Accounting principles

1 Basic information

The LLB Group offers a broad spectrum of financial services. Of particular importance are asset management and investment counselling for private and institutional clients, as well as retail and corporate client businesses.

The Liechtensteinische Landesbank Aktiengesellschaft, founded in and with its registered office located in Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein, is the parent company of the LLB Group. It is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

The Board of Directors reviewed this consolidated annual statement at its meeting on 3 February 2016 and approved it for publication.

2 Summary of significant accounting policies

The significant accounting and valuation methods employed in the preparation of this consolidated financial statement are described in the following. The described methods have been consistently employed for the reporting periods shown, provided no statement to the contrary is specified.

2.1 Basis for financial accounting

The consolidated financial statement has been prepared in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Restatement of the 2014 consolidated financial statement of the LLB Group, in accordance with IAS 8

During the preparation of the 2015 annual financial statement, the LLB Group found an error in the 2014 consolidated financial statement. Pursuant to IFRS, incorrect presentations in the financial statements of a company are to be corrected in the period in which they are discovered, in accordance with IAS 8, point 42. Consequently, the comparison periods are to be restated.

Designation of a fair value hedge relationship

In the previous reporting years, two loan positions were each designated with a fair value hedge relationship. Of these two loan positions one had a term up to June 2018, and the other had a term up to January 2019. Together they amounted to a total credit volume of CHF 50 million. From an economic perspective, an interest rate hedging transaction was executed for each of these loans. These hedging transactions did not comply with the applicable IFRS criteria (IAS 39, point 88). Consequently, the market value adjustment for the interest rate risk with the two client loans should not have been recognised in the income statement. Loans to clients were overstated. This effect was retroactively corrected as per 1 January 2014 in the balance sheet and in 2014 in the income statement. On account of the adjustments, loans to clients in the opening balance sheet per 1 January 2014 were reduced by CHF 4.3 million from CHF 10’240.1 million to CHF 10’235.8 million, and respectively per 31 December 2014 by CHF 4.9 million from CHF 10’723.4 million to CHF 10’718.5 million. Deferred tax assets rose due to the restatement by CHF 0.4 million per 1 January 2014, and respectively by CHF 0.5 million per 31 December 2014. Assets per 1 January 2014 decreased by CHF 3.9 million, and respectively by CHF 4.4 million per 31 December 2014. Equity attributable to the shareholders of LLB AG per 1 January 2014 decreased by CHF 3.9 million from CHF 1’662.9 million to CHF 1’659.1 million, and respectively per 31 December 2014 by CHF 4.4 million to CHF 1’6477.7 million. On account of the restatement, Group net profit for 2014 declined by CHF 0.5 million from CHF 72.6 million to CHF 72.1 million, the reduction related solely to the position Net income from trading and taxes. The undiluted and diluted earnings per share for 2014 fell by CHF 0.02.

Further basis for the preparation of the financial statement

The Group financial statements were compiled on the basis of historical deemed costs, with the exception of revaluation of some financial assets and liabilities.

Within the scope of the Focus2015 strategic initiative, the Group subsidiary, swisspartners Investment Network AG, Zurich, and all its subsidiaries (swisspartners Group) were sold and removed from the scope of consolidation of the LLB Group, as per 1 January 2015. Consequently, client assets managed by the LLB Group decreased by CHF 3.3 billion and the balance sheet total by CHF 1.3 billion, mainly as a result of financial investments and financial liabilities arising from insurance contracts. On account of the sale of the company, the 2015 financial statement of the LLB Group contains no assets, liabilities, earnings or expenses of the swisspartners Group.

Numerous new IFRS standards, amendments and interpretations of existing IFRS standards were published and became effective for financial years starting on 1 January 2015 or later. The following new or revised IFRS standards or interpretations are of importance to the LLB Group:

