Teeters on Recession, But It’s Not All Bad News

    (Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.Germany’s recent glimmer of hope after a year of industrial doldrums risks coming too late to prevent wider weakness from taking hold.While an uptick in business expectations and a jump in factory orders have raised the prospect of stabilization, the evidence that manufacturing malaise has begun to affect the domestic economy is mounting. Growth data this week might show Germany either in a recession or just skirting one, underlining that view.“Spillovers are affecting domestic demand,” said Davide Oneglia, an economist at TS Lombard in London. “Once the train is set in motion, it’s difficult to stop.”German policy makers have tended to downplay the slowdown that engulfed the Europe’s largest economy in the summer of 2018 as a temporary problem that would be overcome once peace returned to global trade relations and carmakers put their emissions scandal behind. That rose-tinted view has been repeatedly shaken, most recently by forecasts last week showing growth likely to stay muted for the next two years.The economy probably dipped into a technical recession in the third quarter, shrinking 0.1%, according to just over half of the 39 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The rest predict no growth, aside from just three anticipating narrow expansion of 0.1%. Those data will be released on Thursday.Such downbeat news would contrast with small and belated signs of improvement in manufacturing, where the economy’s troubles originated.Orders posted a rare solid gain in September, exports as well as export prospects improved, and the outlook for carmakers turned positive in October after nine months of decline. Investor confidence also increased, with an expectations gauge at the highest in six months.“It looks like Germany is stagnating in Q3,” Ludovic Subran, chief economist at Allianz, told Bloomberg Television. “Most of the indicators that are related to the manufacturing sector are actually stabilizing, but they’re stabilizing at a very low level.”A recovery at factories might turn out to be too little too late. The labor market is seeing signs of weakening, damping consumer confidence that -- once shattered -- may take time to recover.Households’ assessment of the economic future is already at a seven-year low, the financial outlook is deteriorating rapidly and fears of unemployment are rising along with an actual increase in joblessness.“Given the importance of consumption as a growth driver, fueled by employment, you might see a trend of more permanently slower growth projecting itself into the future,” said TS Lombard’s Oneglia. “We may have seen a marginal improvement in manufacturing but the outlook is still uncertain, and being optimistic is just wrong.”What Bloomberg’s Economists Say“Our base case is that the economy treads water in the fourth quarter and grows extremely slowly in the first quarter of 2020, before gathering some momentum later in the year.”\--Jamie Rush. Read the GERMANY REACTVolkswagen has scrapped a forecast for a slight increase in vehicle deliveries this year amid economic jitters in Europe, and the carmaker’s finance chief warned the next two years will be tough. Rheinmetall, Kloeckner and Wacker Chemie are among those who have lowered outlooks. While online fashion retailer Zalando reported a surprise third-quarter profit, its cautious take on the current period sparked expectations that momentum may deteriorate.The European Commission’s latest report card for Germany is bleak: Foreign demand is likely to be weaker than previously expected, domestic demand is set to be damped by subdued investment, and the labor market will provide a smaller boost to consumption than in previous years.That assessment translates into projections of just 0.4% growth this year and 1% in each of 2020 and 2021 -- with Italy the only euro-area country forecast to do worse.Germany’s troubles have sparked calls from the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to step up fiscal spending -- particularly in light of last year’s record budget surplus. The government has pushed back at that, a position supported last week by its economic advisers.“Adding fiscal stimulus to an already expansionary fiscal and monetary policy, for example with the help of an economic-support program, is currently not warranted,” the council of experts said in its annual assessment. “For now, there’s no reason to expect a broader and deeper recession.”Whether or not that turns out to be the case, for Christian Keller, head of economic research at Barclays, the country’s struggle to revive growth isn’t going away soon.“Germany has come to a point where it clearly needs to rethink its economic model,” he said on Bloomberg Television. “It has been a great exporter to the world, emerging markets, Rising China. It has been a great beneficiary of expanded car sales, and I think now it’s at a point where manufacturing, cars -- all these things are in question.”(Updates with Allianz economist in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Francine Lacqua, Tom Keene, Harumi Ichikura and Anna Edwards.To contact the reporter on this story: Jana Randow in Frankfurt at jrandow@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at, Craig Stirling, Zoe SchneeweissFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Fund Colossus Amundi Leaves Rivals in Its Dust

