Notes to the consolidated annual financial statements
Trading name, legal form, registered office
The Raiffeisen Group is a bank group without legal personality. It comprises 255 independent Raiffeisen banks in the legal form of a cooperative, Raiffeisen Switzerland domiciled in St.Gallen, and the associated Group companies.
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. The Raiffeisen Group views entering into risks as one of its core competences. 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 against high exceptional losses while safeguarding and strengthening its good reputation. The Raiffeisen Group's risk management is organised using the three-lines-of-defence model: Risks are managed by the responsible line units (first line). Group Risk Controlling ensures that the risk policy is observed and enforced, and the Compliance unit ensures that regulatory provisions are adhered to (second line). Internal Auditing ensures the independent review of the risk management framework (third line).
The Raiffeisen Group 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 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.
Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd conducts risk control activities of its own – within overall limits defined by the Board of Directors and the Executive Board of Raiffeisen Switzerland – which are separate from the risk control activities of the risk-taking units. Raiffeisen Switzerland monitors the risk controls and risk exposure of its subsidiaries and ensures that Raiffeisen Switzerland's Board of Directors receives integrated risk reports that include Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd. Raiffeisen Switzerland is under contract to control risks for ARIZON Sourcing Ltd. The Investnet Group is monitored based on its assigned risk control level. Raiffeisen Switzerland monitors the minimum risk management requirements. There is a periodic exchange with the risk control owner.
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
Raiffeisen Group's risk management systems aim 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 appetite, i.e. ensure that risks are only entered into if they offer suitable return potential.
The business units of the Raiffeisen banks and Raiffeisen Switzerland manage their credit risk autonomously, though still in accordance with Group-wide standards. The standards may be different for Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd, which enters into commitments that are immaterial to the Group's risk situation.
Credit risks are defined in the 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.
The Raiffeisen Group identifies, assesses, manages and monitors the following risks in its 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.
Collateral risks accrue from impairments in the value of collateral.
Concentration 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.
Retail banking in Switzerland is the Raiffeisen Group's core business. In order to broaden the earnings base, spread risks more widely and cover client needs more comprehensively, the Raiffeisen Group aims to diversify its business areas based on its core business. In particular, it plans to cultivate the investment and corporate client business more intensively.
Raiffeisen banks are chiefly exposed to counterparty, collateral and concentration risks. The majority of these risks result from loans granted to private or corporate clients. Corporate clients are mainly small and medium-sized companies that operate within the business areas of Raiffeisen banks. Credit risks are limited primarily by securing the underlying claims. This notwithstanding, creditworthiness and solvency are key prerequisites for the granting of loans. The Articles of Association of Raiffeisen banks stipulate limits for the acceptance of credit risks arising from uncovered transactions; uncovered loans to private clients are generally not possible and require the approval of Raiffeisen Switzerland. Loans to corporate clients over CHF 250,000 must be hedged with Raiffeisen Switzerland.
Like the Raiffeisen banks, the Raiffeisen Switzerland branches primarily incur counterparty, collateral and concentration risks. These branches are part of the Branches & Regions department and extend credit to private and corporate clients.
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 75 million on a risk-weighted basis, the CRO (Chief Risk Officer) issues an assessment. The CRO's 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, as well as the hedging of currency, fluctuating interest rate and proprietary trading risks. The Central Bank department may only conduct international transactions when country-specific limits have been approved and established.
Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd has its own access to the market and manages its banking and country risks as part of the Group's centralised limit management.
New financing transactions of KMU Capital AG are reviewed by KMU Capital AG's Investment Committee. The Investment Committee consists of six members, with Raiffeisen Switzerland providing two representatives.
Pursuant to the Articles of Association, commitments abroad 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. The Raiffeisen Group concluded a Swiss master agreement for OTC derivative instruments with most of the Central Bank counterparties whose OTC transactions are not cleared centrally, as well as a credit support appendix for variation margins. Credit support is exchanged by transferring the margin requirement, which is calculated daily. These OTC commitments are managed and monitored on a net basis.
Raiffeisen Switzerland invests in other companies as part of strategic cooperation partnerships. Details are provided in note 7 of the information on the balance sheet.