  • IAS 19 “Employee Benefits” – In November 2013, the IASB published the amendment concerning risk sharing, which came into force on 1 July 2014. The amendment contains a clarification regarding the recognition of contributions by employees, which are specified in the formal terms of a defined benefit plan. If contributions from employees are linked to service, those contributions reduce the service cost, if the amount of the contributions is independent of the number of years of service. In that case, the entity is permitted to recognise such contributions as a reduction of the service cost in the period in which the related service is rendered. The takeover of the amendments has no substantial influence on benefit expenses in the financial statement of the LLB Group. In the opening balance sheet per 1 January 2014, a one-time increase in defined benefit obligations of CHF 8.1 million from CHF 448.4 million to CHF 456.6 million was made. This was recognised in equity, without affecting the income statement. Equity, therefore, decreased by CHF 7.1 million, of which CHF 6.8 million related to other reserves and CHF 0.3 million to minorities. As a result of the restatement, deferred tax assets rose by CHF 1.0 million. The restatement had no influence on the balance sheet total, or the Group net profit, or the undiluted or diluted earnings per share attributable to the shareholders of LLB AG. Further details can be found in note 41.
  • IFRS 9 “Financial Instruments” – IFRS 9 is divided into three phases: Classification and Measurement, Impairment and Hedge Accounting. The classification and measurement of financial instruments are made on the basis of the business model of the bank for the management of financial instruments and the contractual cash flow characteristics of the financial assets. The financial instruments are classified in the “Hold” business model and measured at amortised cost, if the purpose of the financial instrument is to generate interest earnings and payment of the principal upon maturity. If the financial instruments are held for liquidity management reasons, i. e. for the purpose of holding and sale, then the instruments are to be recognised at fair value through other comprehensive income. Gains and losses from this business model are booked in the statement of other comprehensive income and equity. On the basis of IFRS 9, impairments are to be recognised at an early stage (expected loss model). The amount of the impairment is determined on the basis of the classification of the financial instrument in one of the following three stages. In stage 1 there is no significant deterioration in credit quality and impairments amounting to the cash value of a 12-month expected credit loss are to be recognised. If there is no objective indication of an impairment, but a significant increase in credit risk has occurred, the impairment is to be recognised in the expected life-time credit loss (stage 2). In stage 3, there must be an objective indication of an impairment and a single allowance (life-time expected loss) is to be made for this financial instrument. These three stages are to be reviewed on every balance sheet key date. In addition, IFRS 9 regulates hedge accounting, whereby it seeks to standardise risk management and accounting. Hedges are to be better reflected in the financial accounts. The new standard comes into effect on 1 January 2018. The previous year does not have to be adjusted. The first-time adjustments will be made via the opening equity capital per 1 January 2018. The effects of these changes on the LLB Group’s financial reporting are currently being analysed.
  • IFRS 15 “Revenue from Contracts with Customers” – In May 2014, the IASB, together with the FASB, issued new regulations for the recognition of revenue, which completely replace the existing US-GAAP and IFRS rulings for the recognition of revenue. The recognition requires that revenue be shown as goods or services transferred to the customer in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods and services. IFRS 15 contains a 5-step model to calculate the revenue, whereby the type of transaction or the industry, in which the company operates is irrelevant. The standard envisages additional disclosures. The new standard comes into effect on 1 January 2018. The effects of these changes on the LLB Group’s financial reporting are currently being analysed.
  • IFRS 16 “Leasing” – The new standard regulates the recognition and disclosure of leasing contracts. Leasing contracts are understood to be contracts that convey the right to use an asset for a period of time in exchange for a consideration. This can be, for example, the leasing of premises or equipment. The IFRS 16 contains no material threshold values for when a leasing contract is to be recognised as an asset, rather all substantial leasing contracts are basically to be entered in the accounts. The entering of leasing contracts in the financial accounts leads to a balance sheet extension, which basically has a negative impact on the regulatory required equity and also on the corresponding regulatory key figures, such as the tier 1 ratio. The standard comes into effect on 1 January 2019. The effects of these changes on the LLB Group’s financial reporting are currently being analysed.
  • Disclosure Initiative of the IASB – The IASB has started a project to explore how disclosures in IFRS financial reporting can be improved. This envisages a fundamental revision of IAS 1 (“Presentation of Financial Statements”), IAS 7 (“Statement of Cash Flows”) and IAS 8 (“Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors”). In addition, a general revision is to be made of appendix instructions in existing standards. The objective is to improve the materiality of disclosures in financial statements such as relevance and use of the figures for the reader, as well as increased company-specific disclosures.

Within the scope of its annual improvements, the IASB has published further improvements (Annual Improvements to IFRS 2012–2014 Cycle), which come into effect on 1 January 2016. The effects of these on the LLB Group’s financial reporting are currently being analysed.

