- SwissLife increased adjusted profit from operations by 7% in the first half of 2015 to CHF694million. The main driver of this positive development was the growth in fee and commission income. Despite the negative currency effect of CHF18million, SwissLife was able to increase net profit by 1% to CHF493million (adjusted for currency and one-off effects: +5%).
- Fee and commission income climbed 15% in local currency to CHF617million. This positive trend is driven by growth in SwissLife Asset Managers, the owned IFA channels and in unit-linked business in France.
- Premium income grew by 7% in local currency to CHF11.0billion. A major contributor was the home market of Switzerland, where premium income rose to CHF7.0billion (+7%).
- Despite continued low interest rates and an adverse currency effect, SwissLife maintained its direct investment income almost on a par with the same period the previous year (CHF2.2billion). The non-annualised net investment result rose to 2.0% (HY2014: 1.9%), corresponding in absolute figures to an increase of CHF339million to CHF2.8billion.
- SwissLife Asset Managers posted net new assets of CHF 4.2billion in its external customer business, increasing assets under management for external customers by 4% to CHF34.9billion in spite of the currency effect.
- Active margin management largely offset the impact of the capital market conditions. The new business margin stood at 1.7% (HY2014: 2.4%) and the value of new business was CHF145million (HY2014: CHF185million).
- The adjusted return on equity was 11.6% (HY2014: 11.9%).
- SwissLife is achieving its targets under the Group-wide programme "SwissLife 2015".
"Swiss Life is on track: The improvements in profit from operations and net profit demonstrate that we can operate successfully even in a persistently challenging capital market environment," says Patrick Frost, CEO of the Swiss Life Group. "Thanks to the huge commitment of our employees we have further diversified our profit sources and more than offset the renewed drop in interest rates and the currency effect following the discontinuation of the minimum exchange rate. We were helped by the fact that we are well ahead of schedule with our Group-wide programme ‘SwissLife 2015' and have achieved the vast majority of our targets ahead of plan."
Strong growth in fee and commission income
In the first half of the year, the SwissLife Group increased premium income by 7% in local currency to CHF11.0billion (HY2014: CHF10.8billion, in Swiss francs: +2%). Over the same period SwissLife increased fee and commission income in local currency by 15% to CHF617 million.
The key driver of premium growth was once again the home market of Switzerland, where premium volume rose by 7% from CHF6.6billion to CHF7.0billion. Both group and individual life business recorded growth of 7%. SwissLife continued to successfully apply its full-range provider strategy in group life business. In addition to full insurance solutions, which were again in high demand, the share of new business represented by other products, such as semi-autonomous solutions, increased significantly. At the same time, Swiss Life Switzerland grew its fee and commission income by 4%, due in part to SwissLife Select and real estate brokerage. SwissLife in France also recorded growth: Premiums were up 3% to EUR2.1billion compared with the same period the previous year, primarily attributable to the strong performance of life business (+8%). With unit-linked business representing a 47% share of life premiums, premium quality in SwissLife France is very strong compared with the rest of the market. Compared with the previous year, fee and commission income rose by 7% to EUR117million. In Germany, the focus on profitability together with repricing initiatives led to a 6% decline in premiums to EUR604million. At the same time, fee and commission income increased by 7% to EUR159million due to successful recruitment measures in the owned IFA channels. The International market unit recorded premium growth of 15% to CHF1.2billion. Fee and commission income in the market unit fell by 5% in Swiss francs to CHF111million; adjusted for currency translation effects, it rose by 2%.
In its external customer business, Swiss Life Asset Managers achieved organic net new assets of CHF4.2billion in the first half of the year. Assets under management for external customers amount to CHF34.9billion (up 4% from their FY2014 level), with the net new assets more than offsetting the adverse currency effect. Together with insurance mandates (CHF143.7billion), total assets under management at Swiss Life Asset Managers stood at CHF178.7billion as at 30June2015 (down 2% from their FY2014 level). Income at SwissLife Asset Managers increased by 41% to CHF263million, of which CHF125million (+73%) was earned in external customer business, thanks partly to the first-time consolidation of CorpusSireo.
Improved profit from operations and robust investment income
SwissLife reports adjusted profit from operations of CHF694million, up 7% on the previous year. The increase in profits was driven by Swiss Life Asset Managers and France. Despite the negative currency effect of CHF18million, net profit rose 1% to CHF493 million. Adjusted for currency and one-off effects, this corresponds to a rise of 5%.
Despite persistent low interest rates and an adverse currency effect, SwissLife generated direct investment income of CHF 2.2billion in the first half of 2015, almost equivalent to the previous year (HY2014: 2.2billion). Overall, the non-annualised net investment yield over the first six months came to 2.0% (HY2014: 1.9%). The non-annualised direct investment yield fell to 1.5% (HY2014: 1.7%), also due to higher average net investments. Thanks to realised gains, the net investment result improved by CHF339million to CHF2.8billion (HY2014: CHF2.5billion). The realised gains were mainly used to strengthen policyholder reserves.
Swiss Life Switzerland confirmed its earnings power of the previous year with a segment result of CHF400million (HY2014: CHF414million). In France, the segment result increased substantially by 27% to EUR126million, while Swiss Life Germany contributed EUR50million, an increase of 17% from its HY2014 level. The International market unit confirmed its positive development, improving its result by 13% to CHF21million. The segment result for Swiss Life Asset Managers was also very positive, up 36% to CHF101million (HY2014: CHF75million).
Goals under "SwissLife 2015" achieved
SwissLife has achieved almost all its targets under the Group-wide programme "Swiss Life 2015". Despite investments in growth initiatives, for example at Swiss Life Asset Managers, costs were maintained at prior-year levels and efficiency ratios improved again in all insurance units. As a result, operating costs in Switzerland fell by 3% despite business growth and investment in the further expansion of fee initiatives. Although the new business margin fell to 1.7% due to the interest rate environment (HY2014: 2.4%), it remains above the targeted 1.5%. The decline from the FY2014 level of 1.8% attributable to the difficult capital market conditions was largely offset by active margin management and a further improved product mix. The value of new business amounted to CHF 145million (HY2014: CHF 185million) with approximately two-thirds accounted for by Switzerland. The Group generated an adjusted return on equity of 11.6% in the first half year (HY2014: 11.9%). Shareholders' equity decreased from CHF 12.8billion to CHF 11.7billion (-8%) as a result of currency effects. The Group's solvency ratio stood at 252% (FY2014: 269%); excluding unrealised gains and losses on bonds, the adjusted solvency ratio fell by 2 percentage points from its FY2014 level to 194%.
Patrick Frost: "The solid set of figures for the first half year is our reward for staying true to our course. Our successful business model is an excellent basis on which to steadily develop our company going forward."
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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.
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, Swiss Life 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.
Swiss Life Select, tecis, Horbach, Proventus and Chase de Vere advisors choose suitable products for customers from the market according to the Best Select approach. Swiss Life Asset Managers offers institutional and private investors access to investment and asset management solutions. Swiss Life 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 Swiss Life Holding Ltd are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SLHN). The two subsidiaries Livit and Corpus Sireo are also part of the Swiss Life Group. The Group employs a workforce of around 7500 and approximately 4500 certified financial advisors.