In line with the Focus2015 strategy, the Private Banking Division of the LLB Group places its business focus on selected client segments and markets, which show development potential and in which it already has a strong position. In 2014, to exploit growth opportunities, we carried out a targeted expansion of our client advisory teams in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Middle East.
Onshore markets of Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Austria
The very good performance of our teams in the onshore markets in 2014 confirmed that Liechtenstein and Switzerland are well positioned as financial centers. Both possess great potential as safe havens to attract investors, who seek safety and stability for their investments. This is supplemented by the unique infrastructure in Liechtenstein and Switzerland in the banking and financial services industry. Consequently, we experienced very high growth in private banking in Liechtenstein in 2014. Bank Linth enjoyed an excellent business year in 2014, which was also reflected in private banking business.
A further key business pillar is our bank in Vienna, LLB (Österreich) AG. After commencing business operations in November 2009 it has already posted a business volume of over CHF 2 billion, increased its earnings by 28 percent and reduced its costs by 10 percent. After just five years of development, in 2014 our bank in Vienna has reached the break-even point. It has become a firm component of the Austrian banking center, which according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is one of the 25 most important financial centers in the world. LLB Austria is successfully attracting new clients both in Austria and in the growth markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
International growth markets of Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East
Wealthy clients expect three qualities from their bank: they attach great importance to financial stability, first-class advice and banking services, as well as an excellent return on their investments in competitive comparison. Our private banking advisers, who look after the target markets of Central and Eastern Europe from Zurich-Erlenbach, Geneva and Vienna, are firmly part of a sound bank having strong investment competence. At the same time, they are well aware of the needs, requirements and behaviour of clients in the local target markets. Against this background, we see further good potential for us as a partner especially for wealthy private clients in the Eastern European EU states and in the highly competitive Russian market.
The same principles apply to the Middle Eastern market region, where we care for our clients locally from our representative offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The booking center for these two offices is in Liechtenstein. Since 2014, we have provided our clients with access to the stock markets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Business men in the Gulf states, who have earned their wealth themselves, are well informed about the local financial markets and they expect partner-like advice, good service and investment performance. Wealthy clients value our commitment to the local market as well as the security that the LLB Group and the Liechtenstein financial center provide.
Traditional core markets of Germany and Western Europe
Consistent client focus is also the decisive criterion for our positioning in the traditional, cross-border markets of Germany and the rest of Western Europe. For our asset management Germany remains an important market. Our client advisers not only have to identify and fulfil constantly changing client requirements, they also have to keep abreast of increasingly complex international regulatory provisions. Against this backdrop, in 2014 we made further investments in our client advisory service and in the quality of our private banking services. We also enhanced our groupwide expertise in the complex issues associated with cross-border banking.
We are well positioned in the German-speaking region. In the classification published by the “FUCHSBRIEFE” information service for 2015, the LLB was ranked among the best 10 banks and asset managers. In the all-time best ranking, the LLB climbed to 15th place.