Vontobel is very well positioned in a global growth industry
The wealth and asset management industry is expanding globally due to continued wealth creation that is driven by positive savings rates and long-term capital appreciation. The attractive growth of the industry far exceeds GDP growth.
As a globally active financial expert with Swiss roots, Vontobel specializes in wealth management, active asset management and investment solutions. We are driven by the power of possibility and we consistently strive to be successful in all that we do. We master what we do – and we only do what we master. This is how we help our clients to get ahead. The numerous awards we have received from renowned institutions are a reflection of our outstanding product and service offering.
Vontobel thinks and acts in terms of client needs and delivers best-fit solutions
We have a strong presence in our Swiss home market and we are rapidly growing our footprint in international markets. 60% of our advised client assets comes from international clients. Our goal is to continue achieving above-market growth in the future and to gain further market share. This requires targeted investments in our business models. In Wealth Management, we aspire to become the leading Swiss provider with our offering that is tailored to the specific needs of Swiss and international clients. We are also continuously expanding our team of first-class relationship managers. In Asset Management, we want to gain additional market share based on our positioning as a high-conviction asset manager, our excellent product range and our global distribution network. In Digital Investing we focus on investment solutions for private investors either directly or via ecosystems. Across all our core activities, we are using the benefits of digitization to offer an improved client experience and to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery.
Vontobel assumes its responsibility
Vontobel’s commitment to operating responsibly has been enshrined in our corporate culture ever since our company was founded. We assign importance to various aspects of sustainability: Vontobel has published a comprehensive Sustainability Report each year since 2006 and has been a member of the CDP since 2008. Our operations have been climate neutral since 2009. Vontobel signed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) in 2010. In the 2020 PRI reporting, Vontobel’s rating was higher than average for five of the seven modules that were assessed. In 2021, Vontobel Asset Management became the first list signatory to the UK Stewardship Code 2020. Signatories to this strict standard have to submit a report to the UK Financial Reporting Council for assessment. Renowned rating agencies such as MSCI and Sustainalytics have assigned Vontobel above-average sustainability ratings. We also offer our clients sustainable investment solutions. This area has experienced significant growth in recent years and Vontobel has established a strong market position: We currently manage CHF 144 billion of assets allocated to investment solutions that take account of ESG criteria and we regularly receive awards for the corresponding products. Further, we have expanded our sustainability positioning to include six commitments that set out our contribution to a more sustainable economy and society.
Vontobel demonstrates strong financial discipline
Vontobel is positioned as a globally active financial expert with a capital-light business model. Our capital base consists exclusively of common equity and significantly exceeds regulatory requirements. Since 2003, Vontobel has generated an average return on equity of more than 12% and has provided an attractive dividend yield for shareholders thanks to a generous payout ratio. Over the last ten years, the distribution per share has never been reduced and the dividend has more than doubled over that period. Overall, our shareholders have benefited from dividend payouts and share repurchases of around CHF 1.3 billion over the last decade. The stability of our business model was also particularly evident during the last financial crisis, when there was no dilution of our shareholders.
A client-centric investment firm – clearly positioned for clients and investors
The demand for professional investment solutions and individually tailored expert investment advice is growing constantly across all client groups and sections of the population. This trend is driven by the protracted phase of low interest rates and the challenging investment environment associated with it. It also reflects the strong need to invest – both individually and as a society – also as a means of addressing the increasing pension funding gap around the world. The corona pandemic further intensified these trends. Investing is the new form of saving.
At the same time, the wishes and behavior of clients are evolving – due in particular to ever faster technological advances and the new opportunities they create. Today, investors expect individual solutions at any time, in any location: They want problems to be solved in a single click.
We are shaping our future direction based on our four strategic levers. Client-centric and investment-led are levers that are closely connected so that we can offer the best investment solutions that are tailored to client needs. Vontobel is convinced that client focus and investment expertise remain key to the success of our clients and the company. We are technology-enabled and intend to make even greater use of the power of technology. We could not achieve all this without our employees. We are powered by people because they make the difference in our industry – today and in the future.
Move to a pure-play investment manager based on four strategic levers
Our Vision 2030 – our Lighthouse
The changes in our operating environment prompted us to think even longer term. Our targets are based on our longer-term vision – our Lighthouse. It describes how we want to be perceived in 2030 – and what we want to achieve by then. By concentrating on a shared long-term goal, we can ensure that the entire Vontobel organization is working together and moving in the same direction.
Based on Vontobel’s client-centric and long-term Vision 2030 as a global buy-side investment firm, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee defined five strategic priorities in 2020. To ensure the requisite degree of agility and flexibility, they have broken down the clear long-term vision into cycles with concrete results.
Future business planning is therefore focused on an agile rolling two-year plan that align our efforts to initiate, pursue and firmly establish our long-term goals with our focus on the growth of our existing businesses as well as the generation of income over the short and medium term. The priorities 2020–2022 provide a framework and form the foundations for a rolling plan.
Deliver the Vontobel experience
places the client experience at the heart of our brand vision. It puts the client at the center and links the creation of value with a positive client experience: Client-centric and investment-led. An outstanding client experience is essential to meet the expectations of our clients. In this way, we create decisive value and a stronger emotional attachment to the brand. We have already achieved a lot in recent years, as well as creating a series of tools and establishing the basis to deliver maximum impact.
Deliver a pure-play investment firm to all clients
reflects our commitment resulting from our vision to become a pure-play client-centric investment firm that leverages its investment expertise and provides solutions for all clients. The quality of the investment offering is the key to our success and is demonstrated, among other things, by our stable margins in recent years. We want to maintain these margins in the future.
Both of the above priorities build on our strength and are designed to drive forward our business. We are client-centric and, at the same time, investment-led.
Deliver on tipping points to our future growth ambition
targets the next growth wave. The individual tipping points form the critical milestones that we want to reach over the long-term. We will work systematically to transform our long-term vision into a reality by 2030.
Deliver the power of technology, data & analytics
refers to technology and its development into another core competency. We have laid the foundations for this in recent years. We are ready to incorporate technology into everything we do and to reap the benefits of these efforts in the form of increased client satisfaction, efficient processes and better insights / analysis.
Deliver a great place to work for people who want to excel
recognizes the importance of our employees, their commitments, and their skills and abilities. In 2021, Vontobel’s management will focus even more on employee development with a particular emphasis on strengthening leadership skills across the entire firm. These efforts aim to make Vontobel one of the most attractive places to work in order to attract and retain top talents.
Vontobel has ambitious mid-term goals for 2022
Building on these strategic priorities, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee have extended the ambitious targets for growth, profitability, capital and dividends to 2022.
In specific terms, this means Vontobel wants to:
Outgrow the market in all core activities with top-line growth and net new money growth of 4–6 % p.a.
Generate a higher return on equity of more than 14 %, clearly exceeding the cost of capital; achieve a cost / income ratio of less than 72 %
Maintain a very strong capital position with a CET1 capital ratio of more than 12 % and a total capital ratio of more than 16 %
Distribute profits not used for organic growth and M&A to shareholders, with a target payout ratio of more than 50 % for shareholders.