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Interviews

Austria’s Kathrein Privatbank: Continuing to Apply the Personal Approach in its 99th Year

Wilhelm Celeda 7 - Global Banking | Finance

Austria’s Kathrein Privatbank: Continuing to Apply the Personal Approach in its 99th Year

Founded by Carl Kathrein in 1924, Kathrein Privatbank is one of the leading private banks in Austria, offering customised investment advice, asset management, financing and consulting to families, entrepreneurs and foundations.

Wilhelm Celeda has been CEO of Kathrein Privatbank since 2019. Considered a proven financial expert, he has been active in the capital market for more than 30 years, making him one of Austria’s most accomplished experts in the field. He spent almost 25 years of his professional career at Raiffeisen Centrobank, heading the securities division for many years before moving to the Executive Board in 2013 and serving as CEO from 2015 until his departure in 2019. In addition, from 2014 to 2021 he was a member of the supervisory board of the Vienna Stock Exchange.

Since joining Kathrein Privatbank as CEO in May 2019, Wilhelm, together with his team, has been responsible for the successful implementation of its ambitious growth strategy. When he spoke with Wanda Rich, editor of Global Banking & Finance Review, he filled her in on how Kathrein Privatbank is prepared to help clients navigate the most difficult challenges being faced in the current financial climate.

“Staggering inflation, a looming recession and the war in Ukraine are the significant factors shaping our economic environment,” he reported. “Investors have been confronted with the rare scenario of high economic uncertainty and political turbulence. For our relationship managers, times are intense. We are available for our clients nearly 24/7, which is particularly important in difficult times. But that is the added value of a private bank – trust that builds on the close relationship with our customers.”

Wilhelm revealed that while the environment for investors has been challenging, the bank has been continuously adapting investment strategies through its active asset management. “Even in this environment, we were able to outperform the market with our portfolio,” he said. “In the equity sector, the focus is on defensive stocks – that is, companies whose business models are stable even in turbulent times. In the bond segment, for example, Kathrein invests in local-currency bonds of emerging markets to generate higher returns, but only in issuers with excellent credit ratings, such as development banks.”

The bank’s slogan, “Very personal,” is a reflection of what Wilhelm describes as the core of its business: listening to and understanding clients’ needs. “We are convinced that the personal relationship between our clients and their private bankers is the crucial success factor for private banking. Financial planning is one of our core capabilities. That is why we can provide a holistic approach and offer much more than just investment advice. Our services include support in succession questions, structuring wealth and assets, special loans and much more. That is what sets private banking apart from a retail bank – we don’t just take care of the money; we serve the clients.”

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