Strong start to the year for comdirect
- Good Q1 2018 pre-tax profit of €29.3m
- Very dynamic growth: 54k new customers, 51k new custody accounts
- Number of B2C trades at a record high: 5.9m in three months
- cominvest: over €300m in customer funds invested
The comdirect group closed the first quarter of 2018 with a pre-tax profit of €29.3m, exceeding the previous year’s high level (€27.4m) by 7%. Pre-tax return on equity stood at 18.7% (previous year: 18.6%). “comdirect has made a successful start to the year,” says Arno Walter, CEO of comdirect bank AG. “The very dynamic growth in customers, the record number of trades and the associated significant increase in income demonstrate that our investments in growth and new services are effective, whether with the trading offensive, the new comdirect app with chat transfer or our digital asset manager cominvest. We further strengthened our position in the first quarter as the top address for saving, investing and trading with securities and as a smart financial companion for an increasingly mobile generation of customers.”
comdirect has already introduced a number of new services to the market in the second quarter. The new comdirect app now has a voice transfer function that works on android and iOS smartphones. Voice command enables customers to make transfers within a matter of seconds. comdirect has also introduced a smart risk assessment tool for customers with securities. Intuitive graphics help customers to obtain a good understanding of the risk in their custody account. An interactive tutorial provides beginners in particular with a quick introduction to the issue.
Record number of trades generates all-time high level of net commission income
Total income in the first three months amounted to €103.8m, 15.2% above that of the same quarter in the previous year (€90.1m). Income is affected by the high level of net commission income, which, at €74.0m, exceeded the previous year’s value (€59.1m) by 25% and reached a record high. This was due to the high number of B2C trades in the first quarter of 2018, which, at 5.9m, was up 61% on the previous year (3.7m). According to Walter, “The number of trades is at a record level. On the one hand, we have more customers and, on the other, the customers have taken advantage of the volatility on the stock exchanges and traded very briskly. And this was seen across all customer segments: from active traders to long-term investors.” Despite the persistent zero interest rate environment, net interest income after provisions for possible loan losses increased from €24.5m in the previous year’s quarter to €26.1m. Other income stood at €3.7m (previous year: €6.5m).
The administrative expenses of €74.5m increased by 19% compared to the previous year’s figure (€62.7m). In addition to higher sales expenses, reasons for the increase in particular included greater mandatory contributions for the deposit insurance scheme and the rise in other administrative and personnel expenses resulting from the integration of onvista.
Significantly faster growth in customers and custody accounts
In the first three months, the comdirect group’s total number of customers climbed by 54k to 3.4m, and the number of custody accounts by 51k to 2.1m. As of the end of the first quarter, Assets under Control (AuC) stood at €90.8bn.
The number of customers in the B2C business line (comdirect bank AG, including the onvista bank division) increased by 52k to 2.4m in the first quarter. Over the same period, the number of custody accounts rose by 49k to 1.3m, and the number of current accounts increased by 23k to 1.5m. Total AuC grew slightly to €59.6bn, compared with €59.0bn at the end of 2017. The high net fund inflows of €2.5bn have compensated for the market price losses on the stock exchanges. According to Walter, “The customer growth has increased significantly. Our products have the power to win people over. In the case of the digital asset manager cominvest, we already have over €300m in Assets under Management after around ten months in the market. We will continue with this in 2018, persuading more people to invest digitally and encouraging them to take control of their own asset accumulation.” comdirect recently launched a comprehensive online learning programme via the comdirect Academy to help private investors learn more about investing in securities. It communicates financial knowledge simply and conveniently via interactive elements and videos.
At around 1.05m, the number of customers in the B2B business line (ebase GmbH) remained stable in the first quarter. The seasonal closures of custody accounts for capital-building payments usual in the spring were approximately compensated for by new business. As of the end of the first quarter, total AuC stood at €31.2bn (end of 2017: €32.4bn).