The Crèdit Andorrà Group is the reference institution of the financial sector in Andorra. Underpinned by our reputation and over 60 years of experience in private banking and asset management, our company is currently in the process of expanding in Europe and America.
Xavier Cornella, Business General Manager, sees clearly that the key priority for the coming years is to continue this internalisation process: offering private banking and asset management services through its bankers, providing specialised boutique made-to-order services with a global focus.
Crèdit Andorrà has taken its global private banking project overseas, what differentiates the services it provides to its customers?
We have created an international platform aimed at exporting the knowhow of our professionals, underpinned by the group’s solid structure and capacity to create value. Thus far, we have focused our expansion on Europe and America, where the group is present in ten countries: Andorra, Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the US, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. This platform gives all of our customers access to international markets and, therefore, to the products best adapted to their needs.
Does your business focus on the individual and his/her needs when services are offshored?
The customer is and has always been the heart of our raison d’être. Our overseas network allows us to offer an enormous range of investment options (multibooking) to our clients, providing flexibility in complex and changing markets. Our activities take into account the most appropriate risk profile and management style for each customer, maintaining the spirit of boutique private banking services which characterises our firm.
What is your experience carrying out this project thus far?
If we must single out a market which is already experiencing the benefits of this platform, we would pinpoint Spain. Banco Alcalá is the flagship of the Crèdit Andorrà Group’s European private banking and asset management project, which also includes Banque de Patrimoines Privés in Luxembourg. We acquired these two institutions in 2011 and – just one year after its launch – the project has already consolidated its distinctive value-added services, offering globalised products, comprehensive advisory services, and open architecture product selection. Assets under management currently amount to over €3,100Mn.
What role does Luxembourg play in this project?
We are present in Luxembourg since 2004, where administration and custody of the group’s mutual funds are carried out. Moreover, the acquisition of Banque de Patrimoines Privés allows our customers to benefit from multiple options which ensure personalised management, profitability, and the security of their investments, as well as giving them access to efficient financial vehicles.
How has the hallmark that distinguishes Crèdit Andorrà been transferred to its subsidiaries?
Each and every customer is unique. From country to country, these differences are even more pronounced. This is why at Crèdit Andorrà we believe it is necessary to adapt our value-added services not only to each country where we operate but also to each individual customer. The key is to provide tailored services. This is our formula for creating value. We strive to provide high-quality, personalised, and flexible services – which is not easy to find at larger banks where the business consists mainly of designing and placing products which aren’t always the best fit for the specific needs of each individual customer.
In recent years Andorra has implemented major legal reforms, how have they influenced the Andorran financial system?
In 2010 Andorra began to restructure its economic and financial model when it signed various bilateral agreements for the exchange of information on fiscal matters, which have already been implemented. As a result, Andorra has been removed from the lists of tax havens which – together with adoption of the monetary agreement with the European Union – has placed the Andorran financial system at the same regulatory level as the rest of the European systems with its high levels of solvency and liquidity and commendable credit ratings.
What’s the contribution of the Andorran financial sector to the country’s economy?
The financial system is a major component of the Andorran economy, contributing nearly 20% of the country’s GDP. This reflects the financial reputation of this market, which has been built up thanks to the sector’s long-standing track record of quality, integrity and thoroughness and its high solvency and liquidity ratios of 21.22% and 65.46%, respectively, which reflect conservative and prudent management by all sector players. Crèdit Andorrà is the leading financial group in Andorra and our country’s values of prudence, integrity and excellence are an integral part of our services.
How are these values transferred to your business model?
Crèdit Andorrà manages a total business volume of €14,410Mn (2012) and is the leading financial sector player in Andorra based on its equity, assets under management, business volume, loan investments and net profits. In spite of today’s demanding scenario, Crèdit Andorrà has maintained its credit ratings: Fitch’s long-term and short-term ratings for Crèdit Andorrà are ‘A-‘ and ‘F2’, respectively. Moreover, the Group has managed to increase assets under management by 12%, partly thanks to substantial growth of its international private banking assets.
Leadership entails a high degree of responsibility for customers, the sector, and the country, doesn’t it?
We are firm believers that the banking sector must be a major economic driver and that it should play a role as a social agent. The complex situation that we have experienced over the past several years clearly demonstrates that the banking sector’s strength should be measured over the long-term, based on its results or – in other words – on its sustainability.
This new paradigm for the financial sector has repositioned responsibility at the core of management and of the relationship with the groups with which it interacts. Crèdit Andorrà Group’s is firmly committed to this paradigm when dealing with its customers, shareholders, employees and communities in the countries where we operate in order to strive towards our core goal of achieving mutual and shared progress.