Notes to the annual accounts
Name, legal structure and domicile of the bank
Under the name
- –Raiffeisen Schweiz Genossenschaft
- –Raiffeisen Suisse société coopérative
- –Raiffeisen Svizzera società cooperativa
- –Raiffeisen Svizra associaziun
- –Raiffeisen Switzerland Cooperative
there exists an association of cooperative banks with a limited duty to pay in further capital pursuant to Art. 921 et seq. of the Swiss Code of Obligations ("OR"). Raiffeisen Switzerland Cooperative (hereinafter "Raiffeisen Switzerland") is the association of Raiffeisen banks in Switzerland. Raiffeisen Switzerland is domiciled in St.Gallen.
The risks of the Raiffeisen banks and Raiffeisen Switzerland are closely tied together.
Risk management systems are based on statutory provisions and the regulations governing risk policy for the Raiffeisen Group ("risk policy" for short). The risk policy is reviewed and updated annually. Raiffeisen Switzerland views taking on risks as one of its core competences and sees it as a vital prerequisite for achieving returns. Risks are only entered into with full knowledge of their extent and dynamics, and only when the requirements in terms of systems, staff resources and expertise are met. The risk policy aims to limit the negative impact of risks on earnings and protect the Raiffeisen Group and Raiffeisen Switzerland against high exceptional losses, while safeguarding and strengthening its good reputation. Group Risk Controlling is responsible for ensuring that the risk policy is observed and enforced. The Compliance unit ensures that regulatory provisions are adhered to.
Raiffeisen Switzerland controls the key risk categories using special processes and overall limits. Risks that are difficult to quantify are limited by qualitative stipulations. Risk control is completed by independent monitoring of the risk profile.
Group Risk Controlling, which reports to the Head of the Finance department, is responsible for the independent monitoring of risk. This primarily involves monitoring compliance with the limits stipulated by the Board of Directors and the Executive Board. Group Risk Controlling also regularly evaluates the risk situation as part of the reporting process.
Risk management process
The risk management process is valid for all risk categories, namely for credit, market, and operational risks. It incorporates the following elements:
- –Risk identification
- –Risk measurement and assessment
- –Risk management
- –Risk limitation, through the setting of appropriate limits
- –Risk monitoring
The aim of risk management is to
- –ensure that effective controls are in place at all levels and to guarantee that any risks entered into are in line with accepted levels of risk tolerance;
- –create the conditions for entering into and systematically managing risks in a deliberate, targeted and controlled manner, and
- –make the best possible use of risk tolerance, i.e., ensure that risks are only entered into if they offer suitable return potential.
Credit risks are defined in risk policy as the risk of losses caused by clients or other counterparties failing to fulfil or render contractual payments as anticipated. Credit risks are inherent in loans, irrevocable credit commitments, contingent liabilities and trading products such as OTC derivatives. Risks also accrue from taking on long-term equity exposures that may involve losses when the issuer defaults.
Raiffeisen Switzerland identifies, assesses, manages and monitors the following risk types in the lending activities:
- –Counterparty risk
- –Collateral risk
- –Concentration risk
- –Country risk
Counterparty risks accrue from the potential default of a debtor or counterparty. A debtor or counterparty is considered to be in default when receivables are overdue or at risk.
accrue from impairments in the value of collateral.
risks in credit portfolios arise from the uneven distribution of credit
receivables from individual borrowers or in individual coverage categories,
industries or geographic areas.
Country risk is
the risk of losses caused by country-specific events.
primarily incur counterparty, collateral and concentration risks. Raiffeisen
Switzerland's branches are part of the Branches & Regions department and
extend credit to private and corporate clients, the latter being mostly SMEs.
Here, risks are limited by securing the underlying claims.
In general, the
Corporate Clients department is the instance that grants larger loans to
corporate clients. When the credit being increased or newly extended exceeds
CHF 50 million on a risk-weighted basis, the CRO (Chief Risk Officer) issues an
assessment. The assessment focuses on the concentration risk and any change in
the value at risk. The Group-wide responsibilities of the Central Bank
department involve managing both domestic and international counterparty risks.
These risks occur in transactions such as wholesale funding in the money and
capital markets and the hedging of currency, fluctuating interest rate and
proprietary trading risks. The Central Bank department mainly incurs credit
risks in connection with interbank business. With the exception of the repo
business, these commitments are unsecured.
