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This number shows why Germans have a pension problem

It's a new record: the 40 Dax companies are paying out almost 51 billion euros to their investors this year.

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This number shows why Germans have a pension problem

It's a new record: the 40 Dax companies are paying out almost 51 billion euros to their investors this year. However, only secondarily German savers can be happy about the profit sharing. Because most of the dividends flow across borders to foreign investors, as an analysis by the consulting firm EY shows.

From the German point of view, this is not only annoying, it is also one of the reasons why the financial assets of the Germans are far lower than those of many other industrialized countries. However, the Germans are only partially to blame for this. The different pension systems also play an important role. This is exactly where the traffic light coalition wants to change something. But what's planned is unlikely to be enough to divert dividend flows.

53 percent of the shares in the Dax companies are in the hands of foreign investors, and the value could actually be a little higher. Because with 17 percent of the shares, it is not possible to determine where the owners live - but a good part of them could also be located abroad.

In any case, the majority of at least 24 Dax companies are clearly located abroad. The real estate group Vonovia has the highest share with 86 percent, followed by Deutsche Börse and MTU with 80 percent each.

German investors, on the other hand, only hold around 30 percent of the securities in the country's most important commercial companies. Only four corporations have a majority in Germany: Deutsche Telekom, Hannover Re, Beiersdorf and Siemens Healthineers.

In the latter, the German share is the highest at 77 percent - around 75 percent of the medical technology company is held solely by the parent company Siemens.

Of course, most shares are not held by private individuals, but by institutional investors, such as funds. In particular, so-called listed index funds (ETFs) own a growing proportion of German shares, and these constructs are often based abroad. In these ETFs, in turn, there is often a lot of money from Germany, so that ultimately the proportion of German investors in the Dax companies is likely to be somewhat higher than the EY figures show. Nevertheless, it should be impossible for them to make up the majority.

The consequences of this became apparent just a few days ago in statistics compiled by Credit Suisse. She compiled a list of countries according to the average wealth of their citizens. Germany only came in 17th, with $256,990, which is the average for every German. In Switzerland it is 696,600 dollars, in the USA 579,050 dollars.

If you take the median value, i.e. the threshold at which exactly half of the population owns more and the other half less, Germany even falls back to 26th place with only 60,633 dollars. Here Australia is at the top with 273,900 dollars.

In all of these countries, which are so well ahead of Germany, the citizens have benefited far more from the rise in prices on the stock exchanges in recent years than the Germans, and they are also raking in far more dividends. The Germans are partly to blame for this, as they traditionally shy away from investing in shares.

However, that is only half the truth. Americans and Swiss are not necessarily any smarter than Germans when it comes to financial matters. In these countries, however, the pension system forces them to invest in the stock market. In Germany, on the other hand, the pay-as-you-go system dominates, and even the supplementary private provision via Riester, which is subsidized by the state, avoids shares almost completely.

After all, the traffic light coalition has decided to take a small step towards state-controlled equity investments. That was a concern of both the FDP and the Greens, and it should be implemented in the form of the so-called share pension.

The basis for this should be a state-organized fund that invests in the stock exchanges. As a starting credit, so to speak, the state should equip this with ten billion euros. How additional funds are then supposed to flow into the fund in the future, whether there should be an obligation for employees and employers to participate, whether and how much they have to pay, how the withdrawal is regulated - that, like many other questions, is still unclear . The Federal Ministry of Finance intends to present an initial concept for this by the end of the year.

However, it is already clear that the sum of ten billion euros is far too small to change anything in the long term. The annual budget volume of the statutory pension insurance is around 340 billion euros, ten billion are hardly significant.

The starting sum of the stock pension would have to multiply within a short period of time so that the Germans could really have a larger share of price gains and dividends. Even then, however, it would be doubtful whether they received a larger share of the profit distributions from German companies.

Because whether a German sovereign wealth fund should invest in German companies at all is another question that still needs to be clarified. After all, this would also quickly result in the danger of government interference.

After all, such a fund could then participate in the success of foreign corporations. And that's not a bad alternative when you look at the performance of the US index, for example.

"Everything on shares" is the daily stock exchange shot from the WELT business editorial team. Every morning from 7 a.m. with our financial journalists. For stock market experts and beginners. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music and Deezer. Or directly via RSS feed.

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