Employees of VP Bank
Working on behalf of the company strategy
The financial services industry faces increasingly rapid changes. At every level, our employees must continuously adapt to changing circumstances and work in the company’s best interest. They are constantly confronted with new regulations and market conditions.
For VP Bank, it is essential that employees be connected and feel they belong to the company in order to overcome the challenges they face and lead the company toward a continued successful future. VP Bank therefore conducts regular surveys in order to measure employee commitment and satisfaction. The goal of the Group-wide survey is to determine areas for improvement and maintain existing strengths. In September 2017, another Group-wide survey was conducted that received an outstanding 91 per cent response rate. The clear improvement in the key measures “Spirit” and “Attractive employer” and the significant increase in the “Commitment” metric demonstrate that the bank is on the right track.
Training and continuing education
VP Bank is committed to providing professional training for interns in the sales and information technology areas. Highly trained instructors complement the trade schools and pass on their industry knowledge, thereby ensuring that trainees can apply their knowledge in practice and learn about the broadest range of work and operating areas. These efforts lay the foundation for future career moves following the training period. The bank’s appeal among young employees is evidenced by the fact that more than 80 per cent of trainees continue to work at VP Bank three years after they have completed their training, and two-thirds of these young talents have already taken their first step up the ladder through either a change in position or by pursuing higher-level external training. For the bank, the development of trainees through the dual work/education system continues to represent a strategically important talent management component.
Last year, the development programme for students (support model) and university graduates (career start) was further expanded. These programmes offer attractive first-time jobs at VP Bank. In the “support model”, masters-level students can combine theory and practice and gain valuable experience over a 12- to 24-month period. In the “career start” programme, graduates have the opportunity to further their knowledge in two or three selected areas as well as participate in specialised and foreign internships in preparation for a defined target function after 18 months and take their first career step.
Through the graduates programmes and apprenticeship training, VP Bank develops future talent in a targeted manner in order to secure its corresponding growth from within.
At end-2017, VP Bank had 14 apprentices in the sales programme and another five studying information technology. In the summer of 2017, eight apprentices successfully completed their final exams and six were given fixed employment positions.
In the graduates programmes at end-2017, three students were enrolled in the work-study support model and six graduates Group-wide were in the career start programme.
HR Strategy 2020 (Human Resources – HR)
VP Bank’s strategy rests on three pillars: growth, focus and culture. To successfully exploit the opportunities arising from this change, ultimately it all comes down to employees. The HR vision “Safely ahead with the VP Bank spirit: grow – move – inspire. It takes inspired employees to inspire our clients.” is intended to point the way forward. In order to achieve this goal, VP Bank’s HR strategy focuses on three key areas: talent management, performance management and change management, all of them based on the pillars of VP Bank’s strategy. VP Bank promotes a culture of open and constructive teamwork based on mutual respect, including across borders. A strong culture lays the foundation for a successful VP Bank. Various leadership training sessions for all management levels and at all locations also contribute to that end. For example, the “VP Bank Journeys” programme enables employees to get to know companies outside of the financial industry in order to promote knowledge sharing for their own work.
Management by Objectives (MbO)
In the company management realm, the Management by Objectives (MbO) process plays a central role. VP Bank Group’s goals are broken down, from the company level on down to the individual units. At the individual level, corresponding objectives and primary tasks are set for individual employees. The employees’ activities are thereby systematically oriented in the right direction and the achievement of the bank’s objectives is coordinated with those of the individuals.
At the end of the reporting period, the manager assesses and recognises the performance of the employees when determining performance-oriented remuneration. The manager takes into account the achievement of objectives, the satisfactory completion of the principal tasks and, notably, compliance with regulatory provisions, internal rules and client-specific conditions. With the management by objectives process, superiors trust their employees, let them figure out how to do their job and recognise the required individual development measures.