The Central Bank department may only conduct international transactions when country-specific limits have been approved and established. In exceptional cases in proprietary trading, positions may be taken in countries with prior approval from the Finance department. Country risks are constantly and actively managed and are mainly concentrated in Europe.
Pursuant to the
Articles of Association, international commitments at Raiffeisen Switzerland
may not exceed 5% of the consolidated Raiffeisen Group balance sheet total.
Internal and external ratings are used as a basis for approving and monitoring business with other commercial banks. Off-balance-sheet transactions, such as derivative financial instruments, are converted to their respective credit equivalent. Raiffeisen Switzerland has concluded a netting agreement with various counterparties for off-balance-sheet receivables (for OTC transactions) and monitors exposure on a net basis.
Creditworthiness and solvency are assessed on the basis of compulsory standards at Raiffeisen Switzerland. Sufficient creditworthiness and the ability to maintain payments must be proven before any loan is approved. Loans to private individuals and legal entities are classified according to internal rating procedures and, on the basis of this classification, monitored from a risk-oriented perspective. The clients' creditworthiness is defined according to a range of 13 risk categories.
This system has proven its worth as a means of dealing with the essential elements of credit risk management, i.e. risk-adjusted pricing, portfolio management, identification and provisions. Specialist teams are available for more complex financing and the management of recovery positions.
Raiffeisen Switzerland monitors, controls and manages risk concentrations within the Group, especially for individual counterparties, groups of affiliated counterparties and sectors. The process of identifying and consolidating affiliated counterparties is automated across the entire Raiffeisen Group. Raiffeisen Switzerland monitors the credit portfolio across the Group, evaluating the portfolio structure and ensuring proper credit portfolio reporting. Evaluating the portfolio structure involves analysing the distribution of the portfolio according to a range of structural characteristics, including category of borrower, type of loan, size of loan, counterparty rating, sector, collateral, geographical features and value adjustments. The responsible executive bodies receive quarterly updates on the development of exception-to-policy loans. In addition to standard credit portfolio reporting, Group Risk Controlling also conducts ad-hoc risk analyses where required. Monitoring and reporting form the basis of portfolio-controlling measures, with the main focus being on controlling new business via the lending policy.
Effective tools have been implemented to proactively avoid concentrations within the entire Raiffeisen Group. Sector-specific threshold limits have been established. Should one of these threshold values be reached, part of the decentralised credit authority is transferred to Raiffeisen Switzerland's Credit Office. This process guarantees a well-diversified local credit portfolio even in a decentralised organisation.
Cluster risks are monitored centrally by Credit Risk Controlling. As at 31 December 2016, Raiffeisen Switzerland had two reportable cluster risks (including Group companies) with cumulative risk-weighted commitments (net) of CHF 1 billion. These amounted to 45.7% of eligible capital resources (previous year: three reportable positions of CHF 0.9 billion).
The credit volume of Raiffeisen Switzerland's 10 largest borrowers (excluding interbank business and public bodies) as at 31 December 2016 was CHF 1.5 billion or 9.7% of overall exposure (previous year: CHF 1.3 billion or 11.9%).
Risk associated with fluctuating interest rates: Given that Raiffeisen Switzerland is heavily involved in balance sheet business, interest rate fluctuations can have a considerable influence on interest income. Interest rate sensitivity and value at risk are calculated to assess the assumed interest rate risk on the market value of the equity capital. The impact on profitability is assessed using dynamic income simulations. Variable-rate positions are displayed based on a model that replicates historical interest rate fluctuations with money and capital market rates. Risk associated with fluctuating interest rates is managed on a decentralised basis in the responsible units. The Treasury of the Central Bank department is the binding counterparty concerning wholesale funding and hedging transactions for the entire Group – with the exception of Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd. The responsible members of staff are required to adhere strictly to the limits set by the Board of Directors. Group Risk Controlling monitors compliance with limits and prepares associated reports, while also assessing the risk situation.
Other market risk: Since assets in a foreign currency are generally refinanced in the same currency, foreign currency risks are largely avoided.
Capital adequacy requirements for market risk relating to the trading book
The financial investment portfolio is managed by the Treasury of the Central Bank department. Financial investments are part of the cash reserves of the Raiffeisen Group and are largely high-grade fixed-income securities that meet statutory liquidity requirements. Group Risk Controlling monitors the interest rate and foreign currency risks of financial investments.
