Who do we create value for?

Clients, shareholders and employees are the primary stakeholders we create value for. Our role as a bank is to finance economic growth by facilitating investment and credit. And we support people and businesses with the financial services they need to reach their goals. As a firm, we contribute by directly employing over 60,000 people, by consuming products and services and by paying taxes.

Letter to Shareholders, UBS Annual Report 2017

We attach great importance to finding out how our stakeholders view us and what their values and priorities are. To this end, we initiate regular and productive dialogue across a wide range of topics. This engagement with stakeholders yields important information on their expectations and concerns and offers critical contribution to our understanding and management of issues with potential (positive and negative) relevance to our bank.

Our relationships with stakeholders are multi-faceted and include major stand-alone interactions with large groups (e.g. the employee survey), regular communications throughout the year with representatives from a particular group (e.g. media), as well as dialogue meetings with single individuals (e.g. client enquiries). This engagement is essential for us to understand and address their expectations and concerns in an informed and effective manner and provide long-term value.

Relationships are about mutual interests and also about behavior and trust. That is why UBS’s Principles and Behaviors are the basis for how we build, manage and develop our relationships with our five most important stakeholder groups. A good relationship is the foundation for creating value. Principles and Behaviors

Investors

Our senior management and the Investor Relations team regularly communicate with investors, financial analysts and rating agencies. The Investor Relations and Corporate Responsibility Management teams also interact with shareholders focused on sustainability to discuss topics such as compliance, corporate culture, and climate change. UBS strives to achieve a consistently fair valuation for its shares through best-in-class disclosure, transparency and communication practices.

Attractive capital returns

We have an attractive and flexible capital returns policy. Our earnings capacity and capital efficiency support our objective to deliver sustainable and increasing capital returns to our shareholders. We aim to increase our ordinary dividend per share at a mid-to-high single-digit percent per annum. We may also return excess capital, after accruals for ordinary dividends, most likely in the form of share repurchases, after considering our outlook and subject to regulatory approval.

Since 2012, we have substantially reduced risk and balance sheet exposures, while increasing our total loss-absorbing capacity by around CHF 50 billion to almost CHF 80 billion. Our progress and overall resilience is reflected in our valuation compared to peers, our credit ratings and, most importantly, the trust our clients place in us. We plan to operate with a fully applied CET1 capital ratio of around 13% and a fully applied CET1 leverage ratio of around 3.7%. Our fully applied CET1 ratios are comfortably above the 2020 requirements.    Capital strength

Financial disclosure

We fully support transparency and consistent and informative disclosure. We aim to communicate our strategy and results in a manner that allows stakeholders to gain a good understanding of how our Group works, what our growth prospects are and the risks our businesses and our strategy entail. We assess feedback from analysts and investors on a regular basis and, where appropriate, reflect this in our disclosures. To continue achieving these goals, we apply the following principles in our financial reporting and disclosure:

  • Transparency that enhances the understanding of economic drivers and builds trust and credibility
  • Consistency within each reporting period and between reporting periods
  • Simplicity that allows readers to gain a good understanding of the performance of our businesses
  • Relevance by focusing not only on what is required by regulation or statute but also on what is relevant to our stakeholders and
  • Best practice that leads to improved standards

Clients

People who bank with UBS do so because they know we always try to deliver the best of what we can offer as a firm. But we know we must never get complacent, because our clients look for the best, and competition is fierce.    Client focus

Client focus, therefore, is one of the UBS Principles. Higher levels of client satisfaction tend to correlate with higher net new money, higher net revenues and more referrals.

We learn a lot from our clients just by doing business with them. But we go one step further by taking a more systematic approach to find out how clients see us, what they expect from us and where we can improve.

In our IB, for instance, clients voted for their preferred research analysts and teams in each region, via the Institutional Investor’s ranking. Collectively, this resulted in UBS holding 162 leading positions across the world, ahead of more than 270 other sell-side firms competing in the polls.

In our Swiss business, client satisfaction rose by more than 50% between 2009 and 2015. And in 2017, UBS was named “Best Domestic Cash Manager Switzerland” for its first-class service for the seventh year in succession, on the basis of a customer survey carried out by the international finance magazine Euromoney. In addition, UBS was also named Best Bank in Switzerland for the sixth year running by Euromoney.

Smart solutions, better advice

P&C introduced a number of product and service innovations such as the “Remote Expert,” a video conference tool that gives corporate clients direct access to product specialists. Two more innovations are the improved account opening app and the “liquidity cockpit” that enables corporate clients to see all of their companies’ cash flows at a glance and control them easily. UBS has also introduced the multibank-enabled KeyPort portal for medium-sized and large companies, which allows them to handle all their payment processes via a single channel. UBS Atrium was another innovation in 2017. On this new networking platform, mortgage seekers can meet Swiss institutional investors in search of reliable, long-term financing opportunities in Swiss real estate.    Excellence

Employees

Our employees’ skills, experience and commitment are key to delivering on our business strategy. Our human resource (HR) strategy therefore seeks to hire, develop and engage talented employees at all levels who have the diverse backgrounds and capabilities to advise our clients, develop new products, manage risk and adapt to evolving regulations. We invest in our employees and promote initiatives that build engagement and a cohesive, collaborative culture.

