Employees of VP Bank
In the service of the corporate strategy
The economic environment in private banking presents the finance sector with major challenges: higher regulatory requirements for products and services, more competition and falling revenues combined with changed client needs.
VP Bank meets the changes occurring in the environment with a focussed organisation and appropriately coordinated processes. The interaction across the business units and locations is a crucial factor in order to provide the whole array of services. In the final analysis, employees are to be found everywhere behind all of this. With their technical knowledge, their commitment and preparedness to make the necessary changes, they are the key to the success of VP Bank Group. This is true for all employees to the same degree, with or without direct client contact and across all hierarchical levels and disciplines.
Especially in the case of financial services, motivated, capable, service-oriented employees with a focus on service and skill in personal contacts are the decisive resource to gain the confidence of clients and thereafter to retain them on an on-going basis. VP Bank takes care to promote a positive working environment and enables its employees to take advantage of numerous opportunities. It is precisely in this permanently changing environment that VP Bank faces its employees with respect and openness and nurtures constructive cooperation in all situations.
Managing human resources (HR)
VP Bank’s strategy rests on three pillars: growth, focus and culture. To successfully exploit the opportunities arising from this change, employees are needed everywhere in the final analysis. The HR vision «With the spirit of VP Bank for sure ahead: grow – move – enthuse. Only enthusiastic employees inspire our clients» seeks to demonstrate where the journey is heading. To get there, VP Bank focusses on three thrusts in its HR strategy: talent management, performance management and change management, which are inspired by the VP Bank strategy.
- Talent management: With the best-matching talents, we sustainably develop our competencies thus enabling profitable growth.
- Performance management: Strategy-oriented targets and target achievement, coupled to the recognition of performance brings our energy into focus.
- Change management: Our culture helps us most to exploit the opportunities arising from change. We work actively on change to be fit in future for the international and digital future and to further grow with our clients and partners.
The overarching goal of the HR strategy and daily personnel-related tasks associated therewith is: the necessary employees should be available in all locations on a timely basis, both in the required numbers and more particularly, with the necessary technical know-how and relevant capabilities. Insofar as they are known, future developments flowing into the activities are also taken into account on a pro-active basis.
Defined processes for a coordinated cooperation
The management of human resources is shared by many actors. These are, in particular, the line managers and local HR officers, the central HR employees as well as management on site and at the Group level. Accordingly, it is imperative to appropriately lay down how they all cooperate through assigned tasks, powers of authority and responsibilities and to define the processes for the most important events (such as recruitment, resignation, wage and salary setting, promotion etc. etc.). Especially also for employee development, a significant core element of personnel work, the orderly collaboration between responsible managers, the employees themselves and the HR specialists are important to obtain the desired results.
The defined HR processes with their sub-processes are an essential tool in joint personnel work. Any necessary amendments thereto become evident through repeated use. Any recognised optimisation potential is implemented, thus keeping HR processes, as a whole, always up-to-date.
The MbO (Management by Objectives) process takes on a pivotal role within the context of managing the company. At a company level, the goals of VP Bank Group are first split over the companies right up to the individual business units. On an individual level, the corresponding targets and principal tasks in succession are agreed for each individual employee. As a result, the activities of the employees are systematically guided in the desired direction and the achievement of the goals of the bank brought into line with the individual targets.
At the end of the period, the line managers assess and recognise the employee’s performance as a basis for the performance-related part of total compensation. They take into consideration the achievement of targets, the performance of the employee’s main tasks and, in particular, the degree to which regulatory directives, internal regulations and client-specific instructions are complied with. Through management by objectives, line managers place trust in their employees, give freedom to organise their work and recognise the necessary individual developmental measures.
Central staff function – Human Resources
The Management of each individual company is responsible, together with line managers, for the specific deployment of employees and the supply of the necessary resources. The members of the personnel department support them, in this regard, both as a staff function as well as through pertinent technical knowledge and by assuming specific administrative tasks. The decision-making power in the specific cases lies with the line managers.
In Liechtenstein locations, the unit Group Human Resources makes the whole spectrum of its services available. This encompasses all operational HR activities including counselling and supporting line managers and employees. In Liechtenstein, operations are assured for the entire VP Bank Group as well as the running of the central HR system as well as the management of the Group-wide organisational structure. In-house technical knowledge is available to Management for conceptual questions and thus flows into the further development of Group-wide human-resource management.
Local management at each further location must ensure that the necessary HR administration is in place either in-house or through external partners. Technical and administrative support is assured through the central unit in the Liechtenstein parent company. Appropriate HR specialists are on board in Zurich, Luxembourg and Singapore.
Involvement of employees
Employee representation (ER) was introduced in all Liechtenstein locations in 1988 as a result of the then recently adopted Employee Participation Act. The five members were elected at the end of 2012 for a four-year term of office. In the wake of the merger with Centrum Bank AG, the number of members was temporarily increased by the two previous personnel representatives of Centrum Bank AG to a total of seven. With the elections of 2017, ER will again operate with its original number of five members.
