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There are more investment advisors than grains of sand in the sea. They do more or less good – I can say that from my own experience.
When I recently wanted to find an older article of mine via Google search, the following advertisement popped up via Google advertising:
The so-called „Real investment advice“ by Nico Hüsch.
It is a pure online consultation – thus no small (or large) traveling effort is necessary (and not intended).
After I have already tested investment advice several times, I thought to myself
„Why not take a look at what this guy is capable of“
Said, done. The concept of online consulting suited me and the appearance and approach on the website made me curious.
And a promise on the Nico Hüsch website I wanted to be fulfilled in any case:
“Would you like to see how I invest my money privately? With me everything is transparent!”
How a 31-year-old entrepreneur invests his money – that’s what I’m interested in! And what he has to advise me on how to invest my money? I would like to know that at least as much.
And if the experience at Nico Hüsch GmbH is just as bad as with many other „competitors“ that I have examined so far:
Even better. Then I can share my frustration with you here on the blog.
Attention! Bonus for all Depotstudent-readers! Nico Hüsch special offer! At the end of the article, I will tell you how you can buy financial products such as pension insurances much cheaper than with Check24, much cheaper than with the standard insurance agent, and also much cheaper than with the standard broker!
Who is this guy?
In a nutshell: An industrial engineer who was tired of management consulting and found his vocation in financial consulting for private investors.
Can one trust the whole thing? We will see that in my Nico Hüsch experiences!
Here is an excerpt from the website:
„After graduating as an industrial engineer at the Leuphana University in Lüneburg in 2012, he continued his work as a management consultant, which he had already started parallel to his studies. The focus of his consulting activities was the financial optimization of various medium-sized production companies.
In 2015 he decided to devote the rest of his life to real people. To this end, he searched for the fastest-growing company on the financial market, analyzed its investment principles and selected those that best matched his personal convictions. Since then he has been optimizing the financial and investment concepts of private individuals. He soon realized that this was the kind of work he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
After years of preparation, Nico Hüsch fulfilled his great dream by founding the Nico Hüsch GmbH. Today, he can inform and advise every client completely independently about the best opportunities on the financial market.“„About us“ on the Nico Hüsch website
Okay, so he’s a real entrepreneur. He bears full responsibility for his employees and the quality of his advice. This looks very interesting to me. Why?
Most of the „entrepreneurs“ in the financial industry are ultimately affiliated with a financial sales organization as sales representatives and bear virtually no entrepreneurial responsibility.
For me, this is clearly a plus – even if it does not say anything about the actual quality of the advice.
Nico Hüsch GmbH currently has 6 employees, but according to his own statement, he likes to carry out the consultations himself as often as possible.
Tip: If you want to check how „independent“ your current financial advisor really is, you can easily check on the website Vermittlerregister.info. Every employee in the industry is registered there. Either as an insurance agent (only brokers products from one insurance company), tied agent (has a few more companies to choose from), or independent insurance agent (has virtually the entire market to choose from). Of course, a larger selection always has the advantage that they can recommend better products.
The industrial engineer who wants to revolutionize the financial industry?
Anyone can say that! Nevertheless, I had to think about this point a little longer.
He studied industrial engineering, worked for years as a management consultant specializing in financial optimization, and then, as he writes, switched to financial consulting for private individuals, full of passion. In itself, there is no study for „becoming a financial consultant“. And when we all look back, the content of the studies is rarely the decisive factor that makes us successful in our current professions.
Furthermore, I think that the financial market, similar to the IT market, is so fast-moving that a study from 5 years ago would be outdated today.
That would at least be very possible.
All in all, it is probably about the financial advisor informing himself, reading specialist books – in other words, being able to demonstrate expertise in the consultation.
And that’s pretty much what happened to me – as an industrial engineer who, as a sideline, sets up a blog for obtaining information in the field of finance and investments.
So let’s Go! Let’s take a closer look.
A vision is already good. But what is to be achieved? The following excerpt provides answers:
Our vision for 2025
„In the year 2025, the Nico Hüsch GmbH has firmly established the term “real investment advice” in the German financial market. More than 10% of German citizens now demand a net to net calculation from their financial advisor.
People no longer want to see glossed over figures, but a real calculation of their returns after all costs, taxes, and inflation.
The financial market finally reacts and develops more and more customer-oriented retirement provision products which are easy to understand and bring a clear benefit for the customer.“„About us“ on the Nico Hüsch website
The net to net comparison is obvious to me. Because in the end, I’m only interested in what actually ends up in my account.
Hence the legitimate question: „Um, doesn’t every investment advisor do that?“
What does a consultation normally look like?
„You contact me and we talk on the phone for about 10 minutes and discuss your needs. If I can improve your contracts or have the right offer for you, we will arrange a consultation appointment. This appointment is online and completely free for you.
