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German Economist: Fear To Dog Investors For Years

AP: What have you done with your money?

Holzhausen: I bought stocks back in the '90s, and lost a lot of money in the dot-com bubble and decided to get rid of them. Most of my money is in life insurance and in real estate.

AP: You lived in Japan twice, in the late '80s when the real-estate and stock markets hit records, and in the mid-'90s.

Holzhausen: It was really eye opening, if you came from Europe. Asia was the future. It was more dynamic. It was richer. I couldn't afford anything. There really was exuberance, then there was pessimism. People don't believe in a better future, in a bright future, that Japan will return to high growth.

AP: Germany is seen as a model for other countries. Unemployment is low, and Germans never borrowed too much. You have a different view of this.

Holzhausen: Our performance looks good, but only in comparison to other European countries.

Private investment is very low. Most companies are overly dependent on banks, and banks are reluctant to (lend). The market for equity and bonds for small and medium-size companies has not taken off. People are looking for safer assets. There is a lack of capital.

We didn't pile on risk (before the financial crisis), so we avoided the slump. But looking forward, if Germany is the new normal you have to settle on much more meager results and performance in the long run.

____

You can reach Bernard Condon on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BernardFCondon.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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