    Fund Colossus Amundi Leaves Rivals in Its Dust

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- European fund management companies spent 2018 watching their share prices steadily decline, battered by increased regulatory scrutiny, customers withdrawing money and the relentless squeezing of fees. They’ve rallied this year, but the industry’s biggest beast in the region is outpacing its peers by an astonishing margin.Investors in Amundi SA have enjoyed a total return of more than 60% in 2019, outpacing the Stoxx Europe 600 index by 35 percentage points. The stock has beaten the 32% gains at DWS Group GmbH and Standard Life Aberdeen Plc, the 39% return for Schroders Plc and Man Group Plc’s 19% rise.Amundi, 68 percent-owned by France’s Credit Agricole SA, recently announced record quarterly inflows of almost 43 billion euros ($48 billion) in the three months through September, breaking a streak of three consecutive quarters of client withdrawals. Its 1.6 trillion euros of assets under management — up from 952 billion euros when it listed on the stock market in November 2015 — make it Europe’s biggest money manager.The most impressive statistic, however, is the one element of Amundi’s financials over which it has most control: its costs.The company’s frugality has nudged its cost-to-income ratio lower in recent years; it fell to an industry-beating 51.1% at the end of the third quarter. By comparison, Deutsche Bank AG-controlled DWS aims to cut its ratio to 65% and doesn’t expect to achieve that until the end of 2021.What could knock Amundi off its perch? Well, DWS Chief Executive Officer Asoka Woehrmann told the Financial Times this month that he plans to challenge his rival’s dominance by finding a takeover or merger that would increase his firm’s 752 billion euros of assets. Earlier this year Switzerland’s UBS Group AG was reported to be considering strapping its fund management arm to DWS. Insurer Allianz SE was also said to be interested in the German investment firm. Any such deal would create a challenger with the scale to match Amundi.But the French fund giant’s CEO Yves Perrier is unlikely to just stand by if industry consolidation begins. Now that he’s finished absorbing Pioneer Investments, a fund management unit bought from Italy’s UniCredit SpA for 3.5 billion euros in 2017, the decks are clear. While these mega-mergers might not happen, Amundi is well placed if they do. With its shares trading at their highest in more than 18 months, Perrier has the currency to fund a deal.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gilbert at magilbert@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    Germany’s Allianz to fork out €800m for stake in Chinese insurer

    Europe’s largest insurer Allianz has agreed to pay €800m to US investment bank Goldman Sachs for a 4 per stake in Chinese insurer Taikang Life Insurance in a deal that the buyer describes as “mainly a financial investment”. The transaction was disclosed this week by Taikang in a filing that lacked financial details. After the transaction, Goldman Sachs will still hold an 8.6 per cent stake in the Chinese group.

  • Allianz sees 2019 profit in upper half of target range after solid third quarter

    Allianz sees 2019 profit in upper half of target range after solid third quarter

    German insurer Allianz on Friday posted a better-than-expected 0.6% rise in third-quarter net profit, helped by investment result and a lower tax rate, and said 2019 operating profit would be in the upper half of its targeted range. Net profit attributable to shareholders of 1.95 billion euros ($2.16 billion) compares with a forecast of 1.84 billion euro by analysts in a Refinitiv poll and is up from 1.94 billion euros a year earlier. "We are ready to reach the upper half of our operating profit outlook despite a significant increase in external challenges," Chief Executive Officer Oliver Baete said.

