The history of Bank Gutmann

The history of Bank Gutmann starts in the year 1922. Between its foundation and its recognition as Austria's best private bank, the Bank has witnessed many milestones. Describing its development against the backdrop of global events illustrates its steady growth in an impressive context.

Development of the bank
Major global events
The Great Depression
World War II and foundation of the
2nd Republic
Foundation of the European Economic Community (EEC)
Moon landing
Third UN Headquarters established in Vienna
Stock market crash
Fall of the Berlin Wall
Austria joins EU
Hungary and Slovakia join EU
Global economic crisis
1922 Foundation of the Bank by the Gutmann brothers
The Bank starts operating on 1 January 1922. The name Bankhaus Gebrüder Gutmann is chosen to emphasise the link between its origins and the bank. Max and Rudolf Gutmann are registered as the owners of the firm.

On 4 February 1922, the shareholders of Gebrüder Gutmann apply for a license for the establishment of an independent bank. The registered capital is a modest 100 million crowns, the equivalent of about 727 euro. All this happens largely unnoticed by the public. This discreteness heralds in an approach that will characterise the way in which the bank will be doing its business in the future
Foundation of the Bank by the Gutmann brothers
1931 Licence to engage in foreign currency brokerage
By the mid-1920s the Gutmann Group has largely recovered from the setbacks suffering during the first post-war years. In October 1931, the Bank receives the license to broker transactions in foreign currencies. It is assumed that a major proportion of the Bank’s approximately 60 employees were working in this field. At the time of its foundation, the industrial department has a headcount of five, the securities department a staff of three. Over the subsequent decade, total staff numbers remains largely constant.
Licence to engage in foreign currency brokerage
1938 Gutmann shareholders flee Austria
The three Gutmann shareholders leave Austria already before or shortly after Austria’s Anschluss (annexation). None of them returns to Vienna before the end of the war. In March 1938, Rudolf von Gutmann travels from Vienna to Prague and later on settles in Victoria, Canada. Wilhelm Hermann moves to Switzerland already in late February 1938 and later on becomes a national of Cuba. Wolfgang von Gutmann is on his honeymoon and also opts for Switzerland as his first country of asylum. Later on, he emigrates to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