Use of estimates in the preparation of financial statements

In preparing the financial statements in conformity with IFRS, the management is required to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported income, expenses, assets, liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. Use of information available to the LLB on the balance sheet date and application of judgement are inherent in the formation of estimates. Actual results in the future could differ from such estimates, and the differences could be substantial to the financial statements.

The IFRS contains guidelines, which require the LLB Group to make estimates and assumptions when preparing the consolidated financial statement. Goodwill, intangible assets, pension plans, and fair value measurements for financial instruments are all areas, which leave large scope for estimate judgments. Assumptions and estimates made in theses areas could be substantial to the financial statement. Explanations regarding this point are shown under note 19, note 36, and note 41.

2.2 Consolidation policies

The consolidated financial statement adopts a business perspective and follows a financial format. The consolidation period corresponds to the calendar year. The financial year is identical to the calendar year for all consolidated companies. Solely LLB Invest AGmvK and LLB Qualified Investors AGmvK have a different financial year; however, these companies are negligible for the preparation of the consolidated financial statement. The Swiss Franc (CHF), the currency of the country in which LLB AG has its registered office, serves as the reporting currency of the LLB Group.

Subsidiaries

The consolidated financial statement incorporates the financial accounts of Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG and its subsidiaries. LLB Group companies, in which Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG holds, directly or indirectly, the majority of the voting rights or otherwise exercises control, are fully consolidated. Subsidiaries acquired are consolidated from the date control is transferred to Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG, and are no longer consolidated from the date this control ends.

The consolidation is carried out according to the purchase method. The effects of intra-group transactions and balances are eliminated in preparing the financial statements. Transactions with minorities are booked to equity.

Equity attributable to minority interests is presented in the consolidated balance sheet in equity, separately from equity attributable to LLB shareholders. Net profit attributable to minority interests is shown separately in the income statement.

Participations in joint ventures

Joint ventures, i. e. companies in which the LLB has a 50 percent participation, are recognised according to the equity method.

Changes to the scope of consolidation

As a result of the sale of swisspartners Investment Network AG, Zurich, this company and all its subsidiaries (swisspartners Group) were removed from the scope of consolidation of the LLB Group, with effect from 1 January 2015.

LLB Fondsleitung AG and LLB Fund Services AG, both with registered offices in Vaduz, merged with effect from 1 January 2015 and are now jointly known as LLB Fund Services AG. Milfolium Management Inc. with registered office in Tortola, BVI was liquidated and removed from the scope of consolidation with effect from 30 June 2015.

2.3 General principles

Recording of business

Sales and purchases from trading assets, derivative financial instruments and financial investments are booked on the transaction date. Loans, including those to clients, are recorded in that period of time in which the funds flow to the borrower.

Income accrual

Income from services is recorded at the time the service was rendered.

Asset management fees, safe custody fees and similar types of income are recorded on a pro rata basis over the period the specific service is provided. Interest income is recorded using the effective interest method. Dividends are recorded at the time point a legal claim comes into existence.

Inland versus abroad

“Inland” encompasses the Principality of Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

2.4 Foreign currency translation

Functional currency and reporting currency

The items contained in the financial accounts of each Group company are valued in the currency which is used in the primary business environment in which the company operates (functional currency).

The LLB Group’s financial statement is reported in Swiss Francs, which represents the LLB Group’s reporting currency.

Group companies

Group companies, which report their financial accounts in a functional currency other than the Group’s accounting currency are translated as follows: all assets and liabilities are converted at the relevant exchange rate valid on the balance sheet date. All individual items in the income statement and statement of cash flows are converted at the average exchange rate for the accounting period. All resulting exchange differences are booked individually to equity or other comprehensive income.

Transactions and balances

Foreign currency transactions are converted into the functional currency at the exchange rates prevailing at the time of the transaction. Foreign currency assets and liabilities are translated at the exchange rates prevailing on the balance sheet date. Exchange gains and losses arising from the valuation are booked to the income statement. The following exchange rates were employed for foreign currency conversion:

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Reporting date rate

31.12.2015

31.12.2014

1 USD

0.9989

0.9914

1 EUR

1.0871

1.2024

1 GBP

1.4783

1.5427

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Average rate

2015

2014

1 USD

0.9672

0.9173

1 EUR

1.0751

1.2136

1 GBP

1.4772

1.5084

2.5 Cash and balances with central banks

Cash and balances with central banks consist of cash in hand, postal cheque balances, giro and sight deposits at the Swiss National Bank and foreign central banks, as well as clearing credit balances at recognised central savings and clearing banks, claims from money market instruments with an original maturity period of less than three months as well as loans due from banks (due daily).