The Trading unit, which is part of the Central Bank department, is responsible for managing the Central Bank trading book. The branches do not keep a trading book of their own. The Central Bank trades in interest rates, currencies, equities and banknotes/ precious metals. It must strictly adhere to the value-at-risk, sensitivity and loss limits set by the Board of Directors and the Executive Board, which Group Risk Controlling monitors on a daily basis. In addition, Group Risk Controlling conducts daily plausibility checks on the income achieved from trading and conducts daily reviews of the valuation parameters used to produce profit and loss figures for trading. Trading in derivative financial instruments is subject to risk limits and is closely monitored. They work with both standardised and over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives for the Central Bank's own account and on behalf of clients.
Reporting on compliance with value-at-risk, sensitivity and position limits and the assessment of the risk situation by Group Risk Controlling is primarily conducted via three reports:
- –Weekly interest rate risk report, sent to responsible Executive Board members in line with FINMA Circular 2008/6
- –Monthly risk report, sent to the Head of the Finance department who then decides whether the monthly risk report should be presented to the entire Executive Board
- –Quarterly risk report, sent to the Board of Directors
Liquidity risks are controlled using commercial criteria and monitored by the Treasury and Group Risk Controlling at the Group level in accordance with banking law. Risk controlling involves, among other things, simulating liquidity inflows and outflows over different time horizons using various scenarios. These scenarios include the impact of bank funding crises and general liquidity crises.
Monitoring is based on statutory limits and risk indicators based on the above scenario analyses.
At Raiffeisen, operational risks mean the danger of losses arising as a result of the unsuitability or failure of internal procedures, people or systems, or as a result of external events. This includes not only the financial impacts, but also the reputational and compliance consequences.
Operational risk tolerance and appetite is defined using a value-at-risk limit or using risk indicators and specific limits for relevant types of operational risks. Risk tolerance and appetite are approved annually by the Board of Directors (for the value-at-risk limits) and by Raiffeisen Switzerland's Executive Board (for the indicator limits). Group Risk Controlling monitors compliance with risk tolerance and appetite. If one of the defined limits is exceeded, remedial action is defined and taken.
Each functional department within the Raiffeisen Group is responsible for identifying, assessing, managing and monitoring operational risk arising from its own activities. Group Risk Controlling is responsible for maintaining the Group-wide inventory of operational risks and for analysing and evaluating operational risk data. Risk identification is supported by capturing and analysing operational events. Group Risk Controlling is also in charge of the concepts, methods and instruments used to manage operational risks, and it monitors the risk situation. In specific risk assessments, operational risks are identified, categorised by cause and impact, and evaluated according to the frequency or probability of occurrence and the extent of losses. The risk register is updated dynamically. Risk reduction measures are defined and their implementation is monitored by the line units. Emergency and catastrophe planning measures for mission-critical processes are in place.
The results of the risk assessment, significant internal operational risk events and relevant external events are reported quarterly to both Raiffeisen Switzerland's Executive Board and Board of Directors. Value-at-risk limit violations are escalated to the Board of Directors, while threshold limit violations are escalated to Raiffeisen Switzerland's Executive Board.
In addition to the standard risk management process, Group Risk Controlling conducts ad-hoc risk analyses where required, analyses any loss events that arise and maintains close links with other organisational units that, as a result of their function, come into contact with information on operational risks within the Raiffeisen Group.
A reliable IT infrastructure is an indispensable requirement for the provision of banking services. For this reason, Raiffeisen attaches a great deal of importance to monitoring and controlling IT and managing the related threats and risks.
Potential risks are managed comprehensively. A regular assessment of the threat situation constitutes the basis for the risk management strategy. Appropriate and effective information security measures for safeguarding information and infrastructure with respect to confidentiality, integrity, availability and audit trails are in place for this purpose. Raiffeisen complies with recognised standards and established practices throughout this process.
Raiffeisen Switzerland has outsourced the operation of the data communication network to Swisscom (Switzerland) Ltd. Furthermore, all Raiffeisen Switzerland securities administration activities are carried out by the Vontobel Group. Swiss Post Solutions AG handles the scanning processes in the paper-based payment system, while the printing and shipping of bank vouchers has been outsourced to Trendcommerce AG. ARIZON Sourcing Ltd, a joint venture of Raiffeisen Switzerland and Avaloq, provides payment and securities operations services for Raiffeisen Switzerland and Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd. The platform for the online identification of new and current customers via videostream is operated by Inventx AG
Raiffeisen Switzerland has been issuing a wide selection of structured investment products since November 2016 with assistance from Leonteq Ltd. Since this time, Raiffeisen Switzerland has also been issuing withholding-tax-free structured investment products through Raiffeisen Switzerland B.V., its subsidiary in Amsterdam. The Raiffeisen Switzerland Cooperative has concluded an outsourcing agreement with Leonteq Securities Ltd in this regard. When Raiffeisen investment products are issued, Leonteq Securities Ltd performs duties in connection with structuring, processing, documenting and distributing the instruments. Leonteq Securities Ltd also manages the derivative risks and deals with the life-cycle management of the products.