The work of ER is based on the Employee Participation Rules which were issued by the Executive Board. The ER must be informed by the Executive Board and heard whenever the general conditions of employment are to be amended or when a reduction in headcount is foreseen. Decision-making powers in the matter, however, lie with the Executive Board itself.
In VP Bank (Luxembourg) SA and VP Fund Solutions (Luxembourg) SA, there exists a joint Workers’ Council which represents the interests of the employees of both companies. Because of the size of the companies, ten members are elected to the delegation of the personnel, of which five are permanent members and five substitute members.
The Workers’ Council represents the interests of the employees of a company and stands up for the protection and improvement of working conditions, the defence of the employment situation and jobs as well as for protecting the employees’ social status. The employer must inform the Workers’ Council on business operations and the development of the company as well as on the most recent and probable development of its activities and its financial situation. The Workers’ Council has equally the right to request certain information at regular intervals.
Data platform SAP HCM
Since 2010, VP Bank, with SAP HCM, has a technical platform for the most varied HR activities at its disposal. The central system is the combined database for all locations and is developed constantly to tap further potential uses thereof, within the means available.
The information available within SAP HCM constitutes, so to speak, the “backbone” for managing human resources. It encompasses the entire organisational structure Group-wide with permanent positions and the individuals allocated there to as well as detailed information on employees such as the qualifications and authorisation of client advisors enabling them to work on a cross-border basis. The central database is necessary not only for HR processes, it flows into other business processes. In this manner, future personnel costs for the entire Group for the current year and subsequent years can be extrapolated on a quarterly basis, for instance.
The maintenance of the data is undertaken by the central HR unit in the parent company. Also, reports from the system are made available centrally for the various locations as and when the need arises. The function is available Group-wide to line managers on a “management self-service” basis. With the aid of this web-based application, the line manager has direct access to the time management and personal data of the employees reporting to him and the possibility to prepare reports himself (birthday lists, long-service anniversaries etc.) as well as managing employee absences. The “Employee Self Service” portal, which was introduced as of 1 January 2016, serves employees to retrieve their own absences, visualise their own employee master data as well as their own wage and salary slips.
During 2016, e-recruiting was introduced in the locations of Liechtenstein, Zurich and Luxembourg. This enables the Group to present an even more professional image to the outside world and a more efficient processing of job applications based on the joint platform for HR officers, line managers and recruitment agencies. Potential candidates rapidly obtain an overview over our vacancies internationally and can apply directly online. Their documents can thus be stored centrally and accessed at any time by line managers and HR officers. E-recruiting facilitates in-house cooperation between line personnel and HR and offers at any time a current overview on the status of the recruitment process.
With a headcount of 804 people as of 31 December 2016, VP Bank Group employed 6 people more than at the beginning of the year.
At the Zurich location, a minor reduction in employee headcount of 2 (expressed as FTEs: –2.5) to 60 employees occurred.
There was also reduction of 4 to 95 employees in VP Bank in Luxembourg (expressed as FTEs: –6.9). As a result of the growth in Asia, the headcount in the subsidiary in Singapore increased by 10 to 40 employees in 2016 (prior year: 30). Minimal changes took place in Hong Kong (+ one employee) and in the British Virgin Islands (–2 employees).
At of the beginning of 2017, several front-office functions were reorganised and a performance-oriented salary model for client advisors with direct client responsibility was introduced. This reallocation has a direct impact on the number of client advisors previously reported. VP Bank Group employed a total of 136 client advisors at the end of 2016, as a result.
In VP Bank, client advisors are defined as those which are client-facing and managing allocated assets.
Not defined as client advisors, as they have no allocated clients, are client-facing employees, such as active advisory personnel, investment consultants and counter staff.
FTE = Full-time equivalents
HC = Headcount (employees in absolute terms)
The headcount of client advisors shows a slight increase. With a reported number of 136 client advisors (prior year: 132), VP Bank was able to recruit 4 new colleagues. This number equates to 17 per cent of all Group employees, as in the prior year. In Singapore, the number of client advisors increased by 4 to reach 14, in Switzerland by 1 to reach 21 and in Hong Kong by 1 to 5 individuals. In Liechtenstein, conversely, the number of client advisors declined by 2 to 69 individuals.
The average service period in VP Bank Group, at the end of 2016, remained stable at 10 years. Equally stable is the number for VP Bank, Vaduz with some 11.5 years.
Employees who are Swiss nationals continue to make up the largest group of all employees at 34.5 per cent (prior year: 34.8 per cent). The share of Liechtenstein citizens declined slightly from 29.6 to 29.1 per cent. The third-largest share with 12.4 per cent is still constituted by employees from Germany (prior year: 12.3 per cent).
