Report on the audit of the financial statements
As statutory auditor, we have audited the financial statements (balance sheet, income statement and notes to the financial statements (pages 225 to 247) and the management report (page 224) of Liechtensteinische Landesbank Aktiengesellschaft (LLB AG) for the year ended 31 December 2018.
In our opinion, the accompanying financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial position in accordance with Liechtenstein law. Further, the financial statements and the annual report comply with Liechtenstein law and the company’s articles of association.
Basis for opinion
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards promulgated by the profession in Liechtenstein and the International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), which require an audit to be planned and conducted so as to obtain reasonable assurance whether the financial statements and the annual report are free from material misstatement.
We audited the items and disclosures in the financial statements by means of analyses and surveys on a sample basis. Further, we assessed the application of the relevant accounting standards, significant decisions concerning the valuations and the presentation of the financial statements as a whole. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinion.
Our audit approach
Overall materiality: CHF 4.0 million, which represents 5 % of the result from normal business activities.
We tailored the scope of our audit in order to perform sufficient work to enable us to provide an opinion on the financial statements as a whole, taking into account the structure of the entity, the accounting processes and controls, and the industry in which the entity operates.
As key audit matter, the following area of focus was identified:
- Valuation of loans
The scope of our audit was influenced by our application of materiality. Our audit opinion aims to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatement. Misstatements may arise due to fraud or error. They are considered material if, individually or in aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of the financial statements.
Based on our professional judgement, we determined certain quantitative thresholds for materiality, including the overall materiality for the financial statements as a whole as set out in the table below. These, together with qualitative considerations, helped us to determine the scope of our audit and the nature, timing and extent of our audit procedures and to evaluate the effect of misstatements, both individually and in aggregate, on the financial statements as a whole.
CHF 4.0 million
How we determined it
5 % of the result from normal business activities.
Rationale for the materiality benchmark applied
We chose the result from normal business operations as the benchmark because, in our view, it is the benchmark against which the performance of LLB AG is most commonly measured.
We agreed with the Group Audit Committee that we would report to them misstatements above CHF 0.2 million identified during our audit as well as any misstatements below that amount which, in our view, warranted reporting for qualitative reasons.
We designed our audit by determining materiality and assessing the risks of material misstatement in the financial statements. In particular, we considered where subjective judgements were made; for example, in respect of significant accounting estimates that involved making assumptions and considering future events that are inherently uncertain. As in all of our audits, we also addressed the risk of management override of internal controls, including among other matters consideration of whether there was evidence of bias that represented a risk of material misstatement due to fraud.
Reporting on key audit matters
Key audit matters are those matters that, in our professional judgement, were of most significance in our audit of the financial statements of the current period. These matters were addressed in the context of our audit of the financial statements as a whole, and in forming our opinion thereon, and we do not provide a separate opinion on these matters.
Valuation of loans
Key audit matter
LLB AG grants loans to private individuals, corporates and public entities, primarily located in Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
As at 31 December 2018, loans amount to CHF 6.8 billion (2017: CHF 6.4 billion) and thus represent the largest asset item of the Bank. Mortgage-based loans form the majority of the loan portfolio (76 % of total loans by value). In addition, the Bank grants corporate loans and Lombard loans.
Any impairments are recognised by means of individual loss allowances. Calculating the amount of the individual loss allowance requires judgement. We focussed on the following two points:
- The methods used by the Bank to identify loans in the loan portfolio that may need a loss allowance, including loans that according to LLB AG’s definition show indications of impairment.
- The appropriateness and consistent application of the policies and instructions issued by Group management relating to the calculation of the amount of individual loss allowances.
The recognition and valuation principles applied to accounts receivable from customers and the methods used to identify default risk, to determine the need for impairment and to evaluate collateral are described in the management report.
Please refer to page 230 (Accounting policies and valuation principles) and page 233 (Notes to the balance sheet).
How our audit addressed the key audit matter
We tested the adequacy and effectiveness of the following key controls relating to the valuation of accounts receivable from customers:
- Credit processing and approval: Sample testing of the requirements and processes set out in the Bank’s internal policies and working instructions in relation to credit processing. We also tested that approvals were granted at the appropriate level of authority.
- Credit monitoring (periodic reviews): Sample testing of identified loans at risk and identifying the extent of any need for impairment.
Where significant judgement was required, we also challenged the decisions of those authorised to approve loans with our own critical opinion as part of our substantive tests of detail. Our tests of detail covered the following:
- Sample-based testing of new business and loans at risk in the loan portfolio (including loans with individual loss allowances or indications of impairment) to evaluate whether additional loss allowances were needed.
- Sample-based testing of the method used to calculate loss allowances on the loan portfolio in terms of its appropriateness and compliance with the policies and instructions issued by the Group.
The combination of the tests of key controls and substantive tests of detail gives us sufficient assurance to assess the valuation of customer loans as adequate.
The assumptions used by LLB AG are in line with our expectations.
Responsibilities of the Board of Directors for the financial statements
The Board of Directors is responsible for the preparation of the financial statements in accordance with the provisions of Liechtenstein law and the company’s articles of incorporation that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
In preparing the financial statements, the Board of Directors is responsible for assessing the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless the Board of Directors either intends to liquidate the entity or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.
Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements
Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance that the consolidated financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes our opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with Liechtenstein law will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these financial statements.
As part of an audit in accordance with Liechtenstein law, we exercise professional judgement and maintain professional scepticism throughout the audit. We also:
- Identify and assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error, design and perform audit procedures responsive to those risks, and obtain audit evidence that is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion. The risk of not detecting a material misstatement resulting from fraud is higher than for one resulting from error, as fraud may involve collusion, forgery, intentional omissions, misrepresentations, or the override of internal control.
- Evaluate the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates and related disclosures made.
- Obtain an understanding of internal control relevant to the audit in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control.
- Conclude on the appropriateness of the Board of Directors’ use of the going concern basis of accounting and, based on the audit evidence obtained, whether a material uncertainty exists related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. If we conclude that a material uncertainty exists, we are required to draw attention in our auditor’s report to the related disclosures in the financial statements or, if such disclosures are inadequate, to modify our opinion. Our conclusions are based on the audit evidence obtained up to the date of our auditor’s report. However, future events or conditions may cause the entity to cease to continue as a going concern.
We communicate with the Board of Directors or the Group Audit Committee regarding, among other matters, the planned scope and timing of the audit and significant audit findings, including any significant deficiencies in internal control that we identify during our audit.
We also provide the Board of Directors or the Group Audit Committee with a statement that we have complied with relevant ethical requirements regarding independence, and communicate to them all relationships and other matters that may reasonably be thought to bear on our independence and, where applicable, related safeguards.
From the matters communicated with the Board of Directors or the Group Audit Committee, we determine those matters that were of most significance in the audit of the financial statements of the current period and are therefore the key audit matters. We describe these matters in our auditor’s report unless law or regulation precludes public disclosure about the matter or when, in extremely rare circumstances, we determine that a matter should not be communicated in our report because the adverse consequences of doing so would reasonably be expected to outweigh the public interest benefits of such communication.
Report on other legal and regulatory requirements
We confirm that the proposal for the appropriation of retained earnings complies with Liechtenstein law and the company’s articles of incorporation.
The annual report accords with the financial statements.
We recommend that the financial statements submitted to you be approved.
Auditor in charge
St. Gallen, 22 February 2019