  • Allianz to Pay $1 Billion for Goldman’s Taikang Life Stake

    Allianz to Pay $1 Billion for Goldman’s Taikang Life Stake

    (Bloomberg) -- German insurer Allianz SE has paid about $1 billion for part of Goldman Sachs Inc.’s stake in closely-held Chinese insurer Taikang Life Insurance Co., according to people with knowledge of the matter.Goldman sold a stake of about 4% in Beijing-based Taikang Life to Allianz, according to a statement by the Chinese insurer on Wednesday. The statement didn’t provide any financial details. The U.S. investment bank will retain about 8.6% in Taikang Life after the transaction.The sale had attracted interest from other potential suitors including private equity firms and some Asian investors, the people said, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.A representative for Goldman Sachs declined to comment, while a representative for Allianz didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Europe’s largest insurer is seeking to tap the growing demand for insurance products in China. Allianz’s investment in Taikang Life follows other recent acquisitions, including the general-insurance assets of Brazil’s SulAmerica in August and two insurance businesses in the U.K. for a combined $1 billion in May. Shares of Allianz rose 1% on Wednesday.Founded in 1996, Taikang Life Insurance is among China’s largest insurance and financial services companies with 800,000 employees and agents, according to its website. Its main business areas are insurance, asset management, and health and elderly care. Goldman bought the stake in Taikang from French insurer AXA SA in 2011.(Updates to add Allianz’s share performance in fifth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Manuel Baigorri in Hong Kong at mbaigorri@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at, Philip GlamannFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Germany Seeks to Break Bank Union Deadlock With Concessions