On 24 June 2015, FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, issued a decision defining special requirements relating to the systemic importance of the Raiffeisen Group and Raiffeisen Switzerland. As an individual bank, Raiffeisen Switzerland remains exempt from the disclosure requirements. The consolidated information that must be disclosed pursuant to FINMA Circular 2016/1 can be viewed on the Raiffeisen website (raiffeisen.ch) or in the Raiffeisen Group's annual report.
The Raiffeisen Group has opted for the following approaches for calculating capital adequacy requirements.
Credit risks: International standard approach (SA-BIZ), using the following external ratings.
Positions for which external ratings are used are found chiefly under the following balance sheet items:
- –Amounts due from banks
- –Amounts due from customers and mortgage loans
- –Financial investments
- –Positive replacement value
adequacy requirements for market risk are calculated using the standard
approach under supervisory law. Within this framework, the duration method is
applied for general market risk with regard to interest rate instruments and
the delta-plus approach in respect of capital adequacy requirements for
options. An overview is provided in the "Capital adequacy requirements for
market risks relating to the trading book" table.
risks: Basic indicator approach
Methods applied to identify default risks and to determine the required value adjustment
The property value of owner-occupied residential properties is determined using either the real value method or a hedonic pricing method. In the hedonic pricing method, the bank uses regional property price information supplied by an external provider. The model is validated by an external specialist on behalf of the bank. The bank uses these valuations to update the property value periodically. In addition, the bank constantly monitors delinquent interest and principal payments in order to identify higher-risk mortgage loans. These loans are then thoroughly reviewed by credit specialists. The Recovery department is involved in certain cases. Additional collateral may be requested or a value adjustment recognised based on the missing collateral (also see the section entitled "Steps involved in determining value adjustments and provisions").
The property value of multi-family units, commercial real estate and special properties is determined using the income capitalisation method, which is based on long-term cash flows. This model also takes into account market data, location information and vacancy rates. Rental income from investment properties is reviewed periodically, particularly when there are indications of significant changes in rental income or vacancy rates.
Loans against securities
The bank monitors the commitments and value of the collateral pledged for loans against securities on a daily basis. If the collateral value of the pledged security falls below the loan commitment amount, the bank will consider reducing the loan amount or request additional collateral. If the shortfall widens or if market conditions are unusual, the collateral will be realised and the loan settled.
For unsecured commercial operating loans, the bank asks the client to provide information that can be used to assess the state of the company's finances. This information is requested annually or more frequently if necessary. Audited annual financial statements and any interim financial statements are requested regularly. This information is evaluated and any increased risks are identified. If the risks are higher, the bank will conduct a detailed assessment and work with the client to define appropriate measures. If the loan commitment is determined to be at risk in this phase, a value adjustment will be recognised.
Steps involved in determining value adjustments and provisions
The steps described in sections "Mortgage loans", "Loans against securities" and "Unsecured loans" are used to identify the need to recognise a value adjustment and/or provision. Furthermore, positions previously identified as being at risk are re-assessed quarterly. The value adjustment is updated if needed.
Value of collateral
Every mortgage loan is preceded by a recent valuation of the underlying collateral. The valuation method varies depending on property type and use. The bank values residential property using a hedonic pricing model together with the real value method. This approach compares the price of property transactions that have similar characteristics to the real estate being valued. The bank uses the income capitalisation method for multi-family units, commercial real estate and special properties. Raiffeisen Switzerland's valuers or external accredited valuers must be involved if the real estate's collateral value exceeds a certain amount or if the real estate has special risks. The liquidation value is calculated if the borrower's creditworthiness is poor.
The bank bases its loan on the lower of an internal or external valuation and the purchase price or capital expenditure (if incurred no more than 24 months previously).