In the online consulting appointment you will learn everything about the possible improvements for your investment. For me, a REAL INVESTMENT ADVICE means that I do not present you with glossed over figures, but we also calculate all costs, your expected tax payments, and the bad inflation. I will inform you about your possibilities in a completely transparent way so that you can make the right decision.
In doing so, I not only want to convince you of my offer but also of myself. Because my goal is to accompany your finances into old age for you. You should finally have the feeling that you have found the right consultant for you. Only when you are completely convinced and your gut feeling is right will I welcome you as a new client.
As my client, you will benefit permanently from the advantages of the most customer-oriented financial advisor on the market. You will have access to your digital insurance folder, where you can view all documents at any time. I will also be happy to check all insurance policies for you to see if there is any potential for improvement. At least once a year, we will take time together and look for savings potential for you.“
After I was roughly informed about the procedure, I initiated the contact and we talked on the phone.
The initial call
The initial phone call was short and to the point. It already provided some exciting starting points, so I was very excited about the upcoming consultation. Of course, a few numbers were also included so that an offer could be worked out. A few days later we had our online consultation.
My consultation with Nico Hüsch
So, now it’s time for business.
What was the basis of it all?
The consultation with Nico Hüsch started with a brief review of my current status: We talked through how I am fundamentally positioned in the areas of investment and insurance and what my level of knowledge is.
For your information, I am positioned as follows:
- Salary from full-time employment as an industrial engineer
- Additional income from this blog here
- ETF portfolio (70 % MSCI World, 30 % MSCI Emerging Markets)
- Private liability insurance
- Motor vehicle liability insurance
About my financial and insurance basis: Well, what else can an investment advisor recommend? After all, I am excellently positioned – at least in my own opinion!
The only thing I had actually thought about lately was the following: Letting my ETF account continue to operate as normal, but at the same time packing a (new) ETF account or something similar into an insurance package, as this would save taxes.
At that time I had not yet taken this on. I only knew that there might be potential for tax savings.
Then we were ready to get started! And that was via video chat.
The initial situation: The existing Canada Life contract
Since I (as mentioned above) already had the chance to gain experience with other investment advisors and accordingly also had contracts for products such as unit-linked pension insurance or also occupational disability insurance, I wanted to know
- What is the first thing Nico Hüsch offers me?
- What does he say to the suggestions of other investment consultants?
- Are the recommendations of the other advisors good or are they perhaps even more sensible than Nico Hüsch’s recommendations?
And that’s why I purchased a Canada Life unit-linked annuity insurance, which I had previously been recommended and sent by another investment advisor. This is a good comparison to what Nico Hüsch would offer me.
And of course, I was eager to hear his opinion on the other consultant’s product!
I wanted to put 150 € per month into Canada Life’s unit-linked pension insurance and thus benefit from the tax advantages.
And the opinion of Mr. Hüsch?
Not a bad product, but a bad contract design.
It probably doesn’t happen so often anymore that he receives a product for analysis that he didn’t have on his desk 10 times before. I really noticed his joy about it. He thinks the product is interesting and said he is testing it for customers who want to make a 6-figure one-time investment.
He expressly advised me against this product – because of the cost structure, which is only advantageous for one-time investments. This is where I find it easy to recognize that he evaluates in a differentiated way and approaches the respective customer as individually as possible. Works for me.
Back to the Canada Life product:
The short version
A poor fund selection:
- 34 % Euro Index II
- 33 % US Index II
- 33 % GB Index II
What is so bad about this fund selection?
- Canada Life uses „own“ ETFs, which one could not even buy on the market
- This makes the development of values somewhat intransparent and comparability difficult
- The ETFs are also much more expensive than most other ETFs (like the ETFs I invest in myself)
- The country weighting makes no sense
- Fun fact: So this is a brutal overweighting of Great Britain in the pension insurance of an Irish company? Who could think of evil?
- The ETFs contain only a rather small amount of companies (more comparable to the DAX than e.g. a world index)
- Alternative ETFs are not selectable in the contract
This country weighting is odd in itself and the emerging markets, for example, are not included at all. Well. But unfortunately, there is really no more choice of index funds in the contract. I would have had to resort to active funds – and unfortunately they cost even more!
By the way, I personally think it is exactly right that the actual fund investment is discussed in the consultation with Nico Hüsch. That came in my previous „test customer discussions“ actually always much too briefly!
Other points of criticism of the Canada Life pension insurance:
- A rather inflexible product
- Pretty high running costs
In addition, you have to be careful when comparing Canada Life with other unit-linked annuity insurance policies, because different calculation methods are sometimes used. For example, Canada Life’s contract has a negative effective cost ratio – which would be illogical in itself.
Negative effective expense ratio?
So how does that work? By simply taking into account the maximum possible loyalty bonuses of the insurance company… And this is exactly what Canada Life has done in its calculation. Well, as a consumer you have to know that.
