In its Focus2015 strategy, the LLB Group decided to place its business focus firmly on selected client segments and markets, which show potential and in which it already has a solid position (see the chapter «»). Accordingly, our focus lies on the onshore markets of Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Austria, on our traditional markets in Germany and the rest of Western Europe, as well as the growth markets in Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Within the scope of the implementation of our new strategy, in 2013 we disbanded the International Private Banking Business Sector and, with the sale of the Lugano branch, withdrew from the Italian market which is no longer of strategic importance to us.
In 2013, the closure of LLB (Switzerland) Ltd. and the sale of the Lugano bank branch represented important milestones in the realisation of our Focus2015 strategy. At the end of the year, LLB (Switzerland) Ltd. ceased its banking activities. LLB Verwaltung (Switzerland) AG, the successor company with its registered office in Zurich-Erlenbach, will take over the remaining administration of the former LLB Switzerland. This company is subject to supervision by the Swiss Financial Market Authority (FINMA). At the end of 2013, we sold the Lugano bank branch of LLB (Switzerland) Ltd. to PKB PRIVATBANK SA, which specialises in wealth management. This bank has had close business ties in the canton of Ticino for many years. The sale safeguarded all 24 jobs and ensured continuity in client care.
Through the closure of LLB (Switzerland) Ltd. and the sale of the Lugano branch we were able to dispense with 78 jobs. Together with further structural adjustments and efficiency measures, this meant that we were able to reduce the LLB Group’s costs and complexity significantly.
New strategic business locations
In future we shall continue to care for our strategic clients in Central and Eastern Europe from Vienna and Switzerland. For this purpose, we are operating our locations in Geneva and Zurich-Erlenbach (since the 1 November 2013) as representative offices of LLB AG, Vaduz. We look after our clients in the Middle East locally from our representative offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These two offices now have the same local management and for both of them the booking center is in Liechtenstein.
Tax compliance strategy
The Liechtenstein Declaration of 12 March 2009, which set the framework for a tax compliance strategy, was confirmed and continued in the government announcement of 14 November 2013. The Principality confirmed its agreement to the applicable standards of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for the exchange of information in tax matters. Liechtenstein is sending a clear signal: it recognises the tax claims of the partner states and, at the same time, it wants to safeguard the legitimate interests of the clients of the Liechtenstein financial center (see the chapter «»).
The banks and the bankers association in Liechtenstein explicitly and actively support the financial center’s tax compliance strategy. On 1 September 2013, they implemented a directive which sets minimum standards for dealing with new clients, new money and cash withdrawals. The LLB Group is blazing the trail here. Since 1 October 2012, it has been applying a risk-based approach and requesting a declaration from its new foreign clients that their assets have been taxed.