Loans against securities
The bank primarily accepts transferable, liquid and actively traded financial instruments (such as bonds and equities) as collateral for Lombard loans and other loans against securities. The bank also accepts transferable structured products for which there is regular share price information and a market maker.
The bank discounts market values to account for the market risk associated with liquid, marketable securities and to determine the collateral value. The settlement period for structured products and long-tenor products may be considerably longer, and so they are discounted more heavily than liquid instruments. Discounts on life insurance policies or guarantees are dictated by the product.
Business policy on the use of derivative financial instruments and hedge accounting
Business policy on the use of derivative financial instruments
Derivative financial instruments are used for trading and hedging purposes.
Derivative financial instruments are only traded by specially trained traders. The bank does not make markets. It trades standardised and OTC instruments for its own and clients' account, particularly interest and currency instruments.
Hedges in the banking book are created by means of internal deposits and loans with the trading book; the Treasury does not take out hedges directly in the market. Hedges in the trading book are usually executed through offsetting trades with external counterparties.
Use of hedge accounting
Types of hedged items and hedging instruments
The bank uses hedge accounting predominantly for the following types of transactions:
Composition of the groups of financial instruments
Interest rate sensitive positions in the banking book are grouped into various time bands by currency and hedged accordingly using macro hedges. The bank also uses micro hedges.
Economic connection between hedged items and hedging instruments
At the inception of a hedge relationship between a financial instrument and an item, the bank documents the relationship between the hedging instrument and the hedged item. The documentation covers things such as the risk management goals and strategy for the hedging instrument and the methods used to assess the effectiveness of the hedge. Effectiveness testing constantly and prospectively assesses the economic relationship between the hedged item and the hedging instrument by actions such as measuring offsetting changes in the value of the hedged item and the hedging instrument and determining the correlation between these changes.
A hedge is deemed to be highly effective if the following criteria are substantially met:
- –The hedge is determined to be highly effective both at inception and on an ongoing basis (micro hedges)
- –There is a close economic connection between the hedged item and the hedging instrument
- –The changes in the value of the hedged item offset changes in the value of the hedging instrument with respect to the hedged risk
If a hedge no longer meets the effectiveness criteria, it is treated as a trading portfolio asset and any gain or loss from the ineffective part is recognised in the income statement.
Accounting and valuation principles
Accounting, valuation and reporting conform to the requirements of the Swiss Code of Obligations, the Swiss Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks (plus the related ordinance) and FINMA Circular 2015/1 Accounting – Banks (ARB).
The detailed positions shown for a balance sheet item are valued individually.
Single-entity financial statements are prepared subject to the above regulations and present a reliable view. Unlike financial statements prepared in accordance with the true and fair view principle, single-entity financial statements may include hidden reserves.
Raiffeisen Switzerland publishes the consolidated annual financial statements of the Raiffeisen Group in a separate annual report. This includes the annual financial statements of all the individual Raiffeisen banks, Raiffeisen Switzerland and major subsidiaries in which the Group directly or indirectly holds more than 50% of the voting shares. Raiffeisen Switzerland has therefore chosen not to prepare consolidated subgroup accounts that include the annual financial statement of Raiffeisen Switzerland and its majority interests.
Accounting and valuation principles
Recording of business transactions
All business transactions that have been concluded by the balance sheet date are recorded on a same-day basis in the balance sheet and the income statement in accordance with the relevant valuation principles. Spot transactions that have been concluded but not yet settled are posted to the balance sheet on the trade date.
Assets, liabilities and cash positions in foreign currencies are converted at the exchange rate prevailing on the balance sheet date. Exchange rate gains and losses arising from this valuation are reported under "Result from trading activities". Foreign currency transactions during the course of the year are converted at the rate prevailing at the time the transaction was carried out.
Liquid assets, borrowed funds
These are reported at nominal value. Precious metal liabilities on metal accounts are valued at fair value if the relevant metal is traded on a price-efficient and liquid market.
Discounts and premiums on the Group's own bond issues and central mortgage institution loans are accrued over the period to maturity.
Amounts due from banks and clients, mortgage loans
These are reported at nominal value less any value adjustment required. Precious metal assets on metal accounts are valued at fair value if the relevant metal is traded on a price-efficient and liquid market. Interest income is reported on an accruals basis.
Receivables are deemed to be impaired where the bank believes it improbable that the borrower will be able to completely fulfil his/her contractual obligations. Impaired loans – and any collateral that may exist – are valued on the basis of the liquidation value.
