Super-rich families lose billions in crisis

Super-rich families lose billions in crisis
Photo: DPA
Germany's 20 wealthiest families have lost about €40 billion in the economic crisis in share values alone, the financial magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported in its latest edition.

The richest families have lost “an average of 30 percent” of their fortunes since the summer of 2007, leading asset manager Joachim Paul Schäfer told the magazine. “It is clear now that the present crisis has inflicted much deeper wounds on big family fortunes than the last four or five recessions combined,” he said.

“Fortunes which have grown over the generations are as threatened as much as they were in the hyperinflation of the 1920s or during the depression.”

The value of the shares held by the Quandt industrial dynasty, which owns half the capital of carmaker BMW, has halved in a year, according to WirtschaftsWoche. The magazine Manager-Magazin claimed in October that 122 German individuals or families were worth at least a €1 billion.

Norbert Clément, manager of a billionaire family office in Hofheim, told WirtschaftsWoche, “This year, and probably next year, many wealthy family firms will not make any dividends.”

According to Clément, this is expected to cause real distress to individual members of the families.