On 31 March 1938, the state-owned Österreichische Creditinstitut für öffentliche Unternehmen is appointed as provisional administrator of Bankhaus Gebrüder Gutmann. Six weeks later, this role is taken over by Deutsche Wirtschaftsprüfungs- und Treuhandgesellschaft m.b.H.
Gutmann shareholders flee Austria
1957 Karl Kahane acquires a stake in the business as a new shareholder
The Bank resumes its operations in 1948. Almost one decade later, Karl Kahane takes over the shares of Gebrüder Gutmann. Beside him, Wilhelm Hermann von Gutmann remains second personally liable shareholder for about two years as the last senior executive from the former Gutmann dynasty. Kahane expands the Bank’s activities gradually into new fields. Syndication of debt issued by Austrian industrial enterprises is the first step in the development leading to securities trading.
Karl Kahane acquires a stake in the business as a new shareholder
1968 Move to Palais Wertheim at Schwarzenbergplatz
On 1 March 1968, Bankhaus Gebrüder Gutmann moves to Palais Wertheim at Schwarzenbergplatz, an impressive building of the so-called Ringstraßen era. It was built by Heinrich Ferstel in the years 1864-1868 as a counterpart to Archduke Ludwig Viktor's patrician palais situated directly opposite. Ferstel, who had also designed the Archduke’s palace, included hints indicating the difference in social status in architectural details, such as on the main front: Viktor’s palace is decorated with pillars and sculptures whereas the Palais Wertheim "only" boasts pilasters and herms. The palais is named after Franz Freiherr von Wertheim (1814-1883), a Viennese industrialist, who was one of the prominent figures of his time. His legacy can still be found in the building in the shape of the famous burglar-proof and fire-resistant Wertheim safes.
Move to Palais Wertheim at Schwarzenbergplatz
1986 Bank Gutmann wins first wealth management client
Our approach to service is to work closely with the client. Every conversation with a client is conducted with special attention to individual needs. The first private client who entrusts a carefully selected share of his assets to Bank Gutmann opens an account on 7 November 1986. In wealth management, the name Gutmann has always been synonymous for transparency, customised solutions, a prudent management of risk and capital-preserving measures. This ensures that clients receive the best in competent and comprehensive advice. All client relationship managers have long years of experience and excellent professional qualifications. Their main focus is always on protecting and growing assets.
Bank Gutmann wins first wealth management client
1987 Gutmann KAG launches its first fund
Founded on 4 July 1986, Gutmann Kapitalanlageaktiengesellschaft (KAG) combines Gutmann’s asset management capabilities in the form of fund management and fund administration services. On 2 February 1987, KAG launches its first two funds: Gutmann Europa Anleihefonds with a focus on European bonds and Gutmann Internationaler Anleihefonds with a focus on international bonds. The core competencies of Gutmann KAG – a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank Gutmann AG – have since continued to be asset allocation, in bonds and stocks. In bond management, expertise is concentrated in particular on the segment of European investment-grade bonds. Portfolio management is guided by the assessment of interest rate and credit trends. By the way: both funds are still successful today, almost 30 years on.
Gutmann KAG launches its first fund
1997 Start of partnership approach
On 10 December 1997, the supervisory board appoints management board members Dr. Rudolf Stahl and Dr. Anton Fink as the first two partners of the Bank. The Gutmann partnership approach initiated in this manner is part of the business model and in keeping with the motto “communicating with the client at eye-level – from entrepreneur to entrepreneur”. The steadily expanding circle of partners ensures a high level of commitment and well-balanced decisions in all management bodies, reliable and competent advice and continuity in services.
Start of partnership approach
1999 Foundation of the first private equity investment company
Since the 1990s, the Gutmann Network has been fostering high-quality long-term partnerships with investors, managers and advisors in the private equity industry. On 12 November 1999, Gutmann – through its Global Private Equity Holding I (GPE I) – offers institutional and private clients exclusive access to large international private equity funds for the first time. Over the years that follow, three further investment companies (GPE II - IV) are added for the target regions of USA, Europe and Emerging Markets. The clear focus in value development has always been on improving the operating performance of stake-holdings in an effort to earn constant returns.
Foundation of the first private equity investment company
2001 Gutmann Center enhances know-how transfer
On 1 October, the Gutmann Center for Portfolio Management is founded at the Bank’s initiative at the University of Vienna under a strategic partnership and, soon thereafter, is transferred to the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Among the experts supporting the Center are not only national and international professors but also Nobel Laureate William Sharpe, renowned for his development of the Sharpe ratio, who serves as an honorary member of the Academic Advisory Board. The aim of this partnership is strengthening the exchange of know-how among the international financial community, the promotion of young domestic research talent and the continuing development of the scientific foundations of portfolio management.
Gutmann Center enhances know-how transfer
2004 Bank Gutmann is named best wealth manager in Austria
On 30 November 2004, Bank Gutmann is awarded top marks in three out of five categories at the Berlin Private Banking Summit: It is ranked as number 1 at the financial centre of Vienna, national champion of Austria, and runner-up in the Top Wealth Managers 2005 ranking for all German-speaking countries. In this contest, the leading German rating body Fuchsbriefe selects the best wealth managers in German-speaking countries (including Switzerland) from among 100 banks tested.
Bank Gutmann is named best wealth manager in Austria
2005 The Budapest branch opens
The close relations with the neighbouring country Hungary and the clients already served there lead to the opening of the first Gutmann representation in Budapest. The offices are located in the exclusive neighbourhood of Rózsadomb (rose hill) on the Buda side to the west of the Danube. By establishing this first representation abroad, Gutmann underlines its serous interest in the region of Central Europe.
The Budapest branch opens
2011 The Prague branch opens
On 7 June 2011, Gutmann starts its activities in the Czech Republic and is the first traditional private bank to open a subsidiary in Prague. Before, Czech clients had been served from Vienna, but as more and more clients from this region placed their trust in Gutmann, the branch in Prague now offers more service locally, availability and competent advisory support. The Prague branch is also responsible for providing advisory services to clients in the Slovak Republic.
The Prague branch opens
2013 The Salzburg branch opens
The official opening of a branch in Salzburg’s Getreidegasse on 14 March 2013 marks another step in Gutmann’s expansion toward Central Europe. The Salzburg branch works intensely on developing business in the regions of Salzburg, Tyrol, Upper Austria, and Bavaria. Despite high bank density, the opportunities for growth are attractive due to the large catchment area, the cultural attractions and the existing stock of private and institutional clients. The clients’ expectations regarding a high level of service, cross-generational approaches and transparent investment strategies are perfectly met by Bank Gutmann as a provider of such services in this region.
The Salzburg branch opens
2014 Gutmann combines tradition with sustainability
On 17 March 2014, Gutmann decides to establish “sustainable investments” systematically as a separate product line and to implement the preparations undertaken in this regard since 2013 in its operational business. This offers the Bank’s clients the option of building portfolios meeting certain social, ecological and governance criteria. Being a family enterprise itself, Gutmann is perfectly placed to champion the causes of sustainability. The new funds invest exclusively in rigorously screened issuers and have been certified to the standards of the Austrian eco label (Österreichisches Umweltzeichen).
Gutmann combines tradition with sustainability
2015 Awards for best adivsory services and performance
In the market test of best wealth managers, the so-called Fuchsbriefe-Test, Bank Gutmann scores overall victory in the German-speaking countries, including Switzerland, and gains first place in the ranking for Austria in 2015. Scores were awarded in the categories consulting session, asset management strategy, portfolio quality, and transparency. In the list of All-time Best Performers, Gutmann is ranked 7th and thus solidly among the top ten.
In the Österreichische Dachfonds Award (fund of funds award) 2014, the mixed funds of funds Gutmann Strategie Select and Gutmann Strategic Select Plus each win first place in the 1-year rankings for the categories “balanced, conservative” and “equity-oriented, conservative“. The Gutmann Investor Renten Global fixed-income fund of funds secures place three in the 5-year ranking of the category “conservative”.
Gutmann also attains top positions in the Euromoney Private Banking and Wealth Management Survey 2015 of the leading international financial magazine Euromoney. In addition to scoring overall victory for "Best private banking services overall" in Austria, Gutmann also comes top in Hungary and in the Czech Republic in the category Succession Planning Advice and Trusts.
Awards for best adivsory services and performance