Recruitment of employees and resignations
The recruitment of new employees was unequal in terms of distribution over the year. In 2016, VP Bank tended to have more unfilled positions in the 2nd half than in the 1st half of the year. Various profiles are currently not easy to find or fiercely fought over on the marketplace, such as, for instance, IT specialists. The recently-introduced candidate-management software has markedly contributed to making recruitment processes more efficient. Since the introduction of the recruitment tool as of mid-2016 up through to the end of 2016, over 1,000 applications were processed using the tool. In addition to the Liechtenstein parent company, the tool is also deployed in VP Bank (Switzerland) Ltd and VP Bank (Luxembourg) SA.
The recruitment of technically and socially competent individuals fitting the needs of VP Bank is and remains the main task of personnel work. VP Bank builds upon a standardised recruitment process comprising interviews and personality analyses.
When an employee leaves, they are also professionally accompanied. Exit interviews are conducted with them by line mangers and the Human Resources department whereby leaving employees are interviewed using a standardised method.
In 2016, a total of 140 individuals (prior year: 129) left VP Bank Group. This equates to a fluctuation rate of 17.5 per cent. This value is to be viewed within the context of current reorganisation processes.
Retaining and remunerating staff
Job content which appears meaningful and satisfying, as well as the working atmosphere are demonstrably of enormous importance in order that employees should feel well. Many reasons can destroy a good working atmosphere: influences from within or because of economic circumstances just as much as events in the employee’s personal or family environment.
To measure employee satisfaction, a Group-wide staff survey was conducted in the autumn of 2015 with 88 per cent of employees participating. The results were analysed in-depth and in the following year, 2016, measures were derived therefrom on all hierarchical levels in order to lay the foundation for future positive changes.
VP Bank is aware that employees are to be viewed as individuals with differing needs and within the context of their own living conditions. The contact persons in the HR departments stand willingly at the disposal of all employees to clarify issues arising of any nature whatsoever. In addition to regular discussions with those involved, to searching for solutions as well as the following of conflictual and personal crisis situations, team analyses and coachings are held to assist employees and line managers. Individual evaluations or developmental counselling are also offered. A broad expertise is available in-house and, where required, is supplemented using external partners.
Compensation is also essential for the contentment of employees and their loyalty to the company. VP Bank subscribes to paying fair remuneration in line with the market. The guaranteed fixed remuneration varies according to function and related demands whereas any possible variable salary components are geared to the success of the company and to individual performance.
A good 35 employees took advantage of the “Volunteering Day” in 2016 and which had been introduced at the end of 2015. They undertook missions in a non-profit institution in one of the following areas: social issues, education programmes or ecology/environment. The bank makes one day per annum per employee available for this programme during working hours. The feedback both from the employees and the institutions in which such missions were undertaken was extremely positive.
The finance industry has changed and developed signifi- cantly over recent years. New challenges such as digitalisation intensify and accelerate this process even more and modify the requirements profile for executives and bank employees substantially. In order to assert oneself in this highly competitive environment and fulfil the increased demands of clients, committed, enthusiastic and competent employees are required.
Already for years, VP Bank has, for this reason, invested in individual training and further education as well as the technical development of its employees, especially in the know- how of client advisors. In this respect, in-house specialised units and experts make an important contribution in training courses focussed on company-specific knowledge. This wealth of knowledge available in-house is supplemented by selected external partners. Also, the proprietary e-learning platform offers an instrument transcending time and locations in order to realise training courses efficiently and in a resource-friendly manner.
Various training initiatives and measures taken during 2016 exemplify the strategic significance of personnel development for VP Bank. For instance, the client advisors in Liechtenstein and Switzerland were amongst the first to obtain certification according to the advisory standards based on “SAQ – Swiss Association for Quality” and thus operate in line with the highest professional standards. Furthermore, the certificate course for market-development activities in Germany was continued as well as various product-related courses undertaken; training courses on the advisory process and on the advisory tool, inter alia. These measures ensure a sounder quality of advice and a more comprehensive service.
The principal emphasis in cultural and leadership development was placed on the development and implementation during the year of the multi-stage programme “Leading@VPBank”. The various training courses facilitate not only the advancement of specific leadership know-how but also a transfer of practical experience across all management levels and Group locations. The training courses were accompanied by Management and moderated by external partners. The leadership training courses are an important building-block in strategic employee development and are supplemented by various measures resulting from the employee survey.
In Liechtenstein, 40 individuals (prior year: 38) completed a vocational training course resulting in a recognised diploma, a further 46 employees were in continuing education at the end of 2016.
At the end of 2016, VP Bank was training 17 (prior year: 20) adolescents as commercial apprentices and a further 5 as IT specialists. In the summer of 2016, 8 (prior year: 10) trainees successfully passed their final examinations and 7 took up the offer of employment.
Graduate programmes for students and graduates could also be expanded within the framework of developing junior staff and the number of volunteer posts markedly increased. Active marketing at universities, coupled with professional onboarding, bore fruit in 2016: three of the eight students of the University of Liechtenstein nominated at the same time for the banking award had been active in developmental programmes of VP Bank.
Further information is to be found in the chapter on “The social commitment of VP Bank” under “Responsibility as employer".
Employee statistics of VP Bank Group
Numbers of employees by location
Variance with previous year