If even one single premium is not paid in the next few decades for whatever reason, the contract will suddenly become much more expensive because the loyalty bonuses are lost. An unusual calculation. This is nothing for me, since I want transparency and flexibility. Otherwise, I might as well take out Riester, Rürup, and Co.
The devil is in the detail
Nico Hüsch has, in my opinion, already taken away the expert status from the previous advisor in the fund investment alone through his detailed analysis – even if that sounds harsh. But also in the contract design itself there are unnecessary mistakes that I as a customer would not have noticed:
The fund-linked pension insurance had the final age 65. According to his statement, however, it makes no sense at all to state this.
Why? If you increase the final age to the maximum (85), there are no disadvantages for me, only advantages. It is the term of the contract and not the deposit period!
And if I don’t push the contract period to the maximum, I lose flexibility that would have cost me nothing. And that of course makes no sense.
Altogether: Canada Life has a contract here that is okay in itself, but for us it’s more in the upper range of unit-linked pension insurance. But for me, the other investment advisor did a lousy job of implementing it.
Without getting in too deep here: In contrast to discussions with some other financial advisors, I had the feeling that there is simply much more substance here.
I have expressed criticism from time to time and I have listened to Nico Hüsch’s counterstatement or have asked one or the other „mean“ question.
And even if we did not always agree 100%, I have to make the concession: We always looked at the issues clearly and analyzed them in detail. And a few collisions with certain beliefs cannot be ruled out either (e.g. active vs. passive funds).
But it doesn’t matter, if you discuss it properly. That’s the way it has to be, I think.
I am (probably) one of the „ETF disciples“ who are now more and more represented. In other words, a proponent of investing money at low cost through index funds (ETFs) and not resorting to actively managed funds (with higher costs).
We got into an interesting discussion about why it can make sense (or not) to rely not only on ETFs but also on active funds.
ETFs vs. active funds
I found Nico Hüsch’s argumentation for the mix of active and passive funds really exciting, because I had no knowledge, for example, that the emerging markets are so „badly“ or at least only very confusingly regulated. At least compared to other parts of the global financial markets. Government intervention, manipulation, and the like were also possible here to a different extent than in the United States, for example.
His proposal, therefore: Invest in most of the world quietly at low cost through ETFs. But the emerging markets via ETF? In his opinion, not necessarily a great idea and it is more recommendable to choose a more expensive actively managed fund.
I have to admit: I had not thought of that. The argumentation is quite conclusive, even though I cannot say with certainty that active funds will perform better here in the future or that the risk can be minimized.
And if it is my preference: Then I can of course select the funds completely independently and invest in unit-linked pension insurance purely by means of ETFs, for example. Without any active funds.
He obviously didn’t want to force anything on me here and only presented and suggested his position. Very nice so far.
What is happening in the financial markets?
What I also found remarkable in Nico Hüsch’s statement is that according to his assessment nobody really understands what is happening in the financial markets anymore. His investment philosophy consequently focuses on the only solid number. Namely the growth of the world population to 10-11 billion people in the year 2050-2060. A very solid approach, in my opinion. His portfolios are customized to suit each client, but each portfolio is globally diversified and includes at least 1200 individual companies around the world. I have never encountered such honesty in any other „test talk“.
Monthly savings vs. total savings
In my opinion, this is a very interesting quote from the interview that you should think about:
„What many people are not aware of in the case of unit-linked pension insurance. It is not about whether one would like to deposit 150 € a month. It is about a building savings of 72,000 €. I find it absurd that many customers take more time to find the right TV than the right investment and the right financial advisor. For the long-term success of the cooperation between you and me, it is essential that you take the necessary time and understand the financial products 100%.“Nico Hüsch in consultation
Don’t hold me to every word, but that’s the gist of what he said. And of course I took notes diligently.
Makes you think twice now before just signing the conract….
How Nico Hüsch invests his money
The fact that in the financial sector often water is preached but wine is drunk should be known to many. Therefore it is all the more interesting to learn how investment advisors themselves invest their money.
How does he invest his money as a young entrepreneur?
I will tell you!
The private investment of money is limited to a depot of ETFs and active funds in the range of 20,000 € and a fund-linked pension insurance with a monthly deposit of 1,500 €. From tax advantages of course.
Thus with the fund-linked pension insurance he practices, what he preaches.
Now it gets exciting:
„As entrepreneurs, you are privately poor as a church mouse.”Quote Nico Hüsch
… because the money remains untaxed in the company. Clever.
Otherwise, the capital is held in an asset-managing holding company, so only 1% tax is due. He also did not hide the fact that, according to his statement, this is only worthwhile from six-digit surpluses per year. Tax advisors (and you definitely need them here) are not exactly cheap to manage such a construct.
