Financial Results

Switzerland's Vontobel Reports 34 Per Cent Surge In Net Profit

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, London, 11 February 2016

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While some Swiss financial institutions had mixed results for 2015, the Zurich-listed business reported a broadly strong set of figures and issued a positive outlook.

Swiss private banking and investment group Vontobel today reported a 2015 net profit of SFr180.1 million ($185.2 million), up 34 per cent on a year ago, while net new money rose by 6.5 per cent, taking total advised client assets to a record of SFr147.8 billion.

The Zurich-listed firm's wealth management unit increased its advised client assets to SFr42.5 billion as a result of organic growth and the acquisition of Finter Bank – thus achieving above-average growth compared to its peers, it said in a statement today.

"Vontobel successfully moved ahead with the growth and international diversification of its business in 2015 in a challenging operating environment," the firm said.

While different as a business in some ways, Vontobel's broadly positive set of figures contrast with more mixed results from the likes of, say, Credit Suisse, which reported a loss for last year, although that firm has reported more positive numbers for private banking in regions such as Asia.

"Asset management and financial products delivered a significant increase in profit: pre-tax profit grew by 28 per cent to SFr139 million in asset management and by 27 per cent to SFr62 million in financial products," it said.

Elaborating on its wealth management results, Vontobel said operating income remained stable. Investments in the recruitment of additional client advisors, the number of which increased by 7 per cent in private banking, as well as negative interest rates had an impact on the overall positive result. At SFr61 million, pre-tax profit in wealth management fell 18 per cent from a year earlier. The growth in the wealth and asset management business resulted in significantly higher net fee and commission income, which represents 71 per cent of Vontobel’s operating income. Net fee and commission income grew by 12 per cent to SFr701.1 million.

“Viewed overall, the financial year 2015 was an unusual year that called for a comprehensive, prudent and systematic approach. In a challenging environment, Vontobel once again delivered a good result. Our company proved once more in 2015 that it is pursuing a strategy that is focused on the achievement of sustained profitability and is therefore investing in the future. The acquisitions we made in 2015 and our good organic growth are part of this strategy,” said Zeno Staub, chief executive of Vontobel.
 
Across the business, Vontobel brought in net inflows of SFr8.0 billion (2014: SFr6.2 billion). Including acquisitions, the inflow of client assets was SFr16.1 billion. Both wealth management and asset management contributed to the positive growth in new money in 2015.

Looking ahead, the firm said that growth in private banking will be supported by further expansion to client advisors and targeted investment.

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