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2019 General Meeting of Shareholders of Vontobel Holding AG
- All motions proposed by the Board of Directors approved by a convincing majority
- Proposed dividend of CHF 2.10 approved by a large majority
- All members of the Board of Directors confirmed in office
- Vontobel remains on course for growth
- Client assets reached CHF 207.1 billion at the end of February 2019
- More subdued start to 2019 compared to the very strong first quarter of 2018
- Investments in strategic priorities for future growth
At the 2019 General Meeting of Shareholders of Vontobel Holding AG on April 2, 2019, in Zurich, shareholders approved all the motions proposed by the Board of Directors by a convincing majority. They voted in favor of accepting the annual and consolidated financial statements for 2018. In addition, they granted discharge to the members of the Board of Directors and the Executive Board for the financial year 2018. Shareholders approved the Compensation Report as well as the aggregate amounts of compensation for the Board of Directors and the Executive Board. In line with best practice in the area of corporate governance, Vontobel gives shareholders a consultative vote on the Compensation Report.
Dividend payout of CHF 2.10 per share approved
Shareholders approved the Board of Directors’ proposal to distribute a dividend of CHF 2.10 per share. The dividend will be paid out from April 8, 2019, after the deduction of 35% withholding tax; this corresponds to a payout ratio of 53%. Including the dividend for the financial year 2018, Vontobel has distributed more than CHF 1.5 billion to shareholders since 2003.
Re-election of all members of the Board of Directors
The members of the Board of Directors standing for re-election – Bruno Basler, Dr. Maja Baumann, Dr. Elisabeth Bourqui, David Cole, Stefan Loacker, Dr. Frank Schnewlin, Clara C. Streit and Björn Wettergren – were each confirmed in office for a further term by a large majority. Herbert J. Scheidt was re-elected as Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors of Vontobel Holding AG for another year, also by a large majority. The members of the Nomination and Compensation Committee – Bruno Basler, Clara C. Streit und Björn Wettergren – were confirmed in office. Dr. Elisabeth Bourqui was elected to the Nomination and Compensation Committee as a replacement for David Cole.
Continue investing and grow with prudence and solidity
In his Chairman’s address, Herbert J. Scheidt, Chairman of the Board of Directors, emphasized that in the past few years, Vontobel has systematically exploited opportunities to achieve growth organically and through targeted, value-creating acquisitions. “We have grown to generate a broader revenue base in order to meet the increased demands of digitalization and invest our own resources in new growth. And we will continue to invest and grow. We are doing so based on a prudent, solid approach. And we are thinking long term for our shareholders and acting systematically in the interests of our clients,” Herbert J. Scheidt told the General Meeting of Shareholders. Turning to 2019, he stated that all of Vontobel’s efforts are focused on transforming the investments made in recent years into profits. “We will drive forward the digitalization of our processes and services in order to become even more efficient, competitive and profitable. And we will further expand our international activities – wherever we see substantial, attractive growth opportunities over the long term.” In particular, digitalization is a source of opportunities for companies like Vontobel. “Thanks to the power of digitalization, we can act globally and also provide individual, optimal service to different client groups in different countries with a wide range of needs,” he explained. Vontobel is developing digital solutions in many areas and across all its divisions. “Our new ‘Digital Hub’ in Zurich brings together Wea lth Management professionals, relationship managers and digital experts in one location to develop new solutions for our client s,” stated Herbert J. Scheidt. In its strategy, the Board of Directors has taken account of the fact that in today’s digital world, it is necessary to invest more each year than was previously the case. “We can make these investments today because we laid the necessary foundations over many years and especially in 2018,” stated the Chairman of the Board of Directors. “We have achieved above-average organic growth in recent years and we have increased our revenues year after year. This has given us the scope to make forward-looking investments.” Vontobel took a major and decisive step last year with the acquisition of Notenstein La Roche Privatbank AG. “This has enabled us to take our revenue base to a whole new level. And it will ensure that we can continue to invest in talents and technologies in the future,” he stated. From a strategic perspective, the transaction has enabled Vontobel to reinforce the balance between the three business divisions, Wealth Management, Investment Banking and Asset Management. Herbert J. Scheidt considers Vontobel to be strategically well positioned to continue to perform successfully, including in a difficult environment.
Advised client assets grew by around 8% in the first two months of 2019
Zeno Staub, CEO of Vontobel, looked back on a good financial result for 2018 despite the challenging market environment. He told the General Meeting of Shareholders: “Our financial result for 2018 confirms the effectiveness of the growth strategy we have pursued in recent years and justifies our high level of confidence that we will be able to follow our own path during this period of structural change in the finance industry and emerge as a winner. We are well on track to achieve our targets for 2020.” In his outlook for 2019, he emphasized that compared to the really strong first quarter of 2018, Vontobel had a more subdued start to 2019. He explained that after price losses at the end of 2018, the markets recovered, with advised client assets reaching CHF 207.1 billion in February 2019, compared to CHF 192.6 billion at the end of 2018. This corresponds to an increase of around 8% compared to the end of 2018. This growth is largely attributable to positive market developments but also reflects contributions from net new money that was generated primarily in Asset Management. Vontobel nevertheless expects to see growing political and economic uncertainty and volatile markets. “We anticipate that the market environment will remain very challenging in 2019 and will be characterized by continued pressure on margins. However, we will continue to systematically focus on growth and on client-oriented priorities, while at the same time assigning a high level of importance to operating efficiency,” stated Zeno Staub. He added: “In 2019, we will continue on our growth path and aim to further strengthen our market position in our core markets.”
Further information about Vontobel’s General Meeting of Shareholders, including the voting results on all items on the agenda, is available at: www.vontobel.com/gv
At Vontobel, we actively shape the future. We create and pursue opportunities with determination. We master what we do – and we only do what we master. This is how we get our clients ahead. As a globally operating financial expert with Swiss roots, we specialize in wealth management, active asset management and investment solutions. We empower our employees to take ownership of their work and bring opportunities to life. Because we are convinced that successful investing starts with assuming personal responsibility. We relentlessly question the achieved, striving to exceed the goals and expectations of our clients. The registered shares of the Vontobel Holding AG are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. The Vontobel families' close ties to the company guarantee our entrepreneurial independence. We consider the resulting freedom an obligation to assume social responsibility as well. As of December 31, 2018 Vontobel held CHF 247.3 billion of total client assets. Around the world and in our home market, we serve our clients from 26 locations.
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