Dear Shareholders

2009 proved an eventful and challenging year for the global economy. With notable upward trends, the financial markets began to show signs of recovery from the financial crisis. Investor and consumer trust is also starting slowly to return. Yet, it would be a mistake to think we can just go back to business as usual. The financial market crisis has raised some fundamental global questions for which there are no simple answers. It has left its mark – on politics and on the economy – but also on our everyday lives. It is to be expected that, after the turbulence of recent years, calls for dramatic change are increasingly being heard. It is also perfectly understandable that the general public has become more mistrustful of the business world. But we must keep a sense of proportion and not jeopardise the achievements of a dynamic free market economy with over-regulation or allow fear and risk aversion to threaten economic and technological progress.

As a provider of life and pensions solutions for private individuals and companies, Swiss Life contributes to the stability of pension systems in the markets in which it operates. Our core business for over 150 years of creating a financially secure future for our clients is one of the central themes guiding our society. Demographic trends and the limits on state pensions are forcing governments and their citizens to take action. Ensuring our financial security is becoming the personal responsibility of each and every one of us. Life insurance, with its secure and flexible pensions solutions, will therefore gain in importance.

Swiss Life has emerged from the financial market crisis in good shape overall – thanks to our excellent net worth, our financial stability, our close and diverse client relationships, and also the engagement of our workforce. The strategic cornerstones we set have proven themselves. We improved our operating results significantly in 2009 vis-à-vis 2008. Net profit from continuing operations stood at CHF 324 million, compared to a loss of CHF 1.1 billion the previous year. Premium volume grew by 9% to CHF 20.2 billion. The Board of Directors proposes that the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders approve a distribution of profit of CH 2.40 per share (previous year: CHF 5).

In Switzerland, we have succeeded in maintaining our strong position as the leading life and pensions provider. In France, Swiss Life is participating in a growth market which offers good opportunities for further development and, in Germany, we recorded stronger growth than the competition due to our excellent market position. Our international business with high net worth individuals played a substantial role in boosting premium volume, helping us to increase our share of new business generated with modern products, and thus reduce our dependence on the financial results. Following its restructuring and reorganisation activities, AWD is now well equipped to exploit opportunities in financial advisory services for private clients.

Swiss Life set the course for profitable growth in 2009. We are not interested in maximising profit in the short term. Our goal is to improve competitiveness and boost profitability on a sustainable basis. We, in the management team, thus launched the MILESTONE programme throughout the Group in 2009. This initiative will bring substantial changes to key areas of the value chain by 2012. Firstly, we are improving value to customers and boosting product profitability. Secondly, we are strengthening our distribution power – in terms of both the quality of advice and the expansion of channels. Thirdly, we are improving our operational efficiency and reducing costs. Fourthly, we are further strengthening our balance sheet and our capital base. And, finally, our fifth goal centres on the disciplined execution of our measures.

Already in 2009, our employees have succeeded in substantially improving the company’s economic potential. This deserves recognition. We would like to extend our thanks to all our employees for their hard work and dedication. Rest assured that we, on the Board of Directors and the Corporate Executive Board, are committed to ensuