The past year has been one like no other. At the start of 2020, it would have been impossible to predict that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to take hold of the world in the way that it did. As a leading and trusted global wealth solutions provider, I’m proud to report that Lombard International Group maintained its best-in-class service, adopting new ways of working and implementing change quickly to ensure seamless business continuity that strongly supported our clients and business partners across the globe.
In addition to the adaptation of business practices and solutions, such as distance selling, e-signatures, remote working and digital communications, we continued to invest in our infrastructure, in our people and to innovate, delivering the exceptional service experience our partners and clients have come to expect.
Our 2020 financial results demonstrate the success of our endeavours, the strength of our business model, our market leading expertise and the relevance of our solutions in supporting the ever-evolving wealth planning needs of the upper affluent, HNW and UHNW clients and institutions that we serve across the globe.
2020 Financial Performance
Lombard International Group delivered a robust financial performance against the unprecedented global pandemic which caused significant market volatility and disruption to everyone’s daily lives, including those of our partners and clients.
The Group delivered €4.3 billion ($5.3 billion1) of new premium income and record Group Assets Under Administration (AUA) of €49.3 billion2 ($60.6 billion1).
Europe delivered €3.1 billion of new premium income and continued to grow AUA. This resilient performance, given the context of the pandemic, was delivered with key contributions from a number of core markets including France, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Of note is LIA Patrimoine, our regulated broker in France, which delivered a significant contribution, serving our growing network of local partners and intermediaries.
The United States delivered €1.1bn ($1.3 billion1) of new premium income and also continued to grow AUA. Despite the backdrop of a challenging socio-economic climate last year, the Private Client Business delivered strongly, with a solid performance from the Global Institutional Solutions Practice.
The region went into lockdown earlier than the rest of the world which impacted travel and new business opportunities from our brokerage businesses. However, the outlook is positive as PPLI solutions are becoming increasingly favoured over other more established products.
Our ‘Excellent’ financial rating, reaffirmed by AM Best, for the third consecutive year, in February 2021, in addition to Kroll Bond Rating Agency’s (KBRA) ‘A’ rating in November 2020, recognises our robust business model and very strong balance sheet. This is particularly meaningful amidst the unpredictable global economy in which we have been operating and it further reiterates the relevance, resilience, and success of our propositions and long-term growth strategy, as well as our ability to navigate an increasingly complex and uncertain world.
Strategic growth framework
In 2020 we continued to build on our strong foundations, driven by our market leading expertise, the quality of our team and our people-led, client-centric mindset, supported by ongoing investment into innovation and technology.
As we progress through 2021, our strategy is focused on the continued and sustainable growth of Lombard International Group, underpinned by operational and service excellence. Under this framework we are further bolstering our technology investments, enhancing our global connectivity, strengthening and leveraging the footprint of the Group, building differentiated product offerings, whilst also sharpening our market expertise.
Additionally, our strategic intent is to deepen and broaden strategic partnerships. We are striving to become even more connected globally, ensuring that we remain best in class across all the geographies in which we serve. To this end, we have two distinct but interrelated parts to our Group:
- First, our Private Clients’ Business which serves the wealth, estate and succession planning needs of upper affluent, high net worth, ultra-high net worth individuals and families, working in partnership with our business partners. These partners come in many different forms, all equally important to us, including private banks, family offices, asset managers, independent wealth and financial advisers, wealth and insurance brokers and professional advisory firms.
- Second, our Global Institutional Solutions Practice which focuses on improving global access to U.S. private markets for institutional investors such as pension funds, corporations, sovereign wealth funds, foundations, endowments, family offices and funds of funds, to enable their investment allocation to be more efficient and effective. For investment managers, the Practice offers a compelling way to advance capital raising outside of the U.S., with established solutions which can be integrated into European fund structures.