2.6 Balances due from banks and from customers

Balances due from banks and from customers are initially recorded at actual cost, corresponding to the fair value of the specific loan at the time it was granted. Subsequent valuation reflects the amortised cost under application of the effective interest rate method.

Interest on balances due from banks and from customers is recognised on an accrual basis and is reported according to the effective interest method, included under the item interest income.

Basically, the LLB Group extends loans only on a collateralised basis, and only to counter parties having very high credit worthiness.

Loans are regarded as being impaired if it is likely that the entire amount owed according to the loan agreement is not recoverable. Loan impairments are caused by country or counterparty specific criteria. Indications for the impairment of financial assets are:

  • the financial difficulty of the borrower;
  • a breach of contract, such as a default or delinquency in interest or principal payments;
  • the increased probability that the borrower will enter bankruptcy or financial reorganization;
  • national or local economic conditions that correlate with defaults on the assets of the Group.

The amount of the impairment is measured as the difference between the carrying value of the claim and the estimated future cash flow, discounted by the loan’s original effective interest rate. Allowances for credit risks is reported as a reduction of the carrying value of a claim on the balance sheet, whereas for an off-balancesheet item, such as a commitment, a provision for credit loss is reported under provisions. Impairments are recognised in the income statement.

2.7 Claims and liabilities from insurance contracts

Individual companies of the swisspartners Group, which were sold and removed from the scope of consolidation of the LLB Group as per 1 January 2015, offer fund-linked life insurance products. The insurance products contain no discretionary participation features. To determine the provisions for insurance benefits from segregated portfolio contracts, a mortality risk amounting to the net sum at risk is applied. The net sum at risk is the difference between the insurance benefit in the event of death and the fair value of the cover for the segregated portfolio. The provision for mortality is calculated on the basis of the mortality risk as well as the criteria of the external actuary after consideration of the net amount for all life insurance policies. The provisions are reviewed on every balance sheet date. New provisions to be allocated are immediately recognised in the financial accounts.

The claims and liabilities from insurance contracts are recognised at fair value. The balances due are reported on the assets side of the respective balance sheet items, or mainly under “financial investments, at fair value”. The liabilities are recognised in the positions “Liabilities from insurance contracts” and “Financial liabilities, at fair value” on the liabilities side of the balance sheet. Changes to fair values and premium revenues as well as actuarial provisions are reported under “Net fee and commission income” in the position “Insurance-related fees and commissions”.

Financial liabilities are recognised at fair value because the corresponding assets are also valued at fair value, and thus an accounting mismatch is avoided.

2.8 Trading portfolio assets

Trading portfolio assets comprise equities, bonds and structured financial products. Financial assets held for trading purposes are recorded at fair value. Short positions in securities are reported as trading portfolio liabilities at fair value. Realised and unrealised gains and losses as well as interest and dividends are recorded in net trading income.

Fair value is based on current market prices in the case of an active market. In the absence of an active market, fair value is calculated on the basis of valuation models (see 2.10 “Financial investments”).

2.9 Derivative financial instruments and hedge accounting

Derivative financial instruments are valued as positive or negative replacement values corresponding to fair value and are reported in the balance sheet. Fair value is calculated on the basis of exchange quotations; in the absence of these, valuation models are employed. Changes to the fair value of derivative financial instruments for trading purposes are recognised in net trading income.

Hedge accounting

The LLB Group introduced hedge accounting in the 2015 business year.

Within the scope of risk management, derivative financial instruments are employed mainly to manage interest rate and foreign currency risks. From a business perspective, certain derivative contracts represent hedging transactions, and they comply with the risk management principles of the LLB Group. However, on account of the strict and specific IFRS provisions, from an accounting perspective they do not fulfil the criteria to be treated as hedging transactions. Value adjustments are reported in the corresponding period in Net trading income. However, if certain derivative financial instruments or derivative transactions fulfil these specific criteria, they can be classified as hedging instruments (hedge accounting).

The LLB Group employs fair value hedges for interest rate fluctuation risks on fixed rate instruments. For this purpose interest rate swaps are utilised to hedge against market fluctuations of fixed rate instruments (conversion of fixed to variable interest rate). The fair value change in the derivative financial instruments is reported in the income statement in the same position as the corresponding fair value change in the hedged item, provided this change matches the hedged risk. The fair value changes are reported in “Other interest cost”. In the case of the hedging of interest rate risks at the portfolio level, the fair value change in the hedged item is recognised in the same balance sheet position as the underlying item.

