Personally liable partners (from the left): Dr. Hans-Walter Peters und Hendrik Riehmer

Berenberg Bank

In this portrait series, we showcase the stories and business models of Hamburg companies and institutions in the financial industry. This time, we take a look at Berenberg Bank

The oldest bank in Germany, the second oldest bank in the world and a private bank with personally liable partners:  the Berenberg Bank in Hamburg has some impressive attributes. Its story began in 1590, when brothers Hans and Paul Berenberg came to Hamburg from Antwerp to establish an international cloth trade. In the 17th century, the trading house Berenberg expanded its business activities to include ship insurance and banking, among other things, as a functioning banking system did not yet exist. The financing of their own and other trades soon became more and more widespread.

Commercial premises of Berenberg Bank

When a long-term employee and Berenberg’s son-in-law, Johann Hinrich Gossler, joined the company in 1769, it traded under the name of Joh. Berenberg & Gossler and shifted its focus to the banking business. Through its involvement in the founding of numerous joint-stock companies, the bank provided a varied boost for Hamburg as a location, but also for international business: The bank was involved in the founding of a number of companies including Hapag and Norddeutscher Lloyd, which later merged, Vereinsbank Hamburg, as well as the current Danske Bank, Svenska Handelsbanken and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). In addition to corporate banking, the service portfolio now includes wealth and asset management as well as investment banking. With around 1,600 employees, the bank is active in 15 locations both in Germany and abroad. Hamburg has kept the foothold as the capital of private banks. Hans-Walter Peters, a personally liable partner, describes the lasting value and the key success factor as being “the way our company has treated our customers with respect for almost 430 years - that is our guiding principle and we will continue that in the future.” Hanseatic values are timeless.

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