Saarland offers industrial and service companies excellent conditions. This is not only appreciated by Saarland companies, but also by companies from other parts of Germany and all over the world. In 2021, for example, the German-French financial group ODDO BHF has decided to open a location in Saarland`s capital Saarbrücken. We spoke to the General Partner and Chairman of the Board of ODDO BHF Group, Philippe Oddo, about the reasons for the expansion.
Dear Mr. Oddo, you are already the fifth generation to head ODDO BHF. Would you please briefly introduce us to your group and your special features?
ODDO BHF Group is a family-owned company with a long history dating back to 1854 in Marseille. We are very successful in Private Wealth Management, Asset Management and Corporates & Markets. With 2,500 employees worldwide, we manage assets of more than 125 billion euros for our discerning clients. This makes ODDO BHF one of the most important independent banks in Europe. What makes ODDO BHF special is that our employees are shareholders – 30 percent of our capital now belongs to our employees. We want to develop this entrepreneurial spirit. It’s a long-term strategy that means an awful lot to us.
What are your goals with building another site?
In 2016, we acquired BHF-BANK in Frankfurt and in 2020 Landolt & Cie in Switzerland. So we are French in France, German in Germany and Swiss in Switzerland. With our other activities in Amsterdam, Madrid, London, Milan, and other cities, for example, we have grown into a European group. In our next development step, we want to become a true European champion. To this end, we are putting all our processes to the test, with the aim of working in an even more target- and client-oriented way and becoming simpler, more efficient and better. In addition, we are investing in the digitization of our tools and processes, and in IT and artificial intelligence. To sustainably support our growth activities, we have decided to establish another business solution center in addition to our service site in Tunis, which has existed for around ten years. The focus here is on Corporate Center services like IT/IT Security, Operations, Finance and others. While doing so, we also want to further strengthen our innovative capability.
What tipped the scales in favor of Saarland?
We deliberately wanted an onshore solution for our new service center to support our language requirements and to foster better collaboration with our HQ locations. After careful analysis, we decided on the Saarbrücken site in the heart of the Saarland. Saarbrücken is an excellent fit for our Group and ideally underlines our strategic positioning and our commitment as a Franco-German financial group. Saarbrücken is centrally located between our main sites in Paris and Frankfurt am Main and can be easily reached from there by ICE train in around two hours. In addition, Saarbrücken as a university city, but also in the wider region, offers us a large number of qualified young talents and experienced workers from the German-French language area.
How satisfied are you with the start since summer 2021?
The start has been very successful, also thanks to the uncomplicated support of the Saarland Economic Promotion Corporation. At our ODDO BHF Solutions Center, 16 colleagues are already working on site for the Group under the leadership of Managing Director Michael Cattarius. By the end of 2022, we want to grow to 75 employees at the Saarbrücken site and continue with strong growth in the years thereafter. Our offer is particularly aimed at multilingual colleagues who enjoy working in a highly motivated team with a start-up character and thus successfully supporting our European growth initiative.
Dear Mr. Oddo, thank you very much for the interview.