No peace and quiet with online broker Flatexdegiro

No peace and quiet with online broker Flatexdegiro
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Major shareholder Bernd Förtsch wants to be elected to the supervisory board at the general meeting on June 4th, as the company announced late on Friday evening. To this end, the GfBk Gesellschaft für Börsenkommunikation, which he controls, submitted a so-called supplementary request to the agenda.

He would replace Herbert Seuling, who announced on Friday that he was leaving the committee for personal reasons. Förtsch also wants to have the chairman of the supervisory board, Martin Korbmacher, removed. If successful, Axel Hörger should be elected to the committee. According to their information, this would be a member independent of GfBk, the statement continued.

Withdrawal on April 30th

Just last week, CEO Frank Niehage announced his retirement on April 30th. Förtsch had previously publicly denounced the manager’s work. Flatexdegiro justified the departure with “different views on strategic development” and the well-being of the company. The search for a successor is ongoing. For the time being, two board colleagues will manage the company.

Niehage has been in the crossfire of criticism for a long time. While trading by small investors on Flatexdegiro’s platforms climbed to unprecedented heights during the Corona pandemic, the business volume collapsed with the rise in inflation and interest rates as well as the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. In addition, the financial regulator Bafin found a number of deficiencies at the broker in a special audit in 2022 – and increased the company’s capital requirements.

Settled with corporate management

In March, major shareholder Förtsch settled accounts with company management in an interview. The decline in the share price and the low market value of around one billion euros were the result of an “operational, strategic and supervisory board-related undesirable development,” he told “Wirtschaftswoche”.

In the interview, Förtsch criticized Flatexdegiro’s lack of innovation, an understanding of the market and “products that are extremely attractive to customers.” Flatex’s previously simple fee structures are now just as opaque as those of competitors. The company missed the boom in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The competitor Swissquote was worth the equivalent of four billion euros on the stock exchange, about four times as much as Flatexdegiro, said Förtsch at the time. In addition, the Berlin broker Trade Republic, which is not listed on the stock exchange, is also valued at around four billion euros.

Since Flatexdegiro’s share price has risen sharply in recent weeks, partly due to good results in the first quarter, the gap has now narrowed again. Flatexdegiro is now worth 1.4 billion euros on the stock exchange again. However, that is still significantly less than in the summer of 2021, when it was more than three billion euros.

Förtsch is not only a major shareholder in Flatexdegiro, but also founded the company’s predecessor himself 25 years ago. He still directly and indirectly holds almost 20 percent of all company shares.

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