If fair value hedge accounting is employed for reasons other than the derecognition of the hedged transaction, the amount, which is reported in the same balance sheet position as the underlying transaction, is amortised over the residual term of the underlying transaction in the income statement.

As soon as a financial instrument is classified as a hedging relationship or the hedging instrument fulfils the criteria, the relationship between the hedging instrument and the hedged underlying transaction, such as the risk management objectives and strategies of the hedging transaction and the methods to evaluate the effectiveness of the hedging relationship, are formally documented. Accordingly, both when the hedge is initially recognised and during the term of the transaction, an evaluation is carried out to assess the level of effectiveness of the hedge. The effectiveness of the hedging instrument is understood to be its ability to compensate for changes in fair value, which arise in connection with the risk associated with the hedged underlying transaction. A hedge is regarded as being highly effective if: a) it is assessed as being highly effective both when the hedge is initially recognised and during the entire term of the transaction, and b) the actual results of the hedging transaction lie within a range of 80 to 125 percent. To what extent the change in the fair value of the hedge differs from the change in fair value of the hedged underlying transaction, is determined by the ineffectiveness of the hedging transaction. The ineffectiveness is reported in the income statement in Net trading income.

2.10 Financial investments

According to IFRS, financial investments can be divided into various categories. The classification depends on the purpose for which the individual financial investments were made. The management of the LLB Group determines the classification upon initial recognition. In the 2015 business year and in the 2014 business year, financial investments were classified in the category “Financial investments at fair value through profit and loss”, as well as the category “Available-for-sale financial assets”. All value adjustments with the category “Financial investments at fair value through profit and loss” are recognised in the income statement. All value adjustments with the category “Available-for-sale financial assets” are reported in other comprehensive income.

This designation of the financial investments is in line with the LLB’s investment strategy. The securities are managed on a fair value basis and their performance is evaluated accordingly. The members of the Group Executive Management receive the corresponding information.

Financial assets at fair value through profit and loss

Financial assets are recorded on the balance sheet at fair value. Non-realised gains and losses are reflected in the income statement at fair value under income from financial instruments. The fair value of listed shares is based on current market prices. If an active market is not available for financial assets, or if the assets are not listed, the fair value is determined by way of suitable valuation models. These encompass references to recent transactions between independent business partners, the application of the current market prices of other assets which are essentially similar to the assets being valued, discounted cash flows and external pricing models, which take into account the special circumstances of the issuer. See also note 36.

Interest and dividend income from financial investments is recorded at fair value as income from financial instruments. Interest income is recognised on an accrual basis.

Available-for-sale financial assets

Financial assets which are available for sale are recognised at fair value. Value changes, such as unrealised gains or losses, are reported in other comprehensive income. The fair value of these financial assets is measured on the basis of listed shares. If no active market exists or the assets are not listed on an exchange, the fair value is determined, similar to financial assets at fair value through profit and loss, by means of suitable valuation models. See also note 36.

Interest and dividend earnings are recognised in the income statement. Interest is reported on an accrual basis.

2.11 Property, investment property and other equipment

Property is reported in the balance sheet at acquisition cost less any depreciation necessary for operational reasons. Bank buildings are buildings held by the LLB Group for use in the delivery of services or for administration purposes, whereas investment property is held to earn rentals and / or for capital appreciation. If a property is partially used as investment property, the classification is based on whether or not the two portions can be sold separately. Investment property is periodically valued by external experts. Changes in fair value are recognised in the income statement as other income in the current period. If the portions of the property can be sold separately, each portion is booked separately. If the portions cannot be sold separately, the whole property is classified as a bank building unless the portion used by the bank is minor.

Equipment includes fixtures, furnishings, machinery and IT equipment. These items are entered in the financial accounts and depreciated over the estimated useful life of the asset.

Depreciation is conducted on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful life as follows:

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Real property

33 years

Investment property

no depreciation

Undeveloped land

no depreciation

Building supplementary costs

10 years

Fixtures, furnishings, machinery

5 years

IT equipment

3 years

Small value purchases are charged directly to general and administrative expense. In general, maintenance and renovation expenditures are booked to general and administrative expense. If the related cost is substantial and results in a significant increase in value, such expenditures are capitalized and depreciated over their useful life. Profits from the sale of fixed assets are reported as other income. Losses result in additional write-downs on fixed assets.