The Group Human Resources unit
The Human Resources department has its own staff at the Liechtenstein, Zurich, Luxembourg and Singapore sites. For certain HR functions, the department brings in external service providers. Group HR manages global topics and, where necessary, includes the country companies. Along with the local HR staff, the unit is divided into three main segments: HR Development, HR Recruiting & Consulting and HR Compensation, Benefits & Services. Group Human Resources advises Group Executive Management, senior management and employees, provides suitable instruments and handles a number of subjects. Human Resources plays a pivotal role and ensures that tasks, skills and responsibilities are properly matched up and administered. HR also supports key processes such as recruiting, exits, wage setting, promotions and much more. Employee development is yet another key component of human resources work. VP Bank invests heavily in the technical training of its employees and managers and in 2017 rolled out various internal leadership training programmes.
The employee representation organisation (Arbeitnehmervertretung – ANV) was created at the Liechtenstein sites in 1998, based on the then newly enacted Employee Participation Act (Mitwirkungsgesetz). The five current members of this organisation were elected to a four-year term in 2017.
The ANV’s functions are based on the Employee Participation Rules, which were issued by Executive Management. Whenever general employment conditions are amended or staff reductions are planned, Executive Management must inform the ANV and give it a chance to participate, although decision-making powers remain with Executive Management. The ANV serves as a contact point for all employees at the Liechtenstein site in order to discuss everything from employee terminations to car park operations and to defend employee interests. All proposals, complaints and personal matters are handled with utmost discretion in regularly scheduled meetings within the ANV. Regular meetings are also held between the Chairman of the ANV and the HR division’s management in order to discuss current personnel matters.
At VP Bank (Luxembourg) SA and VP Fund Solutions (Luxembourg) SA, a joint works council represents the employees of both companies. Given the size of the company, the employee delegation comprises 10 elected members, five of whom are permanent members and five are alternates.
The Works Council represents employee interests and intervenes to protect and improve working conditions, defend employment situations and jobs as well as protect employees’ social security benefits. The employer must inform the Works 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 economic situation. The Works Council also has the right to request certain information at regular intervals.
At 31 December 2017, VP Bank Group had 861 employees, up 57 from the start of the year. The number of employees at the Zurich site increased by 23 to 83 (full-time equivalents: +21.8). VP Bank in Singapore also saw its headcount increase by nine employees to 49 (full-time equivalents +9.0). The Luxembourg site had a minor decrease (–1), while headcounts in Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands were unchanged.
At the start of 2017, a performance-oriented remuneration model was introduced for client advisors with direct client responsibility. At end-2017, VP Bank Group had a total of 149 client advisors.
At VP Bank, client advisors are defined as those employees who are client facing and manage allocated assets.
Client-facing employees such as active advisory team members, investment consultants and clerks are not considered client advisors since they do not have any allocated assets.
FTE = Full Time Equivalents
HC = Headcount (nominal number of employees)
The number of client advisors rose significantly. VP Bank added 13 new advisors, bringing the total number of experienced advisors up from 136 the previous year to 149. As in the previous year, client advisors make up 17 per cent of all Group employees. In Zurich, the number of client advisors rose by 13 to 34, while the numbers at the other office locations remained unchanged.
The average length of service at VP Bank Group fell from 10 to nine years at year-end 2017. This trend was also evident at VP Bank Vaduz, where average length of service fell from 11.5 years in 2016 to 10.4 years last year.
As regards nationalities, Swiss employees continue to represent the largest group at 37.0 per cent of the total, up from 34.5 per cent last year. The relative number of Liechtenstein nationals contracted from 29.1 per cent to 25.9 per cent. German employees continue to represent the third-largest group, with 12.5 per cent in 2017, up from 12.4 per cent the previous year (see chart below).
Employee recruitment and exits
In mid-2017, VP Bank had nearly 50 job openings Group-wide, marking the high point for unfilled positions. By year-end, that number had been cut in half. Certain job profiles such as risk or IT specialists remain hard to find in the labour market. Lately the number of applicants outside the catchment area applying for jobs has been on the rise. The applicant tracking software introduced in 2016 has proven its worth and contributed to more efficient management of job openings as well as faster responses to applicants. In 2017, a total of approximately 2,500 job applications were managed.
