- Swiss Life can look back on a successful financial year 2014: Thanks to the resilience of its business model, the Group grew profitably despite the difficult low interest rate environment.
- SwissLife increased premium income by 7% in local currency to CHF19.1billion. The home market in Switzerland made a substantial contribution, with an 11% rise in premiums to CHF10.0billion.
- The Group also made good progress in fee and commission income, with a rise in local currency of 15% to CHF1.3billion, to which all business units contributed.
- Net profit came to CHF818million, 4% up on the previous year (2013: CHF784million), while adjusted profit from operations stood at CHF1.2billion (+4%).
- In spite of the low interest rate environment, SwissLife again achieved a strong net investment result of 3.8% (2013: 3.9%).
- Assets under management grew by 18% overall to CHF183billion, of which CHF33.7billion was attributable to investment business with external customers,as SwissLife generated net new asset inflows of CHF4.5billion.
- SwissLife is well on track with the implementation of its Group-wide programme "SwissLife2015". The majority of its targets had already been achieved by the endof 2014.
- The adjusted return on equity came to 9.6% (2013: 10%).
- The new business margin stood at 1.8% (2013: 2.2%) and the value of new businesswas CHF255million (2013: CHF289million).
- Shareholders' equity increased to CHF12.8billion, up 43% on the previous year, while the Group's solvency ratio was 269% at the end of 2014 (2013: 210%).
- The Board of Directors proposes that the General Meeting of Shareholders approve an 18% increase in the dividend from CHF5.50 in the previous year to CHF6.50 per share.
"I am very pleased with our performance in 2014: We increased premiums, profit, and fee and commission income, while keeping a firm grip on costs," says PatrickFrost, Group CEO. "We are reaping the fruit now of the seeds we sowed in previous years. By improving the resilience of our business model, we have steadily expanded our position in the market. Not even the abolition of the minimum euro exchange rate this year will prevent us from achieving our targets for 2015."
SwissLife expands its market position
SwissLife grew profitably and above the market average in 2014. Premium volume rose to CHF19.1billion (2013: CHF18.0billion), equivalent to a 7% rise in local currency compared to the previous year. The Group also recorded pleasing development in fee and commission income, up 15% in local currency to CHF1.3billion.
The home market of Switzerland, where total premium volume increased by 11% from CHF9.0billion to CHF10.0billion, was a key growth driver. The high demand from SMEs for full insurance solutions in 2nd pillar occupational benefits (BVG) continued unabated, particularly in the corporate client area, with SwissLife growing by 11%, compared to just 1% for the market as a whole. In private client business, premiums rose by 12%. At the same time SwissLife increased fee and commission income in the home market by 10% to CHF182million. SwissLife in France also posted growth, with a 10% rise in premiums to EUR4.2billion. Fee and commission income also increased, up 11% to EUR223million. In Germany, the strict focus on profitable business led to a 5% decline in premiums to EUR1.3billion. At the same time however, SwissLife Germany recorded strong growth in fee and commission income with a 12% increase to EUR349million. SwissLife International reported a 6% fall in premiums in local currency to CHF2.5billion, while growing fee and commission income by 4% to CHF240million.
In its external customer business, SwissLife Asset Managers achieved organic net new assets of CHF4.5billion. Assets under management for external customers thus came to CHF33.7billion (+22%). Together with insurance mandates (CHF149.3billion), total assets under management at SwissLife Asset Managers stood at CHF183.0billion as at the end of 2014, 18% up on the previous year. Of this amount, CHF32.5billion is invested in real estate. In addition, SwissLife has real estate under administration amounting to a total of CHF31.5billion: CHF16.7billion of which originates from Livit and CHF14.8billion from CorpusSireo, a group acquired by SwissLife on 1October2014. Total real estate under management and administration as at the end of 2014 thus came to CHF63.9billion.
SwissLife achieves another strong net investment result
SwissLife reports adjusted profit from operations of CHF1182million, up 4% on the previous year. The increase in profits was driven by France, SwissLife Asset Managers and International. Net profit rose from CHF784million to CHF818million (+4%). The profit increase was achieved despite further strengthening of the insurance reserves by CHF1.2billion.
