Report of the Statutory Auditor
to the General Meeting of
Swiss Life Holding Ltd
We have audited the financial statements of Swiss Life Holding Ltd, which comprise the balance sheet as at 31 December 2016, income statement for the year then ended and notes, including a summary of significant accounting policies.
In our opinion, the financial statements as at 31 December 2016 comply with Swiss law and the company’s articles of incorporation.Basis for opinion
We conducted our audit in accordance with Swiss law and Swiss Auditing Standards. Our responsibilities under those provisions and standards are further described in the “Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements” section of our report.
We are independent of the entity in accordance with the provisions of Swiss law and the requirements of the Swiss audit profession and we have fulfilled our other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.Our audit approach
We designed our audit by determining materiality and assessing the risks of material misstatement in the financial statements. In particular, we considered where subjective judgements were made; for example, in respect of significant accounting estimates that involved making assumptions and considering future events that are inherently uncertain. As in all of our audits, we also addressed the risk of management override of internal controls, including among other matters consideration of whether there was evidence of bias that represented a risk of material misstatement due to fraud.Materiality
The scope of our audit was influenced by our application of materiality. Our audit opinion aims to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatement. Misstatements may arise due to fraud or error. They are considered material if individually or in aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of the financial statements.
Based on our professional judgement, we determined certain quantitative thresholds for materiality, including the overall materiality for the financial statements as a whole as set out in the table below. These, together with qualitative considerations, helped us to determine the scope of our audit and the nature, timing and extent of our audit procedures and to evaluate the effect of misstatements, both individually and in aggregate on the financial statements as a whole.
We agreed with the Audit Committee that we would report to them misstatements above CHF 3 million identified during our audit as well as any misstatements below that amount which, in our view, warranted reporting for qualitative reasons.
Report on key audit matters based on the circular 1/2015 of the Federal Audit Oversight Authority
Key audit matters are those matters that, in our professional judgement, were of most significance in our audit of the financial statements of the current period. These matters were addressed in the context of our audit of the financial statements as a whole, and in forming our opinion thereon, and we do not provide a separate opinion on these matters.
Participations represent a significant amount of the balance sheet (CHF 3716 million, 63% of total assets). We refer to page 334 of the financial statements of Swiss Life Holding AG.
Annually, management analyse participations to assess valuation adjustments. For the analysis significant judgement is applied, to determine assumptions, in relation to future business results, and applied discount rates, on projected cash flows. We consider our audit procedures in this area as particularly important, due to the size of the balance sheet position and level of significant assumptions.
As the actual cash flows naturally vary from planned projections, management have created detailed sensitivity analyses. The sensitivity analyses provide insights as to the valuation of the participation, when key assumptions, individually or as a whole, on which planned projections are based, are not met.
In accordance with the Swiss Code of Obligations, participations are valued at cost with deductions for write-downs as necessary.
Management test the valuation of individual participations through a comparison of the book value of each participation to the respective IFRS equity value or value in use. Management utilise the equity value of each participation determined for the IFRS closings. For the calculation of the value in use, an extensive valuation analysis using cash flow projections, based on mid-term planning approved by the management and the board of directors, is performed.
Our work in the area of participations mainly focused on the audit of management’s analysis of the valuation of participations as well as an assessment of assumptions used by management to determine the value in use.
As part of our audit procedures, we compared the book value with the IFRS equity value or value in use. For material participations, we audited the IFRS equity value as part of the IFRS group audit. For immaterial participations, we performed an assessment of differences between the IFRS equity value and the statutory equity.
For participations where the book value exceeds the IFRS equity value, we audited the underlying valuation analysis.
We reviewed the financial budgets approved by management and the board of directors. The financial budgets include details on certain planned activities supporting the expected business development. In particular, we challenged management as to the feasibility of reaching the planned cash flow projections. As part of our procedures we have been supported by our valuation experts.
An element of placing trust in planned cash flows is the extent they were reached in the past. Where actual results varied from planned results, we inquired as to the reasons and potential impact they may have in reaching future goals and assessed the key drivers which contributed to the deviation.
We critically assessed the additional sensitivity analyses prepared by management.
As for the long-term growth rate used at the end of the mid-term planning period, we compared it to the economic environment and industry trends.
In addition, we assessed the main parameters used in the calculation of the weighted average cost of capital, from which the discount rate is derived. In particular, we identified the market data inputs used by management and compared these against independent data.
For certain participations, management decided to forgo preparing a valuation analysis, as a precaution, such participations were written down to the IFRS equity value or the book value was adjusted on the basis of prudency. In this connection, we examined if the write-downs were correctly booked.
We consider the valuation approach, and the assumptions and parameters used within, as a reasonable and adequate basis for the assessment of the participation value recorded on the balance sheet. The audit evidence obtained through our audit procedures was sufficient and suitable to assess the valuation of participations.Responsibilities of the Board of Directors for the financial statements
The Board of Directors is responsible for the preparation of the financial statements in accordance with the provisions of Swiss law and the company’s articles of incorporation, and for such internal control as the Board of Directors determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
In preparing the financial statements, the Board of Directors is responsible for assessing the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless the Board of Directors either intends to liquidate the entity or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements
Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes our opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with Swiss law and Swiss Auditing Standards will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these financial statements.
A further description of our responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements is located at website of EXPERTsuisse. This description forms part of our auditor’s report.
In accordance with article 728a paragraph 1 item 3 CO and Swiss Auditing Standard 890, we confirm that an internal control system exists which has been designed for the preparation of financial statements according to the instructions of the Board of Directors.
We further confirm that the proposed appropriation of available earnings complies with Swiss law and the company’s articles of incorporation. We recommend that the financial statements submitted to you be approved.
Auditor in charge
Zurich, 13 March 2017