The various business segments contributed as follows towards consolidated net revenues of 450 million francs. Commissions and service fees were up 6% on 2003 reaching 245 million francs. Results from interest activities totalled 144 million francs (-3%) and again proved to be a stable revenue source. Lacklustre market conditions on the other hand negatively affected trading operations, which netted 52 million francs, down 34% compared to the previous year’s exceptionally strong result.
Operating expenses totalled 309 million francs. The 6% increase in costs compared to 2003 is attributable to investments made to support the bank’s local and international expansion drive. In Italy, the bank opened branches in Rome, Turin and Treviso. In France, it acquired the share capital of Paris-based Oudart not previously owned (asset management company). Growth in operating expenses in the remaining Group structures is strictly monitored as part of a continuous effort to optimise operating efficiency.
Positive bottom line effects also resulted from lower depreciation, provisions and valuation adjustments (63 million francs), a decrease of over 35 million francs, or 36% compared to 2003.
Consolidated shareholders’ equity before distribution of attributable profit exceeded 1 billion francs at 31 December 2004 (+10%). Assets under management reached 41.1 billion francs. This 7% increase, amounting to 2.5 billion francs, was partly due to the acquisition of the remaining share capital of Oudart.
Though the year’s financial result did not fully meet expectations, management considers 2004 to have been a positive year. Marco Netzer, CEO: “The decision taken by Swiss Life last spring to keep the bank, and to transfer it from the insurance company to Swiss Life Holding removed many uncertainties regarding the bank’s future. We are now again in a position to focus on our current business activities and further development.”