Industry leading insight
Launching in March 2021, our highly anticipated and inaugural European Wealth Assurance Report offers in-depth analysis of the Unit-Linked Life Insurance landscape across Europe. Derived from a survey conducted late last year, the findings paint a valuable picture of the wealth professionals’ perspective, motivations and challenges in selecting or using Unit-Linked Life Insurance, also referred to as Private Placement Life Insurance, as a wealth and succession planning tool. Perhaps most importantly, the report articulates clear opportunities for the wealth assurance industry as it looks to adapt to the changing demographics, economic environment, and the ever more sophisticated wealth and succession planning needs of upper affluent, high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals.
The report details findings from nearly 700 wealth professional respondents based in the UK, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. It provides a unique overview of how wealth assurance solutions are perceived and used by wealth professionals, the key criteria for their decision making when it comes to selecting a wealth assurance provider, as well as their expectations in terms of servicing. This insight will inform our conversations with our partners and clients, in addition to supporting the wider industry to adapt and evolve.
Our 2021 priorities
2021 will be a year of change. The geopolitical and financial landscape will remain dynamic. Hopefully, the continued rapid development and deployment of vaccines will enable an accelerated transition to a new post-pandemic era.
Over the course of 2021 and beyond, technology will remain centre stage in our lives and in how we conduct business. Over the past year we have accelerated our technology evolution and have made great strides in enhancing our digital offering. Our own recent industry research has revealed that 75% of the wealth management market in Europe expects digitalisation to accelerate at great speed over the next three years.
It is our strategic intent to continue boosting our digital connectivity and integration with our strategic partners across all our markets. New developments include further investment into our digital transaction capabilities including a new investment platform and automated onboarding processes, which perfectly complements our individually tailored, expert-driven solutions. We will also be leveraging cloud technologies and APIs to ensure that we remain agile, in parallel to enhancing our operational efficiency and, where possible, embedding our digital solutions into partner systems. All this will ultimately further enhance the client and partner experience.
Other key themes to watch this year will include the evolution of international relations, global trade and climate change. Furthermore, Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) will stay top of the agenda, with an increased focus on green growth and sustainability. As a trusted partner, we will continue to provide the best service to our partners and clients, maintaining open and active dialogue to effectively support their asset allocation and wealth planning strategies. In addition, diversity, equity and inclusion is becoming more important to society at large. Investors and the wider financial services sector will be seeking new ways to tackle these systemic subjects; and Lombard International Group will be an active voice in these discussions.
Moreover, throughout 2021, we will continue to develop and grow our business in each of our core regions of Europe and the United States, with renewed attention on Asia and Latin America. This includes broadening our geographical footprint in Europe and building new distribution partnerships with renowned international wealth and insurance brokers in emerging markets.
A special year for Lombard International Group
2021 is also a special year at Lombard International Group as it marks our 30th anniversary. For three decades, our core purpose has been to help ensure our clients’ assets are protected, preserved and passed on so that they may serve their families, their institutions and their communities now and in the future.
This purpose gives us focus. It enables us to weather the storms of uncertain global markets. It gives our clients and partners confidence and assurance in a changing world. Our success is founded on our ability to offer solutions that are proven, robust and fully aligned to the relevant tax and regulatory frameworks, but also, highly flexible, portable, and adaptable to the evolving lifestyles of our clients, whilst safeguarding their interests against both the certain and the unknown.
The pace of change is rapid, and we have moved into 2021 at a sprint. There has never been a greater need for our solutions. Our multi-jurisdictional expertise, agility, and eagerness to tackle complex problems mean that we remain a provider of choice. We have exceptional in-house specialist knowledge and capability to manage the challenges of near constant change to regulation, market dynamics, an ever-greater emphasis on wealth longevity and the increasing social responsibility of our clients.
None of this can be achieved without our talented people, and the continued trust placed in us by our partners and clients, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing support.
We are well positioned and fully equipped to deliver continued growth and value to our partners and clients, and I’m therefore confident that 2021 will be another rewarding and exciting year for Lombard International Group. As the world reopens, we will emerge stronger, more agile and able to seize the opportunities that lie ahead of us.
Group Chief Executive Officer
1 EUR amounts have been converted in USD using the spot rate at 31 December 2020 of 1.23
2 As of 31 December 2020