Controversial Supervisory Board – The US asset manager Blackrock is involved in all 30 Dax companies.
Martin Lück is a sought-after discussion partner in Frankfurt when it comes to the situation on the financial markets. Lück knows his way around. He is the chief investment strategist of Blackrock for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Blackrock is the world's largest asset manager. Globally, Americans have the gigantic sum of $ 6.4 trillion from customers in 100 countries under their wing.
In Germany, Blackrock joins all 30 listed companies whose shares are listed in the German stock index Dax. Blackrock owns seven percent of Bayer's shares, 5.8 percent of Siemens, both of which make Blackrock the largest single shareholder. The US corporation holds 5.9 percent of SAP, and five percent each at Deutsche Bank and Daimler. All in all, Blackrock is likely to be involved in German companies with a high double-digit billion amount. This ensures influence – this also applies to the Chief of the Supervisory Board, Friedrich Merz. Should Merz be elected as the new CDU party chairman, he would have to leave his post at Blackrock, which he has been wearing since 2016. The stripping wire for Blackrock is hard to replace.
Company officials are working hard to downplay Blackrock's influence. Act as a fund company so only for its customers, act as a trustee and do not invest their own money. Formally, this may be the case: insurance companies, pension funds, companies, sovereign wealth funds, banks, even churches rely on the services of Blackrock, but also private investors. The majority of the money is used for old-age provision, they say.
Blackrock does not deny the significant influence. Representatives of the asset manager do not speak at general meetings, they are not on supervisory boards. They make their positions clear in direct discussions with the company's Management Board and Supervisory Board. Critics are surprised that Blackrock also took on advisory mandates for the European Central Bank (ECB) during the Greek crisis. Also in the stress test of the bank overseer Blackrock was involved as a consultant. So Blackrock influence the regulation of the financial industry.
Merz resists criticism of his activities. He condemned tax tricks at the expense of the state treasury, as it has operated, inter alia, the bank HSBC, whose supervisory board belongs to Merz. "Stock deals like Cum-Ex and Cum-Cum ultimately serve to exempt taxpayers," Merz told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Such deals are "completely immoral," regardless of the legal rating. "I have always believed in this opinion and have always expressed it." In the case of cum-ex-tax transactions, the shuffling of shares had deceived EU-wide tax offices. In Germany alone, the state should have reimbursed 32 billion euros of unpaid taxes.
The anti-corruption organization Transparency Germany had previously criticized Merz. Merz will have to explain to the CDU members what his role was, "such as the supervisory board of the private bank HSBC Germany, which was involved in cum-ex-business," said Transparency Chairman Edda Müller. "He has to show how he wants to use these experiences for a welfare-oriented policy."