comdirect: High half-year profit in light of volatility on securities exchanges
- Half-year profit for 2020: €146.2m before tax
- Record trades: 24.7m in first six months
- Consistently dynamic growth: 172k net new customers in H1
- New cooperation: comdirect is now o2 Banking partner
comdirect group closed the first half of 2020 with a pre-tax profit of €146.2m, up significantly on the figure for the previous year (€30.9m*). The sharp upturn in profit is thanks to exceptionally high trading activity on the part of customers due to stock market volatility. “Not only did we see a record number of trades in the first six month of 2020, we also reported the largest customer growth within a half-year in more than ten years,” said Frauke Hegemann, CEO of comdirect bank AG. “In the last few months, more and more people have discovered how simple and practical online and mobile banking can be and have opened an account with us.”
Number of customers, assets under control and net fund inflows at record high
The customer base rose by 172k net new customers in the first six months of the years (previous year: 128k) to 2.91m at the end of June 2020. Climbing by 196k to 1.76m, the number of custody accounts enjoyed a particularly sharp upturn. The number of current accounts rose by 54k to 1.75m. Despite falling market values on securities exchanges (which impacted customer assets negatively by €3.3bn), total assets under control climbed by 8% in the half-year period to €86.8bn, up on €80.2bn at the end of 2019. At €10.0bn, net fund inflows reached a record high, with €6.7bn of this figure invested in custody accounts (previous year: €3.4bn). Commenting on this, Hegemann said that “the figures also show that customers increasingly turned their attention to investments in securities in the last few months. Many have taken advantage of the volatility to invest more or even to invest in securities for the first time.”
comdirect partners up with o2 Banking
As the bank on the mobile phone, comdirect has been the new banking partner of o2 since the end of May 2020. In addition to the free current account and the related app that mirrors o2’s look and feel, o2 customers can now also take advantage of all of comdirect’s services. A bonus programme with innovative value-added services is also planned starting in autumn 2020.
Net commission income more than doubles – net interest income down on previous year
comdirect’s income increased by 65% to €291.0m in the first half of 2020 (previous year: €176.6m). Its main source of income was net commission income, which more than doubled as against the previous year to €220.4m (€103.9m). At 24.7m, the number of orders executed is 113% higher than in the previous year (11.6m) against the backdrop of extreme market volatility. Consistently negative interest rates caused net interest income after provisions for possible loan losses to fall to €56.5m (previous year: €62.8m). Other income climbed from €9.8m in the previous year to €14.0m.
At €144.8m, administrative expenses remained on par with the previous year’s level despite the high number of trades and customer enquiries (€145.7m). In addition to lower sales expenses, this reflects improved cost-efficiency thanks to systematically digitalising processes.
comdirect group’s pre-tax profit amounted to €146.2m in the reporting period, significantly bettering the prior-year figure (€30.9m for continued activities, €41.5m for the group). Consolidated net profit amounted to €104.4m (previous year: €24.5m for continued activities, €32m for the group).
Full-year forecast raised
In light of ongoing high volatility on capital markets and unexpectedly strong trading activity by customers in the second quarter which resulted in exceptionally high income, comdirect is revising its forecast for 2020 as a whole and anticipates pre-tax profit of between €180m and €210m. comdirect had already increased its forecast for the year as a whole in April of this year (to €130m to €150m before taxes).
Merger of comdirect with Commerzbank planned
At the end of September 2019, Commerzbank announced its intention to fully integrate comdirect into Commerzbank. comdirect shareholders will receive an appropriate cash settlement for their shares as part of the squeeze-out under merger law resolved at the annual general meeting in May 2020. comdirect will be maintained as a Commerzbank brand. Initially, nothing will change for comdirect customers in terms of services as a result of this legal change.