Thank you for 50 years of trust!
For already half a century OVB has been there for its customers and financial consultants. So, this seems like a nice time to take a look back.
With a strong history into a strong future
Only very few companies can look back at a 50-year history in today's fast-moving world. So, what is the secret to OVB's success? We have always focused on our core competence: financial consulting from person to person. At the same time, it is also important to react flexibly to changing customer needs and market conditions.
This balance of tradition and change has made us into what we are today – a leading financial company in Europe. Our decades of experience help us continually develop our services, so that we can stand by the side of our customers and financial consultants as a strong partner in the future.
1970 – The right idea at the right time
In 1970, the foundation for the international OVB corporation was laid in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia. As "Organization for the brokerage of home savings contracts" the young company had set the goal of offering customer-oriented consulting for private households on the topic of home savings contracts. Success came quickly – OVB had felt the pulse of the times.
After the post-war boom with a period of unusually strong economic growth and high-income growth, the economy slowed down for the first time at the end of the 1960s. People started saving. This trend was also supported by a law passed by the government in Bonn in 1970. The so-called employee savings contribution was doubled, meaning that employees received particularly high subsidies from the state if they invested in specific financial products. This also included the home savings offered by OVB.
This fortunate circumstance tremendously benefited OVB after its founding years. With a Bausparkasse as their first partner company, however, OVB only offered one product. This was about to change quickly.
1970 to 1989 – With comprehensive consulting and wide product range towards success
Despite the euphoria, one thing became clear quickly at OVB: home savings could not remain the only product that the company offers. The needs of the customers were too varied and too different for that.
OVB therefore began to expand its product range stepwise to include personal and property insurance as well as capital investments and developed an integrated concept of customer consulting: it was based on determining and analyzing the financial situation of the customer. With the customer’s wishes and goals in mind, OVB consultants would develop a customized solution that was long-term, affordable, and sufficiently flexible. Comprehensive Allfinanz consulting was born to help customers obtains the right financial products in every phase of life. Even today, this all-encompassing approach remains one of the fundamental pillars of the OVB business model and huge benefit for all customers. Especially since the many products are always offered by different well-known OVB partner companies. This means that customers can count on finding exactly the right solution from a select portfolio of financial products.
With a comprehensive product portfolio and a well thought-out consulting system, OVB took off. And Germany seemed to be made for it. The average savings rate of German private households was always towards the top of the typical level for western industrialized countries. However, OVB recognized very early the opportunities that business activities in Europe could offer. Accordingly, the company set the strategic course for its European expansion. The first step towards internationalization was taken in Austria in 1991.
Since 1991 – The course to the South-West
After the expansion into Austria in 1991, OVB continued to perform very well in southwest Europe. In 1993, business activities expanded to Greece. In 1995, Switzerland was added, in 2002 Italy and Spain, and France one year later.
Spain had the highest life expectancy in the EU and at the same time, like Italy, the lowest birth rate. Demographic change was and still is a particularly severe problem here. Correspondingly great was the need for financial products for private retirement plans. In addition, financial services providers with a business model like that of OVB were hardly known in Spain. The combination of comprehensive consulting and many products by top product partners was incredibly well received by Spanish customers.
OVB successfully continued its expansion course in the Southern and Western Europe segment in Belgium in 2018.
Since 1992 – The development of Eastern Europe
However, OVB was not only successful in South and Western Europe. In the East, we first expanded into Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary in 1992, and a year later Slovakia. Croatia followed in 1998. OVB expanded to Romania and Ukraine in 2002 and 2007.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe were ready to move forward. In the beginning this meant in particular a great backlog of demand for consumer goods. For many years, the people had to make do without many things that were commonplace in Western Europe. Investing the little money available into insurance and retirement products had a very low priority in the beginning.
But this was about to change. Step for step, salaries increased, the most urgent needs for consumer goods were satisfied, and people began thinking about their financial future. At this point, OVB had already established itself in the markets and was there to help people with advice and actions.
2006 – "Transparency creates trust" – OVB goes public
In 2000, OVB converted into a stock corporation – a milestone in the structural and organizational orientation of the business. With the new legal form, OVB immediately had more flexibility for more strategic growth and rapid expansion. The following creation of a holding structure and the spin-off of the operative business put OVB on a more professional footing.
The now 13 national companies of the OVB now worked under the roof of the holding company, including the OVB Vermögensberatung AG for the German market. The holding company takes on the strategic leadership of the OVB Group and other higher-level responsibilities. This created an efficient and scalable structure for the Group. OVB met the highest publicity requirements by going public in 2006 and its listing in the Prime Standard. The publication of annual and quarterly financial reports pursuant to international accounting standards and the detailed explanations on corporate governance in the company represent a quality characteristic for us and lifts OVB to the level of the large German and international corporations.
50 years after the foundation – people still need financial consulting
We live in times in which solid financial consulting is more important than ever. Life expectancies of people in Europe continue to increase. At the same time, the birth rates in many countries are very low. The consequence: in the social security system, a smaller number of payers must fund a growing number of recipients for longer and longer periods. Private retirement planning is therefore an absolute must to be able to maintain one's standard of living in advanced age.
The need for comprehensive Allfinanz consulting is great and will continue to grow. All the more terrifying is the fact that many people do not want to deal with questions of retirement planning. No wonder: financial products are becoming increasingly complex and most people feel that their own retirement is still far, far off. All the more important that OVB clarifies the need for private retirement planning and helps its customers find the right individual solutions. And the company has been doing this with a lot of success: with more than 3.7 million customers, almost 5000 financial consultants, and activities in 15 national markets, OVB is one of the leading financial consulting firms in Europe today.
Today, people still appreciate the face-to-face consulting. Despite (or maybe precisely because of) the digitalization, the need for personal consulting continues to be high – including among young customers. OVB has the technical expertise and half a century of experience. A success story that will certainly last another 50 years!