Financial Results

Underlying Q4 2015 Profits Rose At ABN AMRO's Private Bank

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 17 February 2016

Underlying Q4 2015 Profits Rose At ABN AMRO's Private Bank

The Netherlands-listed financial group reported a rise in underlying Q4 earnings at its private bank, although net interest income fell because of thin margins on deposits.

Netherlands-headquartered ABN AMRO today said its private banking arm logged an underlying profit increase of €11 million ($12.3 million) in the fourth quarter of last year from a year earlier, standing at €26 million, pushed by higher operating income.

Net interest income fell to €149 million in Q4 2015, down by €7 million compared with Q4 2014. Higher average deposit volumes were more than offset by lower margins on deposits, the bank said in a statement.

Net fee and commission income increased to €149 million in Q4 2015, up by €9 million compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Net fees increased due to higher average client assets.

Personnel costs fell by €4 million to €119 million in Q4 2015. Personnel expenses in international activities in particular were lower due to a one-off release in Q4 2015. The third quarter of 2015 included a restructuring provision related to the integration of the Jersey office into Guernsey, the bank said.

The underlying cost/income ratio for private banking was 87.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015, a fall of 5 percentage points compared with Q4 2014. If the regulatory levies had been divided equally over the quarters, the cost/income ratio would have been 85 per cent compared with 92 per cent in Q4 2014.

Client assets grew to €199.2 billion at 31 December 2015 compared with €191.3 billion at 30 September 2015. This was due mainly to improved market performance over the period, the bank said.

Net new assets in Q4 2015 were a negative €0.4 billion, as a net outflow was recorded outside the eurozone, which was partly offset by a net inflow in the eurozone. New new assets in Q3 2015 were impacted by the outflow of custody assets of a single client, the bank continued.

Across the whole of ABN AMRO, it said that although the fourth-quarter underlying net profit declined by 32 per cent to €272 million, the full-year 2015 underlying net profit increased to €1.924 billion, up 24 per cent year-on-year. As previously indicated, Q4 2015 includes regulatory levies of €190 million (net of tax). In addition, Q4 2015 contains provisions for an identified group of SMEs with possible derivative-related issues and legal claims.

The banking group, which had been bailed out – and hence owned – by the Dutch state amid the 2008 financial crisis, has returned to the private sector with an IPO of shares. Shares in the bank have fallen around 17.6 per cent since the start of January, last trading around €17.06 per share, a fall that isn’t as dramatic as that suffered by some European banking peers such as Deutsche Bank.

“We are still on track to meet our financial targets. In 2015, return on equity increased to 12.0 per cent from 10.9 per cent in 2014 and was within the target range of 10-13 per cent,” the bank said. Across the group, it achieved a cost/income ratio of 61.8 per cent (60.2 per cent in 2014), whereas its target is 56-60 per cent by 2017.

As far as the capital position is concerned, ABN AMRO’s fully-loaded CET1 ratio was 15.5 per cent, compared with 14.1 per cent at the end of 2014.

It has increased the proposed dividend payout ratio for 2015 from 35 per cent to 40 per cent of the reported full-year net profit.


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