Private and investment clients
Demand for suitable investment solutions has continued to rise
Raiffeisen's investment business has continued to grow in 2018, despite the negative market environment. Net new money for securities rose 29% year-on-year. The increase was driven by the optimised product offering of the Raiffeisen banks and strong demand for asset management, sustainable investments and fund savings plans. The broadened product and service range and greater sales activities enabled Raiffeisen to respond promptly to client needs.
Specifically, new asset management mandates were launched in 2018. They are designed for individuals who would like to have an investment expert devote his or her time and energy to managing their assets. Raiffeisen asset management mandates make it possible to consider clients' various investment focuses in terms of geography, themes and currency. Given the good performance, Raiffeisen plans to expand its asset management activities even further in 2019.
Another investment issue in the current year was sustainability. The volume of investment products bearing the "Raiffeisen Futura" label went up 13% in 2018. This satisfying increase was a result of greater sales efforts and growth in investment advisory services. It was also driven by the new asset management mandates because sustainability is also an important element of the "Futura in Swiss Francs" asset management mandate.
Another key pillar of investment activity consists of clients who wish to build wealth through a fund savings plan or retirement custody account. Raiffeisen has been able to position itself as a competent provider in this domain. In 2018, the number of fund savings plans went up 23%; the number of retirement custody accounts rose 32%.
By constantly improving its expertise and expanding its sales activities, Raiffeisen intends to continue growing at a steady pace and to drive revenue diversification in the years ahead.
In addition to the principal activities described in the investment business, the pool of experts for pension and succession planning was continuously extended in order to meet the growing demand due to demographic changes.
Apart from investment activity, Raiffeisen expanded other services in 2018 as well. Raiffeisen Immo AG, which is responsible for the marketing of property, successfully commenced operations in 2018. Furthermore, Raiffeisen will combine its overall expertise in housing and home ownership under one uniform brand: "RaiffeisenCasa".
Last year, RaiffeisenCasa grew by adding the element of legal counselling. This new service was established in cooperation with "Beobachter", a magazine, and Guider.ch, a digital legal advisory platform. This move has positioned Raiffeisen as an all-in-one partner for all things related to the home.
Raiffeisen members enjoy benefits over a million times
Raiffeisen rewards client loyalty with membership benefits. Its 1.9 million members used their membership benefits over one million times in 2018, enjoying perks such as the museum pass, one-day ski passes and event tickets discounted up to 50%. The "Swiss brands" membership programme gave members an opportunity to visit more than 60 storied companies throughout Switzerland and see for themselves what the firms do.
Crowdfunding opportunities and services more attractive for clubs
Raiffeisen supports club volunteer efforts even better through its new club package. Specifically, Raiffeisen is offers the following:
- –Banking products tailored to clubs such as club accounts, savings accounts, account cards and e-banking.
- –Access to the donation portal lokalhelden.ch, a portal where clubs can collect funds, materials and volunteer hours.
- –A 25% discount on ClubDesk software.
In particular, Lokalhelden.ch, the free crowdfunding platform, was involved in countless success stories in 2018. To put it in figures:
- –4,925,382: Amount in Swiss francs donated through the platform last year.
- –12,856: Number of supporters who made at least one donation in 2018.
- –202: Number of projects successfully financed in 2018.
200,000 corporate clients – one-third of companies trust Raiffeisen
The Swiss economy had a strong year in 2018, with GDP growth of around 2.5%. Particularly noteworthy was the performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have helped to drive this growth with their vision and innovativeness. With our close relationships and deep familiarity with corporate clients, we have succeeded in providing needs-oriented advisory services to business owners. As a result, the Corporate Client segment has grown further, expanding the Raiffeisen Group's client base. At the end of 2018, corporate customer number 200,000 was welcomed to Raiffeisen. According to the Federal Statistical Office (BFS), this equates to about every third company in Switzerland.
The Raiffeisen Group's capabilities are in greater demand than ever. SMEs in particular want to reduce their risk exposure in international transactions. They need a banking partner who can pair an understanding of companies' local circumstances with knowledge of target markets. Demand is also strong for services such as export financing, guarantees, interest rate and currency hedging, international payments and market information. The Raiffeisen network – coupled with the local knowledge represented by the 246 Raiffeisen banks – can assemble custom solutions to counter the complexity presented by hedging and liquidity management.
The Raiffeisen Group has also expanded its service range for business owners. Companies can now access additional hedging and financing options for cross-border transactions. We are continuously expanding our service portfolio so that corporate clients can make quick, easy use of the fundamental services they need.
When it comes to implementing new technologies or other digital transformation projects, we provide comprehensive advisory services that often go beyond the traditional conception of a client/bank relationship. Thanks to specialist teams in all language regions, the Raiffeisen Group offers business owners access to Switzerland's largest corporate client network. Together with network partners, clients receive support in all issues that a company faces over its lifecycle.
The network comprises the Raiffeisen banks, Business Broker AG (succession planning), Vorsorge Partner AG and the Raiffeisen Business Owner Centre (Raiffeisen Unternehmerzentrum, RUZ). Western Switzerland's first location of the Raiffeisen Business Owner Centre (RUZ) opened its doors in Yverdon-les-Bains in autumn 2018. By appointing a new CEO of Business Broker AG, we effectively strengthened the Raiffeisen network in succession planning and corporate transactions.
Promoting local entrepreneurship remains a core concern for the Raiffeisen Group. Raiffeisen honours the valuable contributions that innovative SMEs make to their region and Switzerland as a whole by awarding the "Golden David" prize for entrepreneurship. In 2018, the prize was awarded in Central Switzerland. In 2019, companies in the french speaking part of Switzerland and in Eastern Switzerland will be the focus of two prizes.
Raiffeisen will resolutely pursue its strategy in the corporate client business in 2019. It will expand its range of services as well as the Raiffeisen network in order to better meet clients' needs. For example, the new Raiffeisen Business Owner Centre (RUZ) in Bern-Burgdorf strengthens Raiffeisen's presence in the Mittelland region. Strategic partnerships are being expanded, as is the Industry 4.0 collaboration between RUZ and Swissmem, an industry association.