    Germany Seeks to Break Bank Union Deadlock With Concessions

    (Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz sought to end an impasse in discussions over European banking integration by signaling Berlin may drop its opposition to a key part of the plan.“We cannot afford this deadlock any longer,” Scholz said in prepared remarks he was due to give at Bloomberg LP’s Future of Finance conference in Frankfurt. “It affects the functioning of our internal market. And it affects the trust of EU citizens in our ability to solve problems -- even those problems that we have fully acknowledged.”Berlin is ready to consider a form of joint European deposit insurance, something that would stabilize the financial system by reducing the risk of bank runs, according to a finance ministry paper published on Wednesday. That part of the plan has stalled, facing strong resistance from fiscally conservative countries and some parts of the German banking sector.The goal of a more closely-knit banking system in the euro area is to reduce the interdependence between lenders and their home countries. Breaking down national barriers could also facilitate deals to bolster Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, the floundering giants of German banking. And while Scholz said aiding mergers wasn’t the main consideration behind the banking union, they could be a side effect of the proposal.The proposal may increase the tensions in Germany’s coalition which has been destabilized by the slump in support for the Social Democrats. Chancellor Angela Merkel is also facing dissent from conservatives within her Christian Democratic Union and that faction is likely to be riled up further by any suggestion the government might give ground over the banking union.The CDU’s initial reaction to the proposal was cautious.“The proposal gets the debate moving again,” Olav Gutting, a CDU lawmaker on the Bundestag finance committee, said in an interview. “We can’t allow ourselves to fall into a permanent blockade. But we’re standing by our line: Risks must first be reduced and controlled on a sustainable basis -- and then you can have a European deposit insurance.”Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said during a regular press briefing in Berlin that Scholz’s proposal “made a contribution to a discussion,” but that it hadn’t yet been discussed within the government.Key steps in the banking union, which was launched in 2012, have already been taken: The European Central Bank was tasked with supervising the biggest lenders, and a new framework was created to deal with failing institutions. Discussions over finalizing the rest have been going on for several years, repeatedly held back by familiar divisions.Fair, Balanced Compromise“We welcome any opening and debate that could contribute to bringing the European deposit insurance scheme into life,” Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU commissioner in charge of financial-services policy, said in an emailed statement, adding that the provision is a key element to completing the banking union. “It is clear that all sides need to compromise, and only a fair and balanced compromise can be successful.”A joint deposit insurance agreement has been the most difficult hurdle as wealthier countries balked at the idea of paying for failures in other states. The German finance ministry proposed a plan where national systems would still serve as the first line of defense in a crisis before countries could turn to a common pot for liquidity.The offer comes with important caveats, however. Germany repeated a demand from predominantly northern European countries that banks might have to set aside capital when they purchase sovereign debt, just as they do with other assets. Currently, sovereign bonds on banks’ balance sheets are considered risk-free by regulators so no such backup is needed.Under Scholz’s plan, government debt would be subject to a combination of a free allowance, risk weights based on credit quality and a “concentration factor” to reflect exposures to a specific country. Any such step would be carefully calibrated and phased in over time to avoid overburdening banks, he said.This idea of stricter rules for sovereign debt has proved highly contentious in the past. Opposition has come from countries with high stocks of public debt such as Italy, where domestic government bonds make up a relatively large share of banks’ total assets.While Scholz’s move on deposit insurance was welcome, an Italian official who asked not to be named said the conditions attached to it were still unacceptable. Germany also urges progress on other important open issues:An insolvency framework for banks: While a special process for big failing institutions has been introduced, lenders that are liquidated under national laws can still be subject to wildly different treatment. In Italy, this has included the use of billions of euros in taxpayer money, something the banking union was meant to clamp down on. Now Germany seeks a “single European set of laws on bank insolvency.”More flexibility for EU banks: Internationally active lenders often complain that they need to fulfill capital and liquidity requirements separately in each country they operate in. They would rather deploy their resources more flexibly across their groups. Smaller countries, whose markets are often dominated by units of foreign banks, have been reluctant to give up control over the local operations. Germany seeks an “appropriate balance” between these positions. Further reduction of nonperforming loans: Soured assets should be reduced to 5% of banks’ balance sheets in all member states, or 2.5% net of provisions. That’s well below the current figures in countries including Greece and Cyprus and a repeated demand from some countries.Scholz also says Europe needs to strengthen its defense against money laundering in the financial system, without going into much detail.Political talks among euro-area governments on the issue are due to take place over the coming weeks. A senior EU official speaking to reporters in Brussels on Tuesday signaled optimism that an agreement may be reached by December on holding further talks aimed at agreeing a phase-in of a deposit guarantee scheme. Countries which were opposing such a plan have watered down their red lines, the official said.If meaningful progress is reached on these issues, it could help address a lack of consolidation among banks in Europe, which has made them less competitive internationally. Bank executives have said that without the proper framework, cross border mergers that could improve efficiency and help slash costs are not in the cards.Security of SavingsThe central lobby organizations for Germany’s savings and cooperative banks, which represent the bulk of the country’s retail lenders, issued a carefully worded statement indicating they’re not completely opposed to Scholz’s plan.“It is understandable to discuss measures to improve the framework conditions of a developing EU capital market,” the DSGV and BVR lobby groups said in a joint statement. “The security of savings is not up for negotiation.”The two organizations are influential voices in Berlin and have traditionally been one of the biggest opponents to any concessions from Germany on the European deposit insurance.(Updates with Italian comment in the 15th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Patrick Donahue, Steven Arons and Nicholas Comfort.To contact the reporters on this story: Alexander Weber in Brussels at;Birgit Jennen in Berlin at bjennen1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at, Richard Bravo, Chris ReiterFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • China Wealth Fund to Review Stake in German Rest Stop Chain