Creditworthiness and solvency are assessed on the basis of compulsory Group-wide standards. Sufficient creditworthiness and the ability to maintain payments must be proven before any loan is approved. Loans to private individuals, legal entities and investment property financing are classified according to internally developed rating models and subject to risk monitoring based on the resulting classification. Clients' creditworthiness is defined based on eleven risk categories and two default 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 at Raiffeisen Switzerland are available to provide assistance for more complex financing arrangements 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, sectors and collateral. The process of identifying and consolidating affiliated counterparties is largely 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. An annual credit portfolio report provides responsible decision-makers with information on the economic environment, the structure of the credit portfolio and developments during the period under review. The report contains an assessment of credit portfolio risk and identifies any need for action.
Evaluating the portfolio structure involves analysing the distribution of the portfolio according to a range of structural characteristics, including, without limitation, category of borrower, type of loan, size of loan, counterparty rating, sector, collateral, geographical features and value adjustments. The Executive Board and the Board of Directors of Raiffeisen Switzerland receive a quarterly risk report detailing the risk situation, risk exposure, limit utilisation and changes in 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 for portfolio-controlling measures, with the main focus being on controlling new business via lending policy.
Effective tools have been implemented to proactively avoid concentrations within the entire Raiffeisen Group. Sector-specific limits have been established. Measures are defined and taken if these limits are reached or exceeded.
Cluster risks are monitored centrally by Financial Risk Control & Methods. As at 31 December 2017, the Raiffeisen Group had no reportable cluster risks. The credit volume of the Raiffeisen Group's ten largest borrowers (excluding interbank business and public-sector entities) as at 31 December 2017 was CHF 1.2 billion (previous year: CHF 1.3 billion).
Risk associated with fluctuating interest rates: Since assets and liabilities are subject to different interest rates, fluctuations in market interest rates can have a considerable impact on the Raiffeisen Group's interest income and shareholder value. Interest rate sensitivity and value at risk are calculated to assess the assumed interest rate risk on the net present value of the equity capital. The impact on profitability is assessed using dynamic income simulations. To measure mark-to-market risk, a gap analysis is performed using all balance-sheet and off-balance-sheet items along with their contractually fixed interest rates. Loans and deposits with non-fixed interest rates and capital commitment periods are replicated on the basis of historical experience. No specific assumptions are made for premature loan repayments because early repayment penalties are generally charged. Risk associated with fluctuating interest rates is managed on a decentralised basis in the responsible units. Interest rate risks are hedged using established instruments. The Treasury of Raiffeisen Switzerland's 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, which accesses the market directly. 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 interest risk limits and prepares associated quarterly reports, while also assessing the Raiffeisen Group's risk situation. Monitoring and reporting is conducted more frequently for individual units.
Other market risk: Since assets in a foreign currency are generally refinanced in the same currency, foreign currency risks can be largely avoided by the Raiffeisen banks.
The financial investment portfolio is managed by the Treasury of the Central Bank department of Raiffeisen Switzerland. 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. In addition, Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd has its own financial investment portfolio, which is managed and monitored by the relevant units at Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd within the overall limits.
The Trading unit, which is part of the Central Bank department, is responsible for managing the Central Bank trading book. Neither the Raiffeisen banks nor the branches of Raiffeisen Switzerland keep a trading book. The Central Bank trades in interest rates, currencies, equities and banknotes/ precious metals. It must strictly adhere to the value-at-risk, sensitivity, position 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.
The Board of Directors of Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd defines the limits for the trading and banking book based on the overall limit assigned by the Board of Directors of Raiffeisen Switzerland. Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd's Treasury is responsible for managing the trading and banking book within the defined limits. Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd's Financial Risk Controlling department monitors compliance with these limits in its capacity as an independent supervisory body.
Compliance with value-at-risk, sensitivity, position and loss limits and the assessment of the risk situation by Group Risk Controlling are primarily communicated via four reports:
- –Daily trading limit report to the responsible Executive Board members
- –Weekly interest rate risk report to responsible Executive Board members in line with FINMA Circular 2008/6
- –Monthly risk report 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 to the Board of Directors
Group Risk Controlling communicates any breaches of market risk limits set by the Board of Directors and Executive Board on an ad hoc basis within the scope of the respective risk reports.
