The 518 shareholders present at the 52nd ordinary annual general meeting of VP Bank on Friday, 24 April 2015, approved all the proposals made by the Board of Directors: the 2014 annual reports and annual results, the payment of a dividend of CHF 3.00 per bearer share and CHF 0.30 per registered share, and the discharge of the Board of Directors and the auditors. Ernst & Young was re-elected for a further one-year term as Group and statutory auditors.
Fredy Vogt, whose term of office had expired, was re-elected to the Board of Directors of VP Bank for an additional three years. Fredy Vogt was confirmed as Chairman of the Board of Directors at the exceptional meeting of the Board of Directors that followed the annual general meeting. Dr Florian Marxer was also elected as a new member of the Board of Directors at the annual general meeting. Dr Florian Marxer is a member of the Foundation Board of the Marxer Foundation for Bank Values, which until 7 January 2015 was the sole shareholder of Centrum Bank and acquired a share in VP Bank with a value equivalent to the CHF 60 million purchase price for Centrum Bank. Dr Florian Marxer was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Centrum Bank from 2011 to 2014. He is a partner at Marxer & Partner Rechtsanwälte and member of the Board of Directors of Confida Holding AG in Vaduz and Belvédère Asset Management AG in Zurich. Dr Florian Marxer studied Law in Innsbruck, Strasbourg and Zurich and at Yale Law School.
The annual general meeting approved the distribution of a dividend of CHF 3.00 per bearer share and CHF 0.30 per registered share. Dividends will be paid out on 30 April 2015. The dividends are based on the Bank’s dividend policy laid down by the Board of Directors. Between 40% and 60% of the consolidated net income generated by the Group will be distributed to the shareholders as long as the medium-term tier 1 target ratio of 16% is exceeded. The goal is constant development of dividends. The Board of Directors of VP Bank based the proposed dividends for the 2014 financial year on income adjusted for valuation losses from interest rate hedges amounting to CHF 36 million.
The motion put forward by the Board of Directors to create the necessary conditions for VP Bank to purchase its own shares was also approved at the annual general meeting. VP Bank is therefore authorised to purchase its own registered shares and bearer shares up to a maximum of 10% of share capital until 22 April 2020.
In 2014, VP Bank Group concentrated on implementing decisive measures. The focus of these measures was on streamlining management and strengthening client and sales orientation. A further significant focus for growth is the merger with Centrum Bank. At the extraordinary general meeting on 10 April 2015, the shareholders approved the merger with Centrum Bank and the associated increase in capital. All client relationships as well as the employment contracts of the Centrum Bank employees will be transferred to VP Bank effective as of 30 April 2015. Fredy Vogt, Chairman of the Board of Directors of VP Bank Group, reiterated, “In view of the changing economic environment and the challenges presented by the market and interest rate situation, we must ensure that we are able to constantly adapt. We must therefore focus on those things which we can have an influence on.” VP Bank is in a good position to do just that, having the core competencies, global presence and solid capital base that are necessary for it to continue to play a role in the consolidation process within the banking industry in future.