- SwissLife continued to improve its earning power in 2015, generating adjusted profit from operations of CHF1.3billion (plus 17%). All units contributed to this growth.
- Net profit increased by 7% to CHF878million.
- Swiss Life once again improved its fee result, growing 36% to CHF342million, and increased its risk result by 4% to CHF395million.
- Premium income of CHF18.9billion corresponds in local currency to 5% growth and to a fall of 1% in Swiss francs.
- Swiss Life Asset Managers continued on its growth path, with net new assets from its third-party business at CHF7.2billion (2014: CHF4.5billion).
- Swiss Life was able to withstand the low interest rate environment, posting a robust net investment return of 3.7% (2014:3.8%).
- The new business margin stood at 1.7% (2014:1.8%) and the value of new business was up 5% to CHF268million.
- Shareholders' equity declined 5% to CHF12.2billion. The adjusted return on equity came to 9.7% (2014:9.6%).
- The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting an increase in the dividend from CHF6.50 to CHF8.50.
"Low and negative interest rates are not the only challenges facing financial providers. The whole sector is confronting an unstable global economy, restrictive regulatory requirements, rapid technological advances and, last but not least, changing customer behaviour. All of which made it anything but certain that we would be able to continue gaining momentum this past year, and enjoy profitable growth," says PatrickFrost, CEO of the SwissLifeGroup. "The pleasing results are an expression of the great work done by our employees in recent years, and provide an excellent basis for the Swiss Life Group to develop further."
Earning power increases in all units – sustainable business model
In 2015 the Swiss Life Group once again grew its earnings power. Net profit rose from CHF818million to CHF878million (plus 7%). Adjusted operating income was CHF1.3billion, up17%. All units contributed to this positive development. The savings result rose by 18% to CHF773million; the risk result by 4% to CHF395million; and the fee result increased by 36% to CHF342million.
Despite continuing low interest rates and the negative currency effect, SwissLife generated direct investment income of CHF4.3billion in 2015 (2014: CHF4.5billion). The net investment result improved from CHF5.1billion to CHF5.2billion, producing a net investment return of 3.7% (2014:3.8%). PatrickFrost notes: "Once again we have been able to achieve attractive investment returns, which is of considerable value to our customers in view of the continuing low interest rate environment and volatile financial markets. The robust investment return allowed us in 2015 to again strengthen the insurance reserves by CHF1.2billion, and thus improve the sustainability of our business model."
Swiss Life Switzerland increased its segment result by 10% to CHF734million. The main driver was the savings result of CHF499million (plus 19%). The risk result remained stable at a good level (CHF267million) and the fee result was slightly negative due to investments in growth initiatives (minus CHF4million). In France SwissLife saw the segment result enhanced by 20% to EUR219million. In addition to the savings result of EUR163million (plus 12%), the risk result of EUR82million (plus 18%) and the fee result of EUR43million (plus 38%) also contributed to this increase. Germany posted a segment result of EUR121million, up 51% over 2014. The earnings comprise: The savings result of EUR86million (plus 33%), the fee result of EUR37million (plus 159%) and the risk result of EUR26million (plus 8%). SwissLife International improved its segment result of EUR30million to EUR38million (plus 26%). The main driver was the fee result of EUR29million (plus 61%). An equally pleasing increase in the segment result was achieved by SwissLife Asset Managers with 28% growth to CHF242million.
Swiss Life thus continued its profitable growth in 2015, with premium income up by 5% year-on-year in local currency to CHF18.9billion. In Swiss francs, this corresponds to a fall of 1%. The Group saw its fee business and commission income up 8% in local currency to CHF1.3billion (in CHF minus 1%).
In the home market of Switzerland, premium volume rose by 5% to CHF10.5billion. In group life business SwissLife saw a 6% increase in premiums to CHF8.9billion, while the market grew by only 1%. In individual life business, premiums of CHF1.6billion were at previous year's level (minus 1%) while outperforming the market (minus 2%). In addition, SwissLife Switzerland successfully pursued its full-range provider strategy for corporate clients, growing the share of new business, alongside full insurance, with semi-autonomous insurance solutions to 11% (2014: 4%).
In France SwissLife grew premiums by 2% to CHF4.2billion. The quality of new life insurance business once again saw a pleasing development, with the proportion of unit-linked solutions increasing to 60%. The focus on profitable business led in Germany to a 2% decline in premiums to EUR1.3billion: The planned reduction of traditional business was largely offset by the increase in the share of modern savings products as well as disability and long-term care insurance solutions. SwissLife International posted premium growth of 14% to EUR2.3billion.
As at 31 December 2015, SwissLife Asset Managers had a total of CHF185billion under management (plus 1%), including CHF39billion in real estate. SwissLife also administers CHF28.6billion in real estate for third parties, which makes SwissLife, with its CHF67.6billion in real estate under management and administration, one of Europe's leading real estate asset managers. In its third-party investment business, SwissLife Asset Managers posted net new assets of CHF7.2billion. The company thus had CHF38.8billion in assets under management for third parties by the end of 2015.
Improved efficiency – solid solvency
Efficiency ratios improved Group-wide by 2 basis points to 0.60%. Despite low interest rates, the new business margin was maintained at 1.7% (2014:1.8%), above the ambition of 1.5%. The value of new business rose from CHF255million in 2014 to CHF268million (plus 5%). SwissLife generated an adjusted return on equity of 9.7% in 2015 (2014: 9.6%), and thus once again attained the upper end of its target band of 8 to 10%. Shareholders' equity amounted to CHF12.2billion (minus 5%, particularly due to lower unrealised gains on bonds and negative currency translation effects). SwissLife expects its SST ratio to be around 140% as of 1January2016 (based on the internal model approved with conditions).
Increase in dividend to CHF8.50 per share
At the Annual General Meeting on 26April2016, the Board of Directors will propose to shareholders an increase in the dividend to CHF8.50 per share (2014:CHF6.50) paid in the form of a withholding tax-free distribution from the capital contribution reserves. All Members of the Board of Directors are standing for re-election.
Telephone conference for investors and analysts
Patrick Frost, Group CEO, and ThomasBuess, Group CFO, will hold a telephone conference in English for financial analysts and investors today at 9 a.m. (CET).
Europe: +41 (0) 58 310 50 00
UK: +44 (0) 203 059 58 62
USA: +1 (1) 631 570 56 13
Telephone conference for media representatives
Patrick Frost, Group CEO, and ThomasBuess, Group CFO, will hold a telephone conference in German for media representatives today at 11 a.m. (CET).
Europe: +41 (0) 58 310 50 00
An audio webcast of both conferences will be made available on the www.swisslife.com website. Please dial in ten minutes before the start of the conference.
Phone +41 43 284 77 77
Phone +41 43 284 52 76
All our media releases can be found at swisslife.com/mediareleases
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, Deutsche 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 7600 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 SwissLife 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. SwissLife 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.