“We were really watching the emergence of a new equity
market,” he says. Before the IPO, “there was institutional
involvement but very few individuals were stock investors.
One of the objectives of the offering was to generate
significant German retail demand.”
That enthusiasm retreated with the bursting of the
technology bubble but equity strategists are watching
to see if it may now be poised to revive, in Germany
and elsewhere, as markets seem to be starting to recover
after a three-year slump, Willman says.
While economic authorities still have to deal with
issues such as the rising U.S. budget deficit and
increased unemployment, there are some encouraging
signs, he says.
“We haven’t necessarily turned the corner, but there’s
a level of activity in terms of transactions that
has definitely improved in the past several months,”
Willman says. “I’m more cautiously optimistic than
I have been for a while.”
Life as an expatriate has added a dimension to the
life of Willman and his family that he welcomes. After
11 years in London, he sees his children – ages 10,
8 and 6 – growing up with both British and American
“We want them to be comfortable in the culture where
they live but also in the United States,” he says.
For his oldest child in particular, the events of
9/11 strengthened a sense of identification with the
The international experience has been an exciting enhancement
to his life. “It’s part of what has made me enjoy
my professional career,” he says. “I’m very confident
that it has added a dimension to my personal and professional
life that would not have been there otherwise.”