SwissLife Asset Managers generated direct investment income of CHF4.5billion in 2014 – a rise of 4% on the previous year. The net investment result improved by almost CHF200million to CHF5.1billion, producing a net investment return of 3.8% (2013: 3.9%).
SwissLife Switzerland confirmed its high earnings power of the previous year with a contribution of CHF657million (-8%). Changes in the accounting standards (IFRS13) during the prior-year period had a positive impact of CHF60million. Adjusted for this one-off effect, the result would be on a par with the previous year. In France, SwissLife posted an increase in profits of 13% to EUR178million. SwissLife Germany contributed EUR76million, almost on a par with the previous year (-2%). Significant progress was made at SwissLife International: The segment result more than doubled from CHF16million in the previous year to CHF34million. The segment result for SwissLife Asset Managers also showed a positive trend, up 13% to CHF188million (2013: CHF166million), with CHF14 million originating from CorpusSireo.
Most of the "SwissLife 2015" goals achieved ahead of schedule
The Group again made operational progress in the second year of implementing its Group-wide strategy "SwissLife 2015". Efficiency gains were made in all business areas. The 1% increase in costs is primarily attributable to investments in growth initiatives at SwissLife Asset Managers. Efficiency ratios, however, improved again in all insurance units. SwissLife made overall cost savings of CHF160million, thereby achieving its 2015 cost savings target of CHF130-160million one year ahead of schedule. As a result of the interest rate situation, the new business margin fell from 2.2% to 1.8% – although it still stands above our target of 1.5%. The value of new business in 2014 came to CHF255million (2013: CHF289million). The Group generated adjusted return on equity of 9.6% in the year under review (2013: 10.0%). Shareholders' equity climbed from CHF8.9billion to CHF12.8billion (+43%). In the same period, the Group's solvency ratio rose from 210% to 269%.
Increase in dividend to CHF6.50 – Investors' Day on 25November2015
At the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on 27April2015, the Board of Directors will propose an increase in the dividend (withholding tax-free distribution out of the capital contribution reserves) from CHF5.50 in the previous year to CHF6.50 per share (+18%). All members of the Board of Directors will be standing for re-election.
Swiss Life will hold an Investors' Day on 25November2015 to present its new targets following on from the Group-wide programme "SwissLife 2015".
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The Swiss Life Group is one of Europe's leading comprehensive life and pensions and financial solutions providers. In its core markets of Switzerland, France and Germany, SwissLife offers individuals and corporations comprehensive and individual advice plus a broad range of own and partner products through its sales force and distribution partners such as brokers and banks.
SwissLifeSelect, tecis, Horbach, Proventus and ChasedeVere advisors choose suitable products for customers from the market according to the Best Select approach. SwissLifeAssetManagers offers institutional and private investors access to investment and asset management solutions. SwissLife provides multinational corporations with employee benefits solutions and high net worth individuals with structured life and pensions products.
Swiss Life Holding Ltd, registered in Zurich, was founded in 1857 as Schweizerische Rentenanstalt. The shares of SwissLife Holding Ltd are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SLHN). The two subsidiaries Livit and CorpusSireo are also part of the SwissLife Group. The Group employs a workforce of around 7500 and approximately 4500 certified financial advisors.
Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking information
This publication contains specific forward-looking statements, e.g. statements including terms like “believe”, “assume”, “expect” or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements, by their nature, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors. These may result in a substantial divergence between the actual results, developments and expectations of Swiss Life and those explicitly or implicitly described in these forward-looking statements. Given these uncertainties, the reader is reminded that these statements are merely projections and should not be overvalued. Neither Swiss Life nor its Members of the Board of Directors, executive managers, managers, employees or external advisors nor any other person associated with Swiss Life or with any other relationship to the company makes any express or implied representation or warranty as to the correctness or completeness of the information contained in this publication. Swiss Life and the abovementioned persons shall not be liable under any circumstances for any direct or indirect loss resulting from the use of this information. Furthermore, Swiss Life undertakes no obligation to publicly update or change any of these forward-looking statements, or to adjust them to reflect new information, future events, developments or similar.