In conversation with Ben Snee, LGT Vestra CEO
We never lose sight of the fact that it is your money we manage and we recognise the importance of keeping our clients informed during such unprecedented times. We would like to reassure you that, as part of the LGT Group, we are well protected in the event of negative economic developments.
As LGT Group's half-year financial results are released, we speak to our CEO, Ben Snee, to discuss how the business has fared during 2020.
As the crisis unfolded in the early part of this year, it was at first difficult to understand the potential impact on our business and how to react. We were fortunate to take the decision quite early on to be proactive in our response and through our Crisis Management Team started to prepare the business operationally for full remote working. By the 23 March, we had 100% of people working from home – the collective effort to achieve this was immense and we are proud that we were able to offer a full and uninterrupted service while ensuring all of our people were safe.
We remain fully operational from a home working environment. The overarching priority is, of course, still to ensure the physical safety of everyone with whom the business interacts. We will continue to manage our clients' assets and navigate the volatile financial markets in the safest way possible. Thankfully, it appears the worst is over and we are now carefully overseeing a phased return to our offices. We are cautiously optimistic about the future - we will embrace the efficiencies of forced digitalisation and flexibility of working and interacting with our clients in new ways.
The strange collective experience of going through this global crisis has reminded me overwhelmingly that the people and the relationships we form are what make a business. Without a genuinely supportive culture, we would really have struggled. Communication has been key, we have made a big effort to be on the front foot, take a decisive stance and come out early with clear messages of support to our people and our clients. The key has been not to panic! We have managed to stay calm, support each other and apply logic to deal with the issues – this has worked, in no small part due to a strong collaborative culture within the business.
Notwithstanding the extraordinary conditions, LGT Group demonstrated its financial strength in the first half of 2020. Total operating income rose 6% to CHF 900.0 million, and thanks to strict cost management, group profit increased 23% to CHF 190.7 million. As at the end of June, assets under management amounted to CHF 218.7 billion (-4%). For the second half of the year, LGT expects its business performance to be solid, while remaining cautious due to uncertainties relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
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