The recruitment of technically and socially competent individuals who fit the needs of VP Bank is and always will be one of the primary tasks of the human resources function. VP Bank uses a standardised recruiting process based on interviews and a personality analysis.
Employees exiting the company also receive professional support. Exit interviews are conducted by both line managers and human resources staff, with exiting employees surveyed using a standardised form.
In 2017 a total of 140 people left VP Bank Group (2016: 140), resulting in a turnover ratio of 16.8 per cent.
Employee retention, remuneration and support
Job functions that appear meaningful and satisfying as well as a good work environment are clearly important considerations for employee well-being. Many factors can destroy a good working environment: bad inﬂuences from within the company, economic circumstances or even an employee’s personal or family situation.
VP Bank is aware that employees should be seen as individuals with differing needs and within the context of their own life situations. The contact persons in the HR departments are always ready and willing to help all employees or their line managers clarify any issues that may arise. Support measures for employees and line managers include regular discussions with those involved, searching for solutions, support during situations of conﬂict or personal crisis and also team analyses and coaching. Employees at the Liechtenstein and Swiss locations may also take advantage of external help for work and non-work-related difficult situations. This professional service may be used around the clock with a broad range of specialists, and can be kept anonymous upon request. Individual evaluations or developmental counselling are also offered. Broad expertise is available in-house and, where required, is supplemented using external partners.
Remuneration is also essential for employee satisfaction and loyalty to the company. VP Bank is committed to paying fair and competitive remuneration in line with the market. Guaranteed fixed remuneration varies according to function and related requirements, whereas variable salary components are geared to the success of the company and individual performance. Pension obligations are guaranteed by Treuhand-Personalstiftung for employees in Liechtenstein, by AXA Winterthur for employees at VP Bank (Schweiz) AG and by the statutory pension fund for employees of VP Bank (Luxembourg) SA. In addition, VP Bank (Luxembourg) SA pays into a pension scheme with the Lalux insurance company for its employees.
In addition to financial incentives, employees also receive other attractive benefits depending on the location. These benefits range from sporting and social activities and events to the possibility of purchasing additional vacation days to length of service benefits, health offers, subsidised canteen meals, attractive offers in the mobility area and much more.
VP Bank would like to inspire its clients with unique customer experiences and support them in a skilled, personalised and straightforward manner. That requires a well-developed learning and performance culture, an entrepreneurial approach and a high degree of individual responsibility. To complement its young talent development initiatives, the company once again initiated or implemented the broadest measures in training and continuing education for employees and managers in 2017. Depending on the target group, choice of topics and training objective, the sessions were carried out with selected in-house technical specialists or external partners and implemented either in person or through e-learning.
In addition to traditional technical and management training sessions, the Human Resources Development unit advised employees and managers through a broad range of training and continuing education issues, and during the year it implemented diverse team-building and organisational development measures, notably as regards the preparation of measures related to the employee survey.
Last year close attention was once again paid to training for client advisors. VP Bank Group has quite a few very well-educated advisors, who further hone their technical and sales skills regularly. Extensive training sessions were offered in Liechtenstein, Zurich and Luxembourg in connection with the launch of new products and advisory packages.
The overhaul of the advisory process and use of new advisory support materials and tools also created additional demand for the training of client advisors.
In 2017, VP Bank renewed its client advisory certification, a step now recommended by the Liechtenstein Bankers Association and Swiss Bankers Association for their member banks. With the implementation of this training initiative, VP Bank clearly demonstrates that it is on the cutting edge of strategic training programmes and invests continuously in the development of its employees.
The focus of last year’s culture and management development efforts last year lay in the continued development and implementation of the multi-level leadership programme. With the “Leading@VPBank” concept, VP Bank contributes to practical management development at all levels, which represents a key component in strategic employee development. The sharing of knowledge across all management levels and active support by management make this training particularly valuable.
Last year in Liechtenstein, 23 people completed a job-related course of studies with a recognised diploma, while another 41 people were participating in continuing education at end-2017.
Employee statistics of VP Bank Group
Number of employees by location
Variance with previous year