Capital adequacy requirements for market risk relating to the trading book
Liquidity risks are controlled using commercial criteria and monitored by the Treasury and Group Risk Controlling 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. They also include risks relating to cyber-attacks and information security in general. This includes not only the financial impacts, but also the reputational and compliance consequences.
Operational risk tolerance is defined using value-at-risk limits or stop-loss limits and frequencies of occurrence. Risk tolerance is approved annually by the Board of Directors. Group Risk Controlling monitors compliance with risk tolerance. If one of the defined limits or a threshold is exceeded, suitable 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 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 assessments, key risk indicators (KRIs), 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 of Raiffeisen Switzerland.
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.
The Raiffeisen banks analyse their operational risk situation through assessments at least once a year. These analyses are approved by the Board of Directors of each bank and forwarded to Group Risk Controlling.
Group Risk Controlling monitors the operational risks of ARIZON Sourcing Ltd pursuant to a contract. Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd has its own OpRisk team. The CRO of Notenstein has a dotted line reporting relationship with the CRO of the Raiffeisen Group.
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 have 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.
In relation to its activities as an issuer of structured products, Raiffeisen Switzerland concluded an outsourcing agreement with Leonteq Securities Ltd. 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.
According to the FINMA ruling of 3 September 2010, the Raiffeisen banks are exempt from complying on an individual basis with the rules regarding capital adequacy, risk diversification and liquidity. The relevant legal provisions must be complied with on a consolidated basis.
The Swiss National Bank (SNB) classified the Raiffeisen Group as systemically important for purposes of the Swiss Banking Act in a ruling issued on 16 June 2014.
The Raiffeisen Group has opted for the following approaches for calculating capital adequacy requirements:
Raiffeisen uses the international standardised approach (SA-BIS) to calculate the capital adequacy requirements for credit risks.
External issuer/issue ratings from three FINMA-recognised rating agencies are used for central governments and central banks, public-sector entities, banks and securities dealers, as well as companies.
Issuer/issue ratings from an export insurance agency are used for central governments; however, rating agency ratings take precedence over ratings issued by the export insurance agency.
No changes were made to the rating agencies or export insurance agencies used in the current year.
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
Raiffeisen started the FINMA approval process for calculating capital adequacy requirements and measuring and managing credit risk in accordance with the F-IRB approach in 2015 and was awarded "broadly compliant" status in 2016. The approval process is expected to be completed in 2019.
The capital 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 is used for capital adequacy requirements for options. An overview is provided in the "Capital adequacy requirements for market risk relating to the trading book" table.
Raiffeisen uses the basic indicator approach to calculate capital adequacy requirements for operational risks.
Methods applied to identify default risks and to establish 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. Raiffeisen Switzerland's Recovery department is involved in certain cases. Additional collateral may be requested or a value adjustment recognised based on the missing collateral (see also 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' accounts, particularly interest and currency instruments, equity/index securities and, to a limited extent, commodities.
Hedges in the banking book at Raiffeisen Switzerland 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.
Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd uses derivative financial instruments in risk management mainly for hedging interest and foreign currency risks, but also for hedging market risk assumed in connection with issuing structured products. All hedges are taken out with external counterparties.
The Raiffeisen banks trade or hedge derivative financial instruments as a commission agent solely to meet clients' needs.
Use of hedge accounting
The Raiffeisen banks do not use hedge accounting for financial reporting purposes.
Types of hedged items and hedging instruments
Raiffeisen Switzerland and Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd use 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, Raiffeisen Switzerland 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.
Consolidation, 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. The consolidated annual financial statements represent a true and fair view of the Raiffeisen Group's assets, finances and earnings.
The consolidation of the banking institutions that make up the Raiffeisen Group, Raiffeisen Switzerland and the Group companies associated with it differs fundamentally from normal consolidation based on a holding company structure. The individual Raiffeisen banks, as owners of Raiffeisen Switzerland, function as parent companies. Raiffeisen Switzerland is legally a subsidiary even though it acts as the central coordinator, liquidity pool and safety net. The management and regulatory powers of Raiffeisen Switzerland are governed by its Articles of Association and the regulations based on the latter. Consolidation is not based on Raiffeisen Switzerland as a parent company, but represents an aggregation of the annual financial statements of the Raiffeisen banks and the participations held in the Raiffeisen Group. The equity capital in the consolidated annual financial statements is thus the total of the cooperative capital of the individual Raiffeisen banks.
