LLB General Meeting 2020
Vaduz, 8 May 2020. On account of the corona pandemic, the 28th Ordinary General Meeting of Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG (LLB) was held without the personal participation of shareholders. 2'802 shareholders exercised their right to vote in writing or electronically prior to the General Meeting, and approved all the proposals of the Board of Directors with a large majority. The LLB Group is extending its StepUp2020 strategy by a year until the end of 2021.
On account of the corona pandemic, this year's General Meeting was restricted to the legally necessary items on the agenda. Representing 78.1 percent of the share capital, the voting participation of shareholders, casting their votes electronically or in writing, was very high. The vote count resulted in a very high approval rate for all the proposals of the Board of Directors.
Dividend of CHF 2.20 per registered share
Shareholders approved the 2019 annual reports and financial statements of LLB AG, Vaduz, and the LLB Group. They voted in favour of the distribution of the balance sheet profit for 2019 proposed by the Board of Directors and resolved to pay out a 4.8-percent higher dividend in comparison with the previous year of CHF 2.20. The decision was based on the long-term, prudent dividend policy defined by the Board of Directors. This envisages a payout ratio of 40 to 60 percent of the Group net profit. For 2019, the payout ratio amounts to 54.3 percent.
Re-elections to the Board of Directors
The General Meeting granted official discharge to the Board of Directors, the Executive Board and the external auditors. Furthermore, shareholders re-elected Board Chairman Georg Wohlwend for a second term of office of three years, as well as Board members Prof. Dr. Gabriela Nagel-Jungo and Urs Leinhäuser, both for a last term of office of three years.
In addition, shareholders appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), St. Gallen, for a further year as the external auditors. For corporate governance reasons and taking into consideration the imminent introduction of the duty of rotation principle, the Board of Directors intends to make a change and propose a new firm of external auditors at the next General Meeting in 2021. PwC have acted as external auditors for the LLB Group since 1998.
Successful 2019 business year
"With a net profit of CHF 123.4 million, we achieved the best business result in the last ten years", said Group CEO Roland Matt in summarising the very pleasing 2019 business result. The LLB Group continued its sustained profitable growth. Thanks to high net new money inflows at all business locations, the performance of the markets, growth in credit business and the acquisition performance of our client advisers, our business volume rose to a record level of CHF 89.3 billion. As a result of its broad diversification and targeted acquisitions, the LLB Group has significantly improved its earning power and quality.
The LLB Group started the 2020 business year well and can look back on a good first quarter. "Initially, the high volatility on the financial markets led to higher turnover in fee and commission business as well as in trading operations. However, the low level of interest rates continued to weigh on interest differential business. On account of the fall in US dollar interest rates the LLB Group expects lower interest earnings. Strict cost management that is constantly adjusted to suit the current situation is absolutely essential. Sharp price falls on the equity markets and the renewed strength of the Swiss franc culminated in a lower valuation of assets under management. Consequently, as per 31 March 2020, this resulted in a performance-related decrease of almost 10 percent", explained Roland Matt. The persisting uncertainties in connection with the corona crisis and the volatile markets mean that no reliable statements can be made at present in relation to the further development of business and the Group business result in 2020.
StepUp2020 strategy extended by a year
"We are living through challenging times at the moment. What applies today, can be completely altered tomorrow", said Georg Wohlwend, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "We have therefore decided only to commence the development of the follow-up strategy next year and to extend the StepUp2020 strategy until the end of 2021." The implementation of the strategy has been very successful. Its four core elements: growth, profitability, innovation and excellence are still valid and expedient for the achievement of the LLB Group's goals. In the current year, the LLB Group will place the focus on crisis management and the exploitation of tactical opportunities. It expects the economic consequences and shape of the new normality to become clearer in 2021, thus providing a more reliable basis on which to formulate the new strategy.
"With a tier 1 ratio of 19.6 percent, the LLB Group again affirmed – in international comparison – its superb financial strength and stability in 2019", emphasised Board Chairman Georg Wohlwend. Thanks to the great efforts made in past years, the LLB Group is in a very sound starting position. Precisely in this current situation, the Group can build on its stability and security, and thus further strengthen the trust of its clients.
Instead of the traditional shareholder's gift, LLB will, in coordination with the Liechtenstein Bankers Association, make a donation to a charitable project or a non-profit organisation, which supports individuals particularly affected by the corona virus.
The video message of the Chairman of the Board of Directors to the General Meeting of Shareholders can be viewed on the LLB website: www.llb.li/generalmeeting
Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG (LLB) is the longest established financial institute in the Principality of Liechtenstein. The majority of the company's share capital is held by the Principality of Liechtenstein. LLB's shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (symbol: LLBN). The LLB Group offers its clients comprehensive wealth management services, as a universal bank, in private banking, asset management and fund services. With 1'077 employees (full-time equivalent positions), LLB is represented in Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Austria and the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai). As per 31 December 2019, the business volume of the LLB Group stood at CHF 89.3 billion.
- 25 August 2020, 2020 Interim Financial Statement
Dr. Cyrill Sele
Head of Group Corporate Communications & General Secretary
Telephone +423 236 80 99