Impaired loans are subject to provisions based on regular analyses of individual loan commitments, while taking into account the creditworthiness of the borrower, the counterparty risk and the estimated net realisable sale value of the collateral. If recovery of the amount receivable depends solely on the collateral being realised, full provision is made for the unsecured portion.
Value adjustments are not recognised for latent risks.
If a loan is impaired, it may be possible to maintain an available credit limit as part of a continuation strategy. If necessary, provisions for off-balance-sheet transactions are recognised for these kinds of unused credit limits. For current account overdrafts, which typically show considerable, frequent volatility over time, initial and subsequent provisions are recognised for the total amount (i.e. value adjustments for effective drawdowns and provisions for available limits) under "Changes in value adjustments for default risks and losses from the interest operations". If drawdowns change, a corresponding amount is transferred between value adjustments and provisions in equity. Reversals of value adjustments or provisions are also recognised under "Changes in value adjustments for default risks and losses from the interest operations".
Interest and related commissions that have been due for more than 90 days, but have not been paid, are deemed to be non-performing. In the case of current account overdrafts, interest and commissions are deemed to be non-performing if the specified overdraft limit is exceeded for more than 90 days. Non-performing and impaired interest (including accrued interest) and commissions are no longer recognised as income but reported directly under value adjustments for default risks.
A receivable is written off at the latest when completion of the realisation process has been confirmed by legal title.
However, impaired loans are written back up in full, i.e. the value adjustment is reversed, if payments of outstanding principal and interest are resumed on schedule in accordance with contractual provisions and additional creditworthiness criteria are fulfilled.
Provision for credit items is calculated per item on a prudential basis and deducted from the appropriate receivable.
All leased objects are reported in the balance sheet as "Amounts due from customers" in line with the present-value method.
Receivables and liabilities from securities financing transactions
Securities lending and borrowing
Securities lending and borrowing transactions are reported at the value of the cash collateral received or issued, including accrued interest.
Securities that are borrowed or received as collateral are only reported in the balance sheet if Raiffeisen Switzerland takes control of the contractual rights associated with them. Securities that are loaned or provided as collateral are only removed from the balance sheet if Raiffeisen Switzerland forfeits the contractual rights associated with them. The market values of the borrowed and loaned securities are monitored daily so that any additional collateral can be provided or requested as necessary.
Fees received or paid under securities lending and repurchase transactions are booked to commission income or commission expenses on an accruals basis.
Repurchase and reverse repurchase transactions
Securities purchased with an agreement to resell (reverse repurchase transactions) and securities sold with an agreement to buy back (repurchase transactions) are regarded as secured financing transactions and are recorded at the value of the cash collateral received or provided, including accrued interest.
Securities received and delivered are only recorded in / removed from the balance sheet if control of the contractual rights associated with them is transferred. The market values of the received or delivered securities are monitored daily so that any additional collateral can be provided or requested as necessary.
Interest income from reverse repurchase transactions and interest expenditure from repurchase transactions are accrued over the term of the underlying transaction.
Trading portfolio assets and trading portfolio liabilities
The trading portfolio assets and trading portfolio liabilities are valued and recognised at fair value. Positions for which there is no representative market are valued according to the lower of cost or market value principle. Both measured and realised gains and losses during the period in question are reported under "Result from trading activities"; this also applies to interest and dividend income on trading positions. The funding costs for holding trading positions are charged to trading profits and credited to interest income. Income from firm commitments to securities issues are also reported under trading profits.
Fixed-income debt instruments and warrant bonds are valued according to the lower of cost or market value principle if there is no intention to hold them to maturity.
Debt instruments acquired with the intention of holding them to maturity are valued according to the accrual method with the discount or premium accrued over the remaining life.
Equity securities are valued according to the lower of cost or market value principle.
Real estate and equity securities acquired through lending activities that are intended for disposal are reported under "Financial investments" and valued according to the lower of cost or market value principle. The "lower of cost or market value" refers to the lower of the initial value or the liquidation value.
Precious metals held to cover liabilities from precious metals accounts are carried at market value as at the balance sheet date. In cases where fair value cannot be determined, they are valued according to the lower of cost or market value principle.
Shares and other equity securities in companies that are held for the purpose of a long-term investment are shown under "Participations", irrespective of the proportion of voting shares held.
