German Finance Minister Christian Lindner and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann address the media during a news conference on key points of the capital markets modernisation law in Berlin, Germany June 29, 2022. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

The FDP federal ministers Christian Lindner (finance) and Marco Buschmann (justice) want to make shares in Germany more attractive with an extensive package of measures. “We want to strengthen a stock culture in Germany,” said Lindner on Wednesday in Berlin. “Securities are not for millionaires, securities are for millions.”

To do this, however, the framework conditions would have to be improved. A higher allowance should be created for profits from the sale of shares and share funds in private assets.

The FDP ministers presented key points for modernizing the capital market. However, these are not yet united within the federal government made up of SPD, Greens and FDP. The goal is implementation in the coming year, said Lindner.

Specifically, Lindner and Buschmann plan that up-and-coming companies (start-ups) should have easier access to capital. The tax framework for greater participation by employees in the success of their company is to be improved.

The allowance for employee capital participation is to be increased from the current 1,440 euros to 5,000 euros. The employee savings allowance when investing capital-forming benefits in asset participation is also to increase. The stock and asset investment should be made more tax-friendly, said Buschmann.

Compared to Anglo-Saxon countries, for example, people in Germany hold comparatively few shares. According to figures from Deutsches Aktieninstitut, on average in 2021 almost 12.07 million people in Germany had shares, equity funds or exchange-traded index funds (ETFs) in their portfolios.

According to this, 17.1 percent of the population was invested in the stock market and thus about every sixth person aged 14 and over. In other industrialized countries, the proportion of shareholders is sometimes significantly higher; in the USA, for example, the state is promoting old-age provision more strongly via the capital market.

Lindner and Buschmann emphasized that Germany faces the enormous task of shaping the digital transformation and the conversion to a climate-neutral economy. This can only succeed if, in addition to extensive public funds provided by the state, sufficient private capital can be mobilized. To do this, the capital market must be more efficient and the German financial center more attractive. “The capital market is the engine of change,” said Federal Finance Minister Lindner.

The key points also provide for the possibility of issuing shares as electronic securities. “In the future, we will also let the digital age dawn for shares,” said Federal Minister of Justice Buschmann.

The institute welcomed the initiative. “We urgently need to make more capital available to our companies so that they can find solutions to meet challenges such as digitization and climate change,” said Christine Bortenlänger, head of the institute.

In the opinion of Deutsche Börse board member Thomas Book, the proposals offer a very good basis for using the potential of the German capital market for future investments: “Now it is important to act quickly. As Deutsche Börse, we are always ready to make our contribution.”

Praise also came from the Association of German Banks (BdB). “Germany is facing a decade of investment. In order to meet this challenge, we need private capital and a strong financial market,” commented BdB General Manager Christian Ossig. “In addition to the national framework, the European Capital Markets Union is and will remain crucial for a competitive financial market. Germany must lead the way here.”

The capital markets union is essentially about removing bureaucratic hurdles between the individual states of the European Union in order to give companies more opportunities to raise money. Consumers should also have more opportunities for cross-border investments.