Letter to ShareholdersDear Shareholders,
Dear Friends of comdirect,
Banks are a centuries-old institution, a key part of economic history, a firm fixture in our city centres. Are we allowed to completely re-envision an industry with such a great tradition?
Not only are we allowed – we simply have to. The more radical the changes in our customers’ lives, the less place there is in them for old-style banks. More and more people of all ages feel comfortable online and are happy to do without forms, counters at branches and conventional financial advice. For the “always online” generation that navigates through life on their smartphones, these things have already become relics from a distant age.
“Bank. Re-envisioned.” This stands for a bank branch that is near at hand as a tablet and fits into every pocket as a smartphone. A bank that can give customers direct access to everything a full-service bank has to offer, anywhere and at any time. “Bank. Re-envisioned.” stands for a comdirect that is on the move together with its customers.
However, the lifestyle of today does not only mean virtually unlimited access possibilities; it is also about intelligent, smart solutions. Whether that means opening an account conveniently via videophone or chatting online to Customer Services, comdirect is proof that a bank can make everyday life more pleasant and reinvent the idea of customer proximity. Today, we are developing ideas not simply for our customers but in collaboration with them – and this includes fine-tuning tried-and-tested apps and functionalities. Rethinking the concept of a bank also means redesigning the innovation process in order to add value that goes above and beyond simple banking.
We rethought a great deal in that vein in 2014. We let our customers talk to us in real time, offer new tools for traders, and put returns within easy reach of every investor with “Bessere Geldanlage” (“Better financial Investment”). This investing solution is our response to the environment of zero interest rates and scaling back branch-based advice. It allows any investor to compile a tailored portfolio of securities at the best possible price and exploit opportunities for returns while limiting their risk. We firmly believe that this tool will allow anyone to take control of their own investing and make better financial decisions. We are also promoting greater awareness in the securities business through the “Aktion pro Aktie” (“Pro-Share Campaign”), which we launched together with other direct banks.
Our initiatives will help us win many more new customers in future. The next three years will focus on securing our position as market leader in online brokerage, establishing comdirect as a leading financial institution for online investments and asset accumulation, and further increasing our share of current accounts in the overall market. Our record earnings and high dividend yield in 2014 demonstrate that this also offers our shareholders some attractive prospects in terms of growth and enhancing value.
|Arno Walter||Holger Hohrein||Martina Palte|