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Letter to the shareholders

Dear Shareholders and friends of comdirect,

A company will often prescribe itself a new strategy because its business model is stumbling, because it is losing market shares or because earnings are falling. During periods of good results, however, the courage to make changes is less apparent and frequently submits to a call to “continue as before”.

Continue as before? Looking at the success figures for 2015, comdirect has done just that. At over €90m before tax, our profit target has been comfortably achieved, earnings are at record levels, and we are able to repeat the previous year’s attractive dividend of 40 cents per share. Being the first choice for modern, independent customers, whilst also generating good results for our shareholders – we managed this balance just right last year too.

So, simply continue as before? Not us! In the middle of profitable growth we have begun to rethink banking from the ground up, reorient our business model and systematically redesign our innovation management. All this makes our strong 2015 into a starting point for new development. Bank. Re-envisioned. stands for our development from a direct bank into a smart financial assistant, giving our customers more freedom in life.

We are convinced that modern and independent customers don’t need banks in the conventional sense; rather they need intelligent solutions for their finances. Solutions which, in contrast to traditional banking, are at home in today’s digital environment and are perfectly tailored.

Solutions that provide smart and modern support, whenever and wherever the customer wants – freeing up their valuable time.

But what does “smart” actually mean? For us, it’s clear. It means simple and quick, like our completely digital account- and custody-account-opening process and via VideoIdent, or like our convenient bank transfers via smartPay. It means automated and intelligent, just like our customer trades. It means perfectly tailored, like our AnlageAssistent (InvestmentAssistant): the right investment proposal in just a few clicks. This is how we are bringing securities trading and saving into the modern age, where it isn’t just a part of the current interest rate environment. It’s how we are establishing ourselves as the No. 1 in digital asset management. And at the same time it’s the core of our 2020 strategy.

We already have a strong foundation for the next steps. We have increased our customer base to three million, reaching the milestone of two million customers in the B2C business line in the process. We have also grown in custody accounts – by more than 60 thousand, and that’s against the market trend. We are particularly pleased that our custody account customers have been more active than ever before. This is also reflected in the high net fund inflows, a large part of which has flowed into the custody accounts.

Innovations designed purely from the customer’s perspective are also crucial for success, so we are using our employees’ innovation potential, whilst also supporting FinTech start-ups with promising ideas. We are the natural partner for these FinTechs, as comdirect offers support from banking experts and very sophisticated technical resources – and has not least its own success story as a game changer in the banking market.

The objective of becoming a smart financial assistant is also our guide for 2016 – whether that’s for new ideas, further improved infrastructure, or our marketing. We represent the distinctive combination of a strong, market-leading bank with the start-up culture of a FinTech, a combination that opens up for us a target customer base with enormous potential. And we will be tapping this potential, not least on behalf of our shareholders.


Best wishes and act smart! With comdirect.

Sincerely yours,

Arno Walter

Arno Walter

Board of Managing Directors

Arno Walter, CEO comdirect bank AG

Arno Walter


Arno Walter, born in 1967, has been the CEO of comdirect bank AG since March 2015. In addition to Corporate Strategy & Consulting, he is responsible for Corporate Communications, Auditing and Treasury & Business Partners. Furthermore, he is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the European Bank for Financial Services GmbH (ebase) and of the Board of Trustees at the Numeracy Foundation (Stiftung Rechnen).

Holger Hohrein


Holger Hohrein, born 1971, has been CFO of comdirect bank AG since October 2013. In addition to the Finance department, Controlling & Investor Relations, he is responsible for Information Technology, Business Development & Innovation Management, and also Risk Management & Compliance.

Martina Palte


Martina Palte, born 1968, has been a member of the Board of Managing Directors of comdirect bank AG since 2012. In addition to Service and Personnel she is responsible for Legal, Data Protection & Organisation and Information Security & Outsourcing Management as well as Advisory Services. She is also Deputy Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Numeracy Foundation (Stiftung Rechnen).

Dr Sven Deglow


Sven Deglow, born in 1969, has been the Chief Marketing Officer at comdirect bank AG since September 2015. In addition to marketing and the user interface, he is responsible for the Banking, Investing and Trading departments.