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Key developments

The comdirect group ended financial year 2011 with the best result in the company’s history. Pre-tax profit totalled €108.1m and surpassed the previous year’s figure by around a third. The high level of profitability confirms the comdirect group’s sound business model and demonstrates that after the continued growth in brokerage and banking in the past few years, it is in a position to substantially benefit from market developments. The reporting year reflected active securities trading by our customers in a volatile capital market environment which impacted positively on net commission income. In addition, higher market interest rates ensured considerably better net interest income than in the previous year. Increased earnings were countered by a disproportionately lower rise in administrative expenses which related primarily to higher expenses for external services and marketing.

Thanks to our customer account with satisfaction guarantee in particular, we convinced more customers to switch to comdirect. For traders and investors, we have pooled a large number of product and service initiatives, including the launch of CFD trading and OTC limit trading, under our “Germany’s performance broker” umbrella campaign, and sharpened our profile. In our business with institutional partners, we also gained new customers with our substantially expanded range of products and services; here the focus was on white label custody account and account solutions, as well as special custody account solutions for insurance companies and financial intermediaries. Overall, the number of customers climbed by 14.6% to around 2.6m, while assets under custody recorded a price-related decline of 2.2% to €41.59bn despite significant net inflows. With 1.68m managed custody accounts, the comdirect group continues to be the market leader in online securities business in Germany for modern investors.

The disproportionately strong increase in net profit of 87.4% to the record level of €111.8m is due to a tax refund following a positive ruling in appeal proceedings. This concerned the tax treatment of foreign activities that were discontinued in earlier financial years. The decision also resulted in interest payments which increased pre-tax profit by €9.2m. Earnings per share climbed from €0.42 in the previous year to €0.79. The Board of Managing Directors and the Supervisory Board are proposing a dividend of €0.56 (previous year: €0.42); this corresponds to a total distribution of €79.1m. The remaining €32.7m will be transferred to retained earnings to strengthen our equity base with a view to further growth.