RISK AND OPPORTUNITY REPORT
The objective of the integrated opportunity management approach employed by MLP Group is to secure the systematic and early identification of opportunities and their assessment.
This takes place within the scope of a standardised business strategy process which is performed by the Executive Board once a year. To this end, assumptions made about relevant influential factors for future development are subject to an ad hoc check. Such reasons can, for example, include major acquisitions, regulatory changes or changes in the market environment. MLP's corporate strategy, and the opportunities associated with this, are derived from its corporate mission, which is examined and updated by the Executive Board on an annual basis. The current internal and external framework conditions, in addition to influential factors, are then analysed and summarised using established processes. A comprehensive analysis of the current environment always forms the basis of this process. Among other things, this includes the macroeconomic and regulatory framework conditions, developments in the product area and also the competition. With regard to client and sales potential, we also use available market data alongside our own assessments. The analysis culminates in a comprehensive SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
Within the scope of MLP's opportunity management, the market and competitive environment is continuously monitored from different company perspectives. This process is organised locally in the responsible departments which regularly report their findings to the respective member of the Executive Board. Product Management is a key player here as it determines opportunities through intensive contact with product providers and industry experts, mostly in the form of product innovations. In addition to this, Customer Management is undertaking extensive market research. Other important protagonists in terms of opportunity management are Controlling, which examines the market to detect potential acquisition opportunities, and the organisational units of Risk Management and Compliance, which examine potential regulatory changes at an early stage.
The opportunities in terms of the future business development can be subject to both external and internal influences.
Opportunities from changing framework conditions
The economic forecasts for 2018 suggest only limited opportunities for MLP. Although economic experts are assuming that Germany will enjoy further growth, the aforementioned reservations on the part of clients when it comes to signing long-term savings contracts will hinder progress. In the mid to long-term, however, the greater need for private and also occupational pension provision is likely to increase demand for these two products significantly again – particularly among MLP's target groups. Should the German economy enjoy better development than assumed in our forecast, this will only have an indirect influence on short-term operating developments.
The ever-stricter regulation of the financial services sector in Germany, with the objective of stabilising the financial system and increasing investor protection, presents both challenges and opportunities for MLP. Stricter regulatory requirements will initially lead to additional costs and reduced productivity, as administration costs increase and processes in the company have to be adapted. However, the regulation also tightens the quality standards required of market actors. This will accelerate market consolidation as individual brokers will not be able to comply with the stricter requirements. Overall, the number of providers is likely to reduce. With our consulting approach, which focuses on clients and their financial matters, we are able to clearly differentiate ourselves in the marketplace. In addition to this, we were quick to align our operations to the new framework conditions over the last few years, which will enable us to benefit from this development in the mid-term.
Corporate strategy opportunities
We see corporate strategy opportunities primarily in MLP's positioning as a partner for all financial matters, a position which has been particularly strengthened over the last few years. Alongside support for private clients, we are now also increasingly focusing on our business with corporate clients and institutional investors. In cooperation with our Group companies TPC, DOMCURA, nordias and FERI, we will further expand our portfolio for corporate clients and institutional investors in the areas of occupational pension provision, non-life insurance, wealth management and risk management.
Interlinking these areas with one another and with the private client business will furthermore enable us to create associated revenue potential. In the private client business itself, MLP has an important USP thanks to its broad positioning. Further developing these opportunities offers important potential for the next few years. Additional increases are also possible, particularly in the wealth management segment, in which MLP clearly sets itself apart from the market through its highly transparent price model and in the non-life insurance segment where MLP is developing the business of its subsidiary DOMCURA.
Within the scope of opportunity management, MLP examines the market for potential acquisitions. In the event of an acquisition, opportunities can arise which may increase revenue potential.
Business performance opportunities
As a pure service provider, our operational tasks comprise sales, product purchasing/product selection and sales support.
In the field of sales, our client potential in the private client business will increase even further over the course of the next few years. The need for well-trained employees in Germany is increasing, which in turn improves the basic conditions for our client group of academics. At the same time, the number of academics capable of and seeking employment is also set to rise in the mid-term, which will lead to greater new client potential for MLP.
More targeted penetration of our client base, particularly in the wealth management and non-life insurance segments, will also help us achieve further growth. Since our clients are generally very well-trained and thereby have excellent income prospects, they also have a continuous need for sound financial consulting and hold corresponding revenue potential.
The private client business is not the only area in which we see opportunities for winning and supporting new clients. There is also a high demand for independent, professional consulting in the business with corporate clients and with institutional clients, which we have now packaged at our subsidiary FERI. Particularly for institutional investors and high net-worth families, the need for consulting services is on the rise, above all in the field of alternative investments. DOMCURA is the service provider for agents and other brokers in the non-life insurance segment and provides comprehensive solutions for both private and commercial business – in part with a high degree of individualisation.
Over the last few years we have introduced and implemented various measures to increase the productivity of our consultants. This includes further developing our consulting applications, even greater support for our consultants – for example in product selection – and even more effective service from the back-office in Wiesloch. The service centre of our subsidiary MLPdialog also makes an important contribution to this. As an underwriting agency, the DOMCURA Group has also extended the added value chain of MLP Group for standard products in the non-life insurance segment with its processes and expertise and will continue to do so in future. The goal of these measures is to allow our consultants to focus even more on their core task, namely advising and supporting their clients. This provides important revenue potential for the future.
Opportunities from development of asset and risk positions
Positive business/market developments with lasting effects on earnings can be beneficial for the capital/financial situation of MLP and facilitate greater scope for action in terms of the business model and risk profile. Alongside the opportunities already mentioned arising from changing framework conditions, corporate strategy and business performance, further opportunities could also arise from interest rate developments or lower loan loss provisions due to economic developments.
In the banking area, MLP also engages in the current account and credit card business beside the classic lending business. These business activities focus on cross-selling and are subject to acceptance of counterparty default risks. Special profit opportunities arise for MLP through its preferred clientele and their predominantly good credit ratings. In addition to this, positive development of the economic situation in Germany could present opportunities for improved portfolio quality, thereby keeping the need for value adjustments at a low level. Opportunities could also present themselves through a possible expansion of the banking business. However, they can also be associated with risks.
Interest rate developments also influence MLP's interest rate portfolio. Depending on the positioning/alignment and interest rate development, they could potentially lead to risks but also to opportunities. Regardless of this, MLP maintains its interest book with the objective of continuing to secure a healthy liquidity situation.
MLP sees several significant opportunities. These affect multiple fields, in particular corporate strategy, d business performance factors and the asset and risk position. We believe that the changing framework conditions will only present limited opportunities.