Having a strong culture is vital to our sustained success. In 2013, we introduced the three keys to success – our Pillars, Principles and Behaviors. They help us achieve our vision and execute our strategy, shaping how we work together and influencing everything we do. Since then, we have focused on strengthening our culture and embedding our core values more deeply into the identity of the firm. In 2017, we continued with our firm-wide culture-building program, working closely with senior managers from all divisions, functions and regions.

A key initiative remains our very successful Group Franchise Awards (GFA) program, which we implemented in 2016 to recognize culture-building behavior. The GFA program allows us to track cross-business collaboration and develop ideas for simplifying our processes. The program has maintained strong momentum in terms of both the number and the quality of submissions from across the entire firm. Behaviors

Engaged employees

We want our employees to be engaged and to share their views on the status quo and our culture. We also want to give them the opportunity to have an impact on the firm’s future. Since 2016, we have regularly surveyed all our permanent employees to capture their feedback on how we are doing as a firm. In 2017, we conducted two surveys, in which 74% and 80% of eligible employees, respectively, participated. In both surveys, a significant majority of respondents agreed that they are proud to work at UBS and would recommend the firm to family andfriends. They think the firm has a positive work environment and the learning and career opportunities offered are continuously improving for employees at all levels. 

Our ongoing ambition remains to have a highly motivated workforce that models integrity, collaboration and challenge in their daily work. We also want to be the clear employer of choice in the financial services industry. Our goal is to maintainoverall engagement ratings in the top quartile. 

Skilled workforce

A skilled workforce to execute our business strategy is crucial to our success. We provide learning and development opportunities to all our employees to support them in enhancing their knowledge and skills at all ages and career stages. For example, we offer development programs, business education and role-specific training. Furthermore, as one of the top educators of entry level talent in Switzerland, we train more than 1,800 young people each year, including apprentices, interns and high school and university graduates. In 2017, our permanent employees participated in approximately 765,500 development activities, including mandatory training on compliance, business and other topics. This was an average of 12.2 training sessions, or 2.3 training days, per employee.

Career Comeback

The UBS Career Comeback Program is an initiative we launched in Switzerland and the US in 2016 and extended to the UK in 2017. The program supports professionals who wish to return to corporate jobs after a career break and features on-the- job experience, classroom learning and mentoring. The program has proven successful: so far, Career Comeback has given 65 women and two men the opportunity to relaunchtheir careers.

Governments and regulators

Governments and regulators are shaping the world we live in. We expect that regulation will remain a major driver for change in the industry. While UBS is in favor of strong regulation, we believe that new regulation or a further tightening thereof should take into account the impact on consumers of financial services and the economy as a whole. Sufficient collaborative dialogue between regulators, policymakers and the industry is therefore key, and UBS is actively participating in this dialogue.    Collaboration

In 2017, discussions regarding the regulatory framework for financial institutions continued to figure prominently among the major topics of the intense dialogue between UBS senior management and specialized functions, governments, regulators and supervisory bodies. Topics included further changes to the prudential framework for banks, recovery and resolution planning, and market and product reforms including over-thecounter OTC derivative reforms, US FATCA/OECD Exchange of Information and the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Regulation (MiFID / MiFIR).   Capital strength

With regard to corporate responsibility and sustainability issues, we actively participated in discussions with government bodies and in industry discussions concerning the implementation of the commitments made at the Paris Climate Change Conference and in the SDGs. In addition, we contribute to the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). On a regional basis we engaged with the EU High-level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. In our home country, Switzerland, we continue to actively contribute to pertinent sustainability discussions with various government bodies.

Communities

As the largest wealth manager in the world and Switzerland’s leading universal bank, we see it as our duty to be a trusted and reliable corporate citizen.

Our approach is to build sustainable and successful partnerships with non-profit organizations and social enterprises to help our contributions have a lasting impact. Our Community Affairs programs seek to overcome disadvantage through longterm investment in education and entrepreneurship in the communities within which we operate.

We provide focused financial and human support, including through the use of skills-based employee volunteering programs and client participation where appropriate. Our employees are at the heart of the program delivery and act as role models for young people and as mentors for social entrepreneurs. UBS provides employees with up to two days of paid leave for volunteering annually.

In 2017, UBS made direct cash contributions totaling CHF 39 million, including support through its affiliated foundations in Switzerland and the UBS Anniversary Education Initiative. Over 89% of UBS’s Community Affairs grants were made in the areas of education and entrepreneurship. 31% of our employees volunteered in our communities compared with 30% in 2016. Additionally, UBS contributed a total of CHF 5.5 million to the UBS Optimus Foundation. 

Our Community Affairs program benefited 126,279 young people and entrepreneurs across all of the regions in which we operate.