And what happens with the money in the holding company?
It is used to buy ETFs and funds. Almost untaxed.
At least I’ll remember that for later.
Costs with Nico Hüsch
This as a little info before I come to the conclusion:
The investment advice is 100% free of charge. That will delight many people. In my experience, the younger generation in particular is very cost-sensitive when it comes to consulting services.
And in this case I count myself among them. After all, I have never seriously thought about making use of a fee-based consulting service – after all, it costs money.
How did investment consultants like Nico Hüsch finance themselves?
From the commissions of the providers of the financial products. These can be commissions from the brokerage of funds, commissions from Unit-linked pension insurance policies or, in the case of general financial advisors (or insurance brokers), commissions from occupational disability insurance or other insurance products.
And what do you earn working there? I have inquired! Based on the experience of Nico Hüsch, the following commissions for financial advisors are some examples: If a customer takes out a unit-linked pension insurance for 150 €, there is a commission of about 1.500 € – 2.500 €. Depending on the insurance company and savings amount or total volume of the contract, there are then just higher or lower commissions.
But this is also always written in the contract documents. Who wants to know it exactly, can (and should) read up there. But in the case Nico Hüsch all costs were known right away.
Tip: Check the „effective costs“ in your contract at 6% performance of the funds. The effective costs in the offer submitted to me are 1.5 % per year, whereby 0.65 % is the insurance cost and 0.85 % is the portfolio cost. The portfolio costs vary depending on the fund selection, but the „Impairment of the total return at 6% fund performance due to insurance costs“ of 0.65% is fixed and the comparative value for your products. Overall, this cost structure is very favorable in 2020. Effective costs of 4% and more are common in the market. If you want to make a profit after net-to-net consideration, your funds will then already have to catch up on 4% costs, and 2% inflation, and maybe 1% taxes. Your profit will only start with a performance of above 7% per year. This is is no longer worth it in most cases! So: Have a look at your contract, if you already have one.
Nico Hüsch recommendation: Yes or no?
I have certainly not seen everything in the world of financial consulting! However, I imagine that day by day I recognize better who is good and who is not.
Therefore I can tell you without hesitation:
Before you get overpriced products offered by your bank or any other structured sales organization, go to a reasonable investment consultant like Nico Hüsch.
There are certainly many other good investment advisors out there. But my experience with Nico Hüsch was really positive. In contrast to most of the other consultations I have had, Nico Hüsch is a clear recommendation.
There is also no cost disadvantage for you – quite the opposite, as you can read in the following.
Tip for the reader bonus
I am glad that you read diligently to the end! Therefore I would like to give you the following tip:
Because I was impressed by Nico Hüsch’s investment philosophy and because I knew after the interview that he had what it takes, I offered him a cooperation after the consultation. Or in other words: I negotiated special conditions for you.
And you can get a bonus! How’s that work? There are two possibilities.
If you register via the following form, we will receive a notification and Nico Hüsch can contact you either by mail or (if you give your number) by phone. By using the following form, we know that you are actually a reader of my blog. 🙂
Here you have to go through three steps:
- Send me a short mail via the contact form with the following content: „Hello Dominik, I read your report on Nico Hüsch and I will register for the free initial interview. My name is Dominik and my birthday is October 26.“ Please enter your first name and your birthday here. So we can sort you in.
- Contact Nico Hüsch via the contact form of his website.
- Nico Hüsch asks you during the first interview how you became aware of him. Here you simply state that you read my experience report here at depotstudent.de.
What does the bonus look like? 100 € as a gift!
When concluding insurance contracts, the agent receives commissions for the conclusion of the contract – these commissions are priced into the products and are paid with the monthly installments. This is the case with all insurance policies. That can be for example the commission for a unit-linked pension insurance – that is at least a product, which makes sense for many of its customers. But this also applies to all other forms of private old-age provision such as Rürup pension, Riester pension, and company pension schemes.
With a unit-linked pension insurance the large advantage is the possibility of the fund investment and the tax saving. The disadvantage is that certain costs are incurred. As with each insurance.
It doesn’t matter whether you take out such an insurance policy with Check24 or with a clever investment consultant like Nico Hüsch: The costs are initially identical!
So, what is the bonus now?
You will be reimbursed 100 € on the commission for the investment advisor – or put another way: 100 € as a gift.
So: You get away cheaper here than with Check24 or other investment advisors. And you get good advice!
So don’t miss out on that!
My experiences and tests with the „real investment advice“ of Nico Hüsch are quite positive. In order to really test someone in-depth, you would probably have to invest several hundred hours and still couldn’t be sure. But about what I have seen and how I was advised, I can only say: Clear recommendation from me.
If you are interested, please register here for the reader bonus:
I hope you liked the report and that it will help you out!
Any questions? Just let us know in the comments!
Your Depotstudent Dominik