    China Wealth Fund to Review Stake in German Rest Stop Chain

    (Bloomberg) -- Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. is considering options for its minority stake in German highway rest-stop chain Autobahn Tank & Rast, according to people familiar with the matter.CIC has been speaking with potential advisers as it reviews options including a sale of part or all of its 15% stake, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Potential bidders could include existing shareholders such as Allianz Capital Partners GmbH as well as new investors, the people said.A deal could value Tank & Rast at about 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) to 6 billion euros, the people said. No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said.A representative for CIC didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, while representatives for Allianz and Tank & Rast declined to comment.Tank & Rast counts about 360 filling stations and 400 service stations along the motorway network in Germany, according to its website. Some 500 million travelers stop by its service areas each year, it said.Allianz Capital and Munich Re were among investors that acquired Tank & Rast from buyout firm Terra Firma Capital Partners and the money management unit of Deutsche Bank AG back in 2015. The buyer consortium also included Infinity Investments SA, a unit of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc. CIC bought a minority stake in the company later that year.\--With assistance from Ville Heiskanen and Zhang Dingmin.To contact the reporters on this story: Manuel Baigorri in Hong Kong at;Vinicy Chan in New York at vchan91@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at, Ben ScentFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • U.S. Stocks Hit Record on Trade Hopes; Bonds Drop: Markets Wrap

    U.S. Stocks Hit Record on Trade Hopes; Bonds Drop: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks climbed to a record as rising optimism for a trade deal with China combined with solid earnings and bets the Federal Reserve will cut rates. Treasuries slumped at the start of a a week packed with more results and central bank decisions.The S&P 500 took out its July record after President Donald Trump said the U.S. is ahead of schedule to sign part of the trade deal. Microsoft jumped to an all-time high after winning a Pentagon contract, while AT&T climbed following a board shuffle. Tiffany surged after LVMH said it held discussions with the jeweler. PG&E plunged on liability risk from California wildfires. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose even as banks slipped after HSBC’s disappointing earnings. The 10-year Treasury yield hit a six-week high.The week greeted investors with several doses of positive news, as the signs of progress joined with expectations for further monetary stimulus from the Fed after its Wednesday meeting. Corporate earnings continue to roll in with results topping estimates at a solid clip. Alphabet is set to release results after the close Monday.“Equities are striding to new all-time highs as optimism is hitting investors from all directions,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management.In the U.K., the pound steadied versus the euro after the European Union agreed to a Brexit deadline extension, easing the risk of leaving the bloc without a deal on Oct. 31. European bonds edged lower, while gilts were steady. An Asia-Pacific equities benchmark rose for the fifth gain in six sessions. Shares increased in Shanghai, with blockchain-related stocks climbing after Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed the technology.Elsewhere, Argentine bonds fell after opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez secured victory in Sunday’s presidential election, with business-friendly incumbent Mauricio Macri conceding. WTI crude oil slipped after the biggest weekly advance in more than a month. Bitcoin jumped as much as 16% from Friday, before paring its gain by about one-half.Here are some key events coming up this week:Earnings include: Alphabet, Facebook, Pfizer, Airbus, Apple, Exxon Mobil, BP, PetroChina, Credit Suisse, Nomura and Macquarie Group.The Fed is expected to lower the main interest rate when policy makers decide on Wednesday. Futures have priced in about 23 basis points of reduction.U.S. economic growth is forecast to have slowed to 1.6% in the third quarter. GDP data are due Wednesday.The Bank of Japan sets policy on Thursday and Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a news conference.Friday brings the monthly U.S. non-farm payrolls report.These are some of the main moves in markets:StocksThe S&P 500 Index advanced 0.6% as of 4 p.m. New York time.The Nasdaq 100 jumped 1% to a record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5%.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3%.The MSCI All-Country World Index gained 0.3%.The MSCI Emerging Market Index jumped 0.7%.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index decreased 0.1%.The euro climbed 0.2% to $1.1101.The British pound rose 0.3 % to $1.2864.The Japanese yen slipped 0.3% to 108.98 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced five basis points to 1.84%.The yield on two-year Treasuries advanced three basis points to 1.64%.Britain’s 10-year yield climbed four basis points to 0.722%.Japan’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to -0.122%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.5% to $55.80 a barrel.Gold futures decreased 0.7% to $1,494.80 an ounce.Palladium rose above $1,800 an ounce for the first time.\--With assistance from Adam Haigh and Robert Brand.To contact the reporter on this story: Claire Ballentine in New York at cballentine@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at, Todd WhiteFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    French insurer AXA to sell its Belgian bank for $689 mln

