Dear Shareholders and Investors,
Half-way through 2017, the Wertpapierhaus of the savings banks remains on sound foundations and is well equipped for future challenges. The Deka Group will continue to comprehensively fulfil its primary mission: promoting the securities business of the savings banks and supporting institutional clients as a solution and infrastructure services provider. Further expanding the business and making the associated investments in strategic areas for the future, along with meeting the ongoing regulatory challenges, will still require rigorous cost management
In the first half of the year, we struck a good balance between growing the business and safeguarding earnings. At €241.3m, the economic result significantly exceeded the previous year’s figure of €229.8m. Earnings from asset management played a decisive part in this, as did the sound development of the bank-ing business.
In asset management, we achieved an appreciable increase in net sales and thus total customer assets across product categories and investor groups. In the securities-based funds business, we worked with the savings banks to take advantage of market tailwinds and raise growth overall. Our sales support for investment funds with regular contributions bore fruit, as did our initiatives to further improve the quality of our products and advice. It is encouraging that these efforts are also being noticed by independent observers. In its “Fonds-Kompass 2017”, the business magazine Capital along with the rating agency Scope Analysis (formerly FERI Eurorating Services) and Tetralog Systems crowned Deka as the overall winner, recognising the Bank’s top fund quality among the major German competitors. Our objective for the coming months and years is to translate this strong position into gains in market share.
An essential element of this will be continued investment in expanding multi-channel management. This is closely intertwined with the sales strategy of the German Savings Banks Association (DSGV), which aims to offer Deka’s securities products online via the individual savings banks in addition to branch-based sales. We are able to take advantage not only of our experience with S Broker, but also of our new bevestor development platform, where product and customer solutions can be tested and enhanced until they are ready for their market launch. Our digital offering can then be swiftly provided to the savings banks and their customers. To enable growth in institutional business, we have added new fixed maturity funds, property funds and funds of funds to our asset servicing product platform. We have also provided a further improved infrastructure offering for cost-efficient fulfilment of regulatory requirements.
Our integrated business model forms the basis for all our activities, combining asset management and banking business under the umbrella of the Wertpapierhaus. To make this proven business model fit for the future, we have more clearly separated the two pillars with a new divisional structure and new areas of responsibility for the Board of Management members.
As part of our efforts to promote a securities culture in Germany, Deka considerably developed its role as an active investor over the first half of the year. Investors’ confidence in stock markets and companies depends to a large extent on the quality of corporate governance in listed companies. We are making an important contribution here by working constructively, critically and with a long-term perspective towards the success of our company. Our role as an active investor fits our understanding of good corporate governance and of how to put a securities culture into practice.
In markets that are becoming ever more complex, we want to continue giving the savings banks and other institutions what they need in future, too. We are therefore investing further in the solutions we offer as well as supporting customer advice at local level with a special focus on standardisation and digitisation. Like the regulatory projects, this is associated with additional expenditure. It is thus even more important to create the necessary financial leeway with continued efficiency drives and cost discipline, and to pool existing expertise from across the Bank in order to take advantage of synergy effects.