Industry Updates

Vanguard closes German investment platform after less than two years

The US giant said it had failed to achieve the ‘necessary scale to operate efficiently’

Theo Andrew


Vanguard has closed its direct-to-consumer (D2C) investment platform in Germany less than two years after launching.

The $7.8trn US giant shut the Vanguard Invest platform following a strategic review of its German business which determined it had not achieved the “necessary scale to operate efficiently”.

Vanguard’s exit highlights the difficulty of the D2C market in Germany. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported Fidelity International was looking for a buyer for its German platform FIL Fondsbank.

The group entered the German market in 2017, offering investors access to its funds via financial intermediaries and investment platforms before launching a personal investment platform in February last year.

A Vanguard spokesperson said: “As we continue to invest in our offering, we have undertaken a strategic review of our German business to determine the most optimal route for investors in Germany to access Vanguard products.

“Vanguard's German intermediary offer continues to be the entry of choice for investors, and we have yet to achieve the necessary scale to continue operating the Vanguard Invest service efficiently. As a result, we have taken the difficult decision to close our Vanguard Invest platform.”

It added it continues to manage $30bn on behalf of German investors and remains “committed to providing more investors with access to our portfolios”.

“As investors increasingly adopt Vanguard's low-cost ETFs through intermediaries and investment platforms – many as part of their monthly savings plans – we will continue to invest in our offering to give investors the best chance of investment success,” it said.

Last month, the firm’s ETFs reached €100bn assets under management in Europe for the first time on the back of strong inflows this year.

Despite this closure of its investment platform, Germany has been a key growth driver for the asset manager in Europe, with roughly one million German individuals invested in Vanguard products.

In March, Vanguard closed its UK financial advice arm less than two years after launching after failing to attract enough clients.

The group said its UK Personal Investor Service platform is one of the fastest growing in the UK, housing more than 550,000 investors and amassing $3bn net inflows this year.

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