Property and equipment is regularly reviewed for impairment, but always when, on account of occurrences or changed circumstances, an overvaluation of the carrying value appears to be possible. If, as a result of the review, a reduction in value or modified useful life is determined, the residual carrying value is depreciated over the adjusted useful life, or an unplanned write-down is made.

2.12 Non-current assets held for sale

Long-term assets (or a disposal group) are classified as held for sale, if their carrying amount will be recovered primarily through a sale transaction rather than through continuing use. For this to be the case, the asset (or the disposal group) must be available for immediate sale in its present condition subject only to the terms that are usual and customary for sales of such assets (or disposal groups) and such a sale must be highly probable. Long-term assets held for sale and disposal groups are measured at the lower of carrying amount and fair value less costs to sell, unless the items shown in the disposal group are not classified in the valuation rules of IFRS 5 “Non-current assets held for sale and discontinued operations”. As at 31 December 2015, no company of the LLB Group fulfils the conditions for the classification of assets and liabilities as noncurrent assets held for sale in accordance with IFRS 5.

2.13 Goodwill and other intangible assets

Goodwill is defined as the difference between the purchase price paid for and the determined fair value at date of acquisition of identified net assets in a company purchased by the LLB Group. Other intangible assets contain separately, identifiable intangible values resulting from acquisitions and certain purchased brands / trademarks and similar items. Goodwill and other intangible assets are recognised on the balance sheet at cost determined on the date of acquisition, and are amortised using the straight-line method over the useful life of ten to fifteen years. On each balance sheet date, goodwill and other intangible assets are reviewed for indications of impairment or changes in future benefits. If such indications exist, an analysis is performed to assess whether the carrying value of goodwill or other intangible assets is fully recoverable. An amortisation is made if the carrying amount exceeds the recoverable amount. For impairment testing purposes, goodwill is distributed into cash generating units. A cash generating unit is the smallest group of assets that independently generates cash flow and whose cash flow is largely independent of the cash flows generated by other assets. Cash flows generated from independent groups of assets are largely determined on the basis of how management steers and manages business activity. The management of the LLB Group manages and steers business activity in divisions so that the divisions and segments are designated as the cash generating units of the Group. Software development costs are capitalized when they meet certain criteria relating to identifiability, it is possible that economic benefits will flow to the company, and the cost can be measured reliably. Internally developed software meeting these criteria and purchased software are capitalized and subsequently amortised over three to ten years. See also note 19.

2.14 Current and deferred taxes

Current income tax is calculated on the basis of the tax law applicable in the individual country and recorded as expense for the accounting period in which the related income was earned. The relevant amounts are recorded on the balance sheet as provisions for taxes. The tax impact from time differentials due to different valuations arising from the values of assets and liabilities reported according to IFRS shown on the Group balance sheet and their taxable value are recorded on the balance sheet as accrued tax assets or, as the case may be, deferred tax liabilities. Deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities attributable to time differentials or accountable loss carry-forwards are capitalised if there is a probability that sufficient taxable profits will be available to offset such differentials of loss carry-forwards. Accrued / deferred tax assets / liabilities are calculated at the tax rates that are likely to be applicable for the accounting period in which the tax assets are realised or the tax liabilities paid.

Current and deferred taxes are credited or charged directly to equity or other comprehensive income if the related tax pertains to items that have been credited or charged directly to equity in the same or some other accounting period.

2.15 Debt issued

Medium-term notes are recorded at issuance value and subsequently valued at ongoing cost of acquisition. Debt instruments, which contain an embedded option for conversion of the debt into shares of the LLB AG, are separated into a liability and an equity component. The difference between the proceeds of the issue price and the fair value of the instrument on the issue date is booked directly to equity. The fair value of the liability component on the issue date is determined on the basis of the market interest rate for comparable instruments without conversion rights. Thereafter, it is recognised at ongoing cost according to the effective interest method. Differences between the proceeds and the repayment amount are reported in profit and loss over the term of the debt instrument concerned. The LLB Group does not report changes in the value of the equity component in the following reporting periods.

2.16 Employee benefits

Retirement benefit plans

The LLB Group has pension plans for its employees in Liechtenstein and abroad, which are defined according to IFRS as defined benefit plans. In addition there are long-term service awards which qualify as other long-term employee benefits.

