A stable foundation for repositioning
With the Focus2015 strategy the LLB Group is creating a sustainable new strategic positioning. A binding value system is the foundation of our actions. “It is crucial that actions match words”, says Group CEO Roland Matt.
Mr Matt, it’s said that companies can only move forward if they have a clear goal in mind. How is this achieved with the Focus2015 strategy?
Roland Matt: We’re already two thirds of the way there and we can be very pleased with the results. We acted in a timely and decisive manner to reposition ourselves for sustainability. In the previous year, we were already able to substantially reduce costs and complexity. In 2014, we continued to increase profitability, but we also made targeted investments in innovations and the future. Besides regaining client trust, a new and differentiated strategic positioning is more important than ever.
That’s because the economic and financial crises presented banks with new challenges.
Competition has continued to intensify in both the retail and private banking sector and in the institutional clients business. Client behaviour has changed too. Security and trust are more important nowadays. And not least, banking and product regulations have greatly increased and have become considerably stricter.
A market that is rapidly changing also provides opportunities, doesn’t it?
Definitely. The Focus2015 strategy is our tool with which we can actively direct the LLB Group’s development and make use of opportunities. A central aspect of our goals until the end of 2015 is to consistently focus on select client segments as well as on markets with potential. Our focus is on the onshore markets of Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Austria, the traditional cross-border markets of Germany and other Western European countries and the growth markets of Central and Eastern Europe as well as of the Middle East.
Simultaneously, we continue to increase our profitability. This includes initiatives to lower costs in the front and back offices, boost productivity through customer segmentation as well as initiatives to selectively adapt pricing and our range of services to market conditions.
What concrete measures are you taking?
Let me single out three main points. Segmentation based on client needs allows us to offer products and services that are suited to the life situation of each client. We are, for example, meeting our clients’ needs for more transparency, a comprehensible fees structure and an attractive price-performance ratio with our innovative pricing model. At the same time, a pioneering pricing model paired with the LLB Group’s multi-award-winning investment competency provides us with a strong competitive edge.
Moreover, we are increasing client benefits as well as automation by implementing technology in a targeted manner. LLB is developing a new and innovative investment counselling solution in an innovation partnership. By doing this, we set ourselves apart from our competitors and are creating new opportunities for client advisory services. In this respect, we are setting another milestone that also includes automating investor protection and regulatory requirements.
Furthermore, we promote emotional client ties through a clear brand promise. This includes a promise of performance on which we work on a daily basis. We are committed to banking that manages material values through excellence and innovation and is supported by a viable and intrinsic value system. Accordingly, four binding values are expressed in the LLB Group’s mission statement: integrity, respectfulness, excellence and pioneering. And we live our values.
The Focus2015 strategy is real and concrete. Values outline the ideals that we should aim for . . .
… a mission statement has to be ambitious. We are convinced that we can only prove our credibility if we consistently focus on our core mission in combination with a binding value system that is implemented on a daily basis. It is crucial that actions match words.
“We know where we come from and where we are going.”
What is the meaning behind the new LLB slogan: “Tradition meets Innovation”?
Numerous studies show that people have less trust in banks since the financial crisis. We want to actively counteract that with our value system. The sentence “Tradition meets Innovation” best sums up how LLB sets itself apart: we create added value by combining conflicting values.
Both values are needed to help shape the future: tradition and innovation. This is what the Liechtensteinische Landesbank’s brand stands for. Our repositioning is built on a stable foundation and the deep roots we have put down in Liechtenstein for over 150 years. Security, stability and close client ties are important to us. That is our tradition and we draw strength from this. Added to this is our capacity for innovation, which is decisive for success in a knowledge-based economy in the digital age.
We know where we come from and where we are going. Or to put it another way: we provide clarity and keep our word. We aim to remain respectful, to treat our clients as partners and to show our appreciation. We aim to set standards through performance and commitment. And we help to shape the future actively and sustainably.
“All heads, hands and hearts are needed to create a powerful and individual style.”
And how do you motivate LLB Group employees to embrace new ideas and cast off old ones?
We continuously strive to promptly and comprehensively inform our employees. Our employee survey conducted 2013 shows that people identify with the LLB Group’s strategic goals. Our employees have embraced the Focus2015 strategy as a challenge with achievable goals. They see the advantages of an efficient structure at work on a daily basis. Their motivation can be felt throughout the Group.
And when we presented our vision, our mission statement and our new image campaign the support from employees and executives was so strong it was palpable. The willingness of staff to change and their expertise contribute significantly to the fact that we are moving forward together and are able to successfully meet new challenges. All heads, hands and hearts are needed to create a powerful and individual style.
What are the strategic goals after 2015?
This year, we will continue to consistently push forward with the Focus2015 strategy and our repositioning. A review conducted in February 2014 confirmed that our strategic measures align with the key success factors of the banking environment. Correspondingly, we have set ourselves the task of implementing a series of strategic initiatives for 2015.
At the same time, we are going to focus on the development of a follow-up strategy. Focus2015 is the LLB Group’s answer to a changed environment with volatile financial markets, historically low interest rates, fierce competition, growing pressure on margins and increasing regulations.
The decisions of the Swiss National Bank to introduce negative interest rates and to discontinue the Swiss franc’s minimum exchange rate with the euro have added further challenges. All these aspects will be considered in the drafting of a post-2015 strategy. We will work on this new strategy from a position of strength.