Scope of consolidation and consolidation method
The consolidated accounts of the Raiffeisen Group comprise the annual financial statements of the individual Raiffeisen banks, Raiffeisen Switzerland and major Group companies in which the Group directly or indirectly holds more than 50% of the voting shares. The fully consolidated Group companies and the shareholdings valued according to the equity method are listed in the note "Companies in which the bank holds a permanent direct or indirect significant participation". 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.
Under the full consolidation method, the assets and liabilities, off-balance-sheet transactions, and income and expenses are all recorded in full. Capital is consolidated according to the purchase method. All material amounts receivable and payable, off-balance-sheet transactions, and income and expenses between consolidated companies are offset. Material intercompany profits are not generated and so intercompany profit elimination is ignored in the consolidation.
Minority interests of between 20% and 50% are consolidated according to the equity method. Participations of less than 20%, those with little materiality in terms of capital or income, and those of a non-strategic nature are not consolidated but are instead accounted for at acquisition cost less any operationally required value adjustments.
The closing date for the annual financial statements of all consolidated companies is 31 December.
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 and the fair value option". Foreign currency transactions during the course of the year are converted at the rate prevailing at the time the transaction was carried out.
The balance sheet and off-balance sheet of Group companies abroad that are denominated in foreign currencies are converted at the rates prevailing on the balance sheet date, while the income statement is converted at the average exchange rate for the year. The conversion difference is recognised directly in equity capital as a currency translation difference with no impact on profit and loss.
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 customers, 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. Latent risks are treated as impaired loans. If recovery of the amount receivable depends solely on the collateral being realised, full provision is made for the unsecured portion.
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 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 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.
Individual value adjustments for credit items are 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.
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 which are borrowed or received as collateral are only reported in the balance sheet if the Raiffeisen Group takes control of the contractual rights associated with them. Securities which are loaned or provided as collateral are only removed from the balance sheet if the Raiffeisen Group 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 expense 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 expense 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 the gains and losses arising from this valuation and the gains and losses realised during the period in question are reported under "Result from trading activities and the fair value option". 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 securities 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 the lending activities that are intended for disposal are reported under "Financial investments" and valued at the lower of cost or market. The "lower of cost or market value" principle refers to the lower of the acquisition cost 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.
Non-consolidated participations include minority holdings of between 20% and 50% which are valued according to the equity method.
This balance sheet item also includes holdings of less than 20% and all holdings of an infrastructural nature. These are valued in accordance with the principle of initial value, i.e. initial value less operationally required value adjustments. They are tested for impairment as of each balance sheet date.
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. 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 as at every balance sheet date 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 amortisation 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.
Goodwill: If the cost of acquiring a company is higher than the value of the net assets acquired based on standard Group accounting guidelines, the difference is reported as goodwill. Goodwill is amortised on a straight-line basis over its estimated useful life. The amortisation period is usually five years. In justifiable cases, it may be as high as ten years. If goodwill was on the books as of 31 December 2014 and its useful life was originally estimated to be more than ten years, it is still amortised over its original estimated useful life.
Other intangible assets: Acquired intangible assets are recognised 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.
Impairment testing: The value of intangible assets is reviewed as of every balance sheet date 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 amortisation 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 amortised 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.
Taxes are calculated and booked on the basis of the profit for the current year. Deferred tax of 19.0% (previous year: 19.1%) was calculated on untaxed reserves and reported as a provision for deferred taxes.
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
Reporting: 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 of Raiffeisen Switzerland 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".
The structured products issued by Raiffeisen Switzerland B.V. Amsterdam are valued at fair value. These products are carried at market value under "Liabilities from other financial instruments at fair value".
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
There have been no material changes to the accounting and valuation principles.
Events after the balance sheet date
On 27 February 2018, the Zurich III Public Prosecutor's Office notified Raiffeisen Switzerland that it had instituted criminal proceedings against Dr Pierin Vincenz, the former Chairman of the Executive Board of Raiffeisen Switzerland. He has been charged with acting in bad faith in connection with Aduno and Investnet. Raiffeisen Switzerland has joined the proceedings as a private complainant and has additionally filed a criminal complaint against Dr Pierin Vincenz and other potentially involved individuals. However, these actions have no effect on the current annual financial statements.