For benefit-oriented plans, the period costs are determined by opinions obtained from external experts. The benefits provided by these plans are generally based on the number of insured years, the employee’s age, covered salary and partly on the amount of capital saved. For benefit-oriented plans with segregated assets, the relevant funded status (surplus or deficit of the cash value of the claims in comparison to the related assets valued at current market value) is recorded on the balance sheet as an asset or liability, in accordance with the “Projected Unit Credit Method”. An asset position is calculated according to the criteria of IFRIC 14.

For plans without segregated assets, the relevant funded status recorded on the balance sheet corresponds to the cash value of the claims, plus or minus subsequent amounts to be offset from plan changes.

The cash value of the claims is calculated using the “Projected Unit Credit Method”, whereby the number of insured years accrued up to the valuation date are taken into consideration.

Retroactive improvements to benefits resulting from plan changes are reported as expenses. If entitlements to pensions are vested immediately, the corresponding expense is recognised immediately.

Variable salary component and share-based remuneration

Regulations exist governing the payment of variable salary components. The valuation procedure with the variable salary component is based on the degree of individual target achievement. Executives receive a portion of their profit-related bonus in the form of LLB bearer shares. However, no exercising conditions are attached to this procedure.

The LLB Group enters a provision as a liability in those cases where a contractual obligation exists or a de facto obligation arises as a result of past business practice. The expense is recognised under personnel expenses. Obligations to be paid in cash are entered under other liabilities. The portion to be compensated with LLB bearer shares is entered in equity. The number of shares for the share-based compensation corresponds to the average share price of the last quarter of the year under report.

2.17 Provisions and contingent liabilities

The current business environment, in which the LLB Group operates, exposes it to significant legal and regulatory risks. As a result, the LLB is involved in various legal proceedings, whose financial influence on the LLB Group – depending on the stage of the proceeding – is difficult to assess and are subject to many uncertainties. The LLB Group makes provisions for ongoing and threatened proceedings when, in the opinion of management after taking legal advice, it is probable that a liability exists, and the amount of the liability or payment can be reasonably estimated.

For certain proceedings in cases where the facts are not specifically known, the claimant has not quantified the alleged damages, the proceedings are at an early stage, or where sound and substantial information is lacking, the LLB Group is not in a position to estimate reliably the approximate financial implication. In many legal cases, a combination of these facts makes it impossible to estimate the financial effect of contingent liabilities for the LLB Group. If, indeed, such assumptions or estimates were made or disclosed, it could seriously prejudice the position of the LLB Group in such legal cases.

In cases where only a possible liability is involved, but the management does not believe that there is a probability of an outflow of resources, this leads to a contingent liability for the LLB Group, but not to the formation of a provision. The amount of the contingent liabilities results based on best estimate.

2.18 Allowances for credit risks

Allowances for credit risks are made at the LLB, provided there are objective criteria indicating that the entire amount owed according to the loan agreement may not be recoverable. At the LLB, a credit amount is understood to be loan, a claim or a fixed commitment such as a documentary credit, a guarantee, or a similar credit product. Objective criteria are serious financial difficulties experienced by the borrower, default of delinquency in interest or capital payments, or the probability that the borrower cannot repay the loan. Allowances for credit risks are reported as a reduction of the carrying value of a claim on the balance sheet. Allowances are reported in the income statement under credit loss (expense) / recovery. For further information, see Risk management, 3. Credit risk.

2.19 Treasury shares

Shares of Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG held by the LLB Group are valued at cost of acquisition and reported as a reduction in equity. The difference between the sale proceeds and the corresponding cost of acquisition of treasury shares is recorded under capital reserves.

2.20 Securities lending and borrowing transactions

Securities lending and borrowing transactions are generally entered into on a collateralised basis, with securities mainly being advanced or received as collateral.

Treasury shares lent out remain in the trading portfolio or in the financial investments portfolio as long as the risks and rewards of ownership of the shares are not transferred. Securities that are borrowed are not recognised in the balance sheet as long as the risks and rewards of ownership of the securities remain with the lender.

Fees and interest received or paid are recognised on an accrual basis and recorded under net fee and commission income.

3 Events after the balance sheet date

There have been no material events after the balance sheet date, which would require disclosure or an adjustment of the consolidated financial statement for 2015.