Capital structure and liability
Raiffeisen's cooperative model is geared towards the retention of earnings. This means that – with the exception of interest on cooperative shares – net profit is not paid out in dividends, but is instead channelled into the Raiffeisen banks' reserves in order to strengthen the capital base. The Raiffeisen Group's cooperative capital is CHF 2,172.3 million. A precise breakdown and accounting of changes in the current year are provided in note 16.
Changes in equity capital
Resigning cooperative members have the right to redeem their share certificates at their intrinsic value up to a maximum of their par value. The Board of Directors may refuse to redeem share certificates at any time without giving reasons. Share certificates bear interest at a maximum rate of 6%.
Changes in equity capital of the Raiffeisen Group
The Raiffeisen Group guarantees its financial obligations through a balanced system of security measures based on a principle of mutual liability, anchored in its Articles of Association. Working together in a cooperative union is also a strong expression of solidarity, as the fates of the Raiffeisen banks are closely linked as a risk-sharing group. Through the solidarity fund, Raiffeisen Switzerland is also able to cover claims and operating losses beyond what the individual members could afford.
Liability of Raiffeisen Switzerland towards the Raiffeisen banks
In its capacity as principal party, Raiffeisen Switzerland guarantees the liabilities of all Raiffeisen banks. A total of CHF 1.9 billion in equity capital of Raiffeisen Switzerland is available for this purpose. Under the Articles of Association of Raiffeisen Switzerland, the Raiffeisen banks must acquire a share certificate worth CHF 1,000 for every CHF 100,000 of total assets that they hold. This results in a call-in obligation towards Raiffeisen Switzerland of CHF 2.03 billion, of which CHF 894 million has been paid in. Raiffeisen Switzerland has the right to call in the outstanding CHF 1.13 billion from the Raiffeisen banks at any time.
The solidarity fund – in line with the cooperative notion of solidarity that Raiffeisen espouses – is an organisation-wide reserve to cover risks. The fund mainly covers operating losses of Raiffeisen banks. It is financed by contributions from the Raiffeisen banks and the branches of Raiffeisen Switzerland. The disposable fund assets are CHF 337 million.
Duty of the Raiffeisen banks to pay in further capital towards Raiffeisen Switzerland
Raiffeisen banks are bound by the duty to pay in further capital under Art. 871 of the Swiss Code of Obligations up to the amount of their own funds, defined as the disclosed equity capital plus hidden reserves. The duty of Raiffeisen banks to pay in further capital towards Raiffeisen Switzerland is CHF 16.4 billion.
Directive authority of Raiffeisen Switzerland vis-à-vis Raiffeisen banks
According to a FINMA ruling of 3 September 2010, the Raiffeisen Group must comply with the statutory provisions on capital adequacy, risk diversification and liquidity on a consolidated basis. The Raiffeisen banks are exempt from compliance with these provisions at the individual bank level. The conditions for this exemption are that the Raiffeisen banks must join together with Raiffeisen Switzerland, which guarantees all the Raiffeisen banks' obligations, and must grant Raiffeisen Switzerland power to exercise directive authority vis-à-vis the Raiffeisen banks. Raiffeisen Switzerland monitors the Raiffeisen banks' overall position on an ongoing basis, specifically with regard to capital adequacy, earnings, liquidity and risk diversification. If an unfavourable development occurs or is expected at a Raiffeisen bank, Raiffeisen Switzerland assists in drawing up and implementing appropriate measures. In serious cases, Raiffeisen Switzerland has a right of application and directive authority in respect of organisational, operational and HR-related steps.
Major cooperative members
Cooperative members must hold at least one share certificate. If so resolved by the Board of Directors of the respective Raiffeisen bank, cooperative members can also subscribe for more than one share certificate, but only up to 10% of the cooperative capital or CHF 20,000 per cooperative member. Under the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR), the voting rights of any one cooperative member are limited to one vote, irrespective of the number of share certificates held. The Raiffeisen Group has no major cooperative members holding more than 5% of capital or voting rights. Membership of a Raiffeisen bank and the associated rights and obligations are closely tied to the individual/entity in question. This means that individual shares cannot normally be sold on or transferred. A member can nominate another member, their spouse or a descendant to represent them. No proxy may represent more than one member; every proxy requires written authorisation. Representatives of limited partnerships, collective associations or legal entities also require written authorisation.