    French insurer AXA will sell its Belgian banking business - AXA Belgium - to cooperative bank Crelan for 620 million euros ($688.51 million), the company said on Friday. Under Chief Executive Thomas Buberl, AXA is undergoing a deep restructuring aimed at making the French group more international and stronger on health and property and damage insurance. Crelan, which will become Belgium's fifth-largest lender after the deal, will pay 540 million euros in cash to AXA for its Belgian banking unit.

  • At €213, Is Allianz SE (ETR:ALV) Worth Looking At Closely?
    Simply Wall St.

    At €213, Is Allianz SE (ETR:ALV) Worth Looking At Closely?

    Today we're going to take a look at the well-established Allianz SE (ETR:ALV). The company's stock received a lot of...

  • Mario Draghi Leaves a Toxic ECB Legacy for Bankers

    Mario Draghi Leaves a Toxic ECB Legacy for Bankers

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Mario Draghi, the departing head of the European Central Bank, has been buffing up his “savior of the euro” image in a swansong series of interviews. But not everyone is standing up to applaud.Echoing many of his less-than-impressed fellow Germans, the chief executive officer of insurer Allianz SE laid into both the ECB and Draghi last week. “The politicians and the regulators have told us they fixed the banking system and insurance system in terms of this negative spiral of financial sector risk morphing into sovereign risk and [looping] back,” Oliver Baete said. “It is the biggest non-truth that exists.”Coming from the boss of Germany’s pre-eminent commercial financial institution, that’s a stinging judgment. What seems to have riled him most is any implication that there is no reason to worry about national commercial lenders holding too much of their country’s sovereign debt, and the resulting potential for market contagion if a bank (or a sovereign) gets into trouble. In fairness to the ECB president, his constant deluge of monetary stimulus has worked well for most at-risk euro area countries, who have used the opportunity to painstakingly work themselves out of financial stress.But Baete is looking squarely at the exception: Italy, the euro zone’s third-biggest economy. Rome is still saddled with the bloc’s biggest national debt and its debt-to-GDP ratio is above 130%. What galls the Allianz boss is that a policy that’s essentially there to solve Italy’s problems (negative rates) makes it extremely difficult for his company to squeeze out a profit. And as the chart below shows, there’s no evidence of the link between Italy’s banks and its sovereign debt being broken. This so-called “doom loop” between sovereign debt and banks was a big fault-line during the the euro crisis earlier this decade. Fears grew about certain countries being too reliant on domestic banks buying their bonds — an umbilical cord that meant the state was propped up by its lenders and vice versa. It was a highly stressful time where some sovereign bond yields soared to double-digits.It has taken 2.7 trillion euros ($3 trillion) of quantitative easing — increasing by 20 billion euros a month from November — along with other stimulus programs to force yields down to where they are today. Ireland, Spain and Portugal have even managed to achieve mainstream bond market status, with negative yields on debt out to nearly 10 years in maturity. Countries such as Spain have taken the opportunity to lower their debt in relative terms, as the chart below shows. Italy, not so much.Exacerbating those lingering doom-loop concerns are other worries about whether the ECB is providing rigorous enough oversight of the bloc’s banks, another key part of Draghi's remit since 2014. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Elisa Martinuzzi has written about the central bank’s troubling support for the bailout of Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA.Without Draghi, and his "whatever it takes" promise to support the euro in July 2012, the single currency project may have collapsed. But the too-big-to-fail problem still exists in European banking. This is one area where Draghi doesn’t deserve full marks.To contact the author of this story: Marcus Ashworth at mashworth4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Marcus Ashworth is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering European markets. He spent three decades in the banking industry, most recently as chief markets strategist at Haitong Securities in London.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.