All participations in communal facilities are also reported here. Minor participations are not listed individually if the Group holds less than 10% of the voting shares and equity capital and its holding is either worth less than CHF 1 million of the equity capital or the book value is less than CHF 10 million. These are valued in accordance with the principle of acquisition cost, i.e. acquisition cost less operationally required value adjustments. Participations may contain hidden reserves.
Tangible fixed assets
Tangible fixed assets are reported at their purchase cost plus value-enhancing investments and depreciated on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful life, as follows:
Immaterial investments are booked directly to operating expenses. Large-scale, value-enhancing renovations are capitalised, while repairs and maintenance are booked directly to the income statement. Tangible fixed assets may contain hidden reserves. Expenditure incurred in connection with the implementation of the future core banking systems is recognised as an asset through "Other ordinary income". Real estate, buildings under construction and core banking systems are not depreciated until they come into use. Undeveloped building land is not depreciated.
The value of tangible fixed assets is reviewed whenever events or circumstances give reason to suspect that the book value is impaired. Any impairment is recognised in profit or loss under "Value adjustments on participations and depreciation and amortisations of tangible fixed assets and intangible assets". If the useful life of a tangible fixed asset changes as a result of the review, the residual book value is depreciated over the new duration.
Other intangible assets
Acquired intangible assets are recognized where they provide the Group with a measurable benefit over several years. Intangible assets created by the Group itself are not capitalised. Intangible assets are recognised at acquisition cost and amortised on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful life within a maximum of five years.
The value of intangible assets is reviewed whenever events or circumstances give reason to suspect that the book value is impaired. Any impairment is recognised in profit or loss under "Value adjustments on participations and depreciation and amortisations of tangible fixed assets and intangible assets". If the useful life of an intangible asset changes as a result of the review, the residual book value is depreciated over the new duration.
Provisions are recognised on a prudential basis for all risks identified at the balance sheet date that are based on a past event and will probably result in an outflow of resources. Provisions for available overdraft limits are described in the section entitled "Amounts due from banks and clients, mortgage loans".
Reserves for general banking risks
Reserves may be allocated for general banking risks. These are reserves created as a precautionary measure in accordance with accounting standards to hedge against latent risks in the business activities of the bank. These reserves are counted as capital in accordance with Art. 21 para. 1 letter c of the Capital Adequacy Ordinance and are partially taxable (see "Value adjustments, provisions and reserves for general banking risks" table in the Notes).
Taxes are calculated and booked on the basis of the profit for the current year.
Contingent liabilities, irrevocable commitments, obligations to make payments and additional contributions
These are reported at their nominal value under "Off-balance-sheet transactions". Provisions are created for foreseeable risks.
Derivative financial instruments
The replacement values of all contracts concluded on the bank's own account are recognised in the balance sheet regardless of their income statement treatment. The replacement values of exchange-traded contracts concluded on a commission basis are reported only to the extent that they are not covered by margin deposits. The replacement values of over-the-counter contracts concluded on a commission basis are always reported.
All Treasury hedging transactions are concluded via the trading book; the Treasury does not participate in the market itself. Only the replacement values of contracts with external counterparties are reported. The "Open derivative financial instruments" note shows the replacement values and contract volume with external counterparties. The volume of internal Treasury hedging transactions is reported under hedging instruments.
In the case of issued structured products that include a debt security, the derivative is split from the underlying contract and valued separately. The debt securities (underlying contracts) are reported at nominal value under "Bonds and central mortgage institution loans". Discounts and premiums are reported under the item "Accrued expenses and deferred income" or "Accrued income and prepaid expenses", as the case may be, and realised against the interest income over the remaining life. Issued structured products that do not include a debt security and the derivative portions of the structured products that include a debt security are recognised at fair value under "Positive replacement values of derivative financial instruments" and "Negative replacement values of derivative financial instruments".
Treatment in the income statement
The derivative financial instruments recorded in the trading book are valued on a fair-value basis.
Derivative financial instruments used to hedge risk associated with fluctuating interest rates as part of balance sheet "structural management" are valued in accordance with the accrual method. Interest-related gains and losses arising from the early realisation of contracts are accrued over their remaining lives.
The net income from self-issued structured products and the net income from the commission-based issue of structured products by other issuers are booked under "Commission income from securities and investment activity".
Changes as against previous year
Information regarding self-issued structured products was added to the accounting and valuation principles in the current year.
Events after the balance sheet date
No material events occurred between the balance sheet date (31 December 2016) and the drawing up of the annual financial statement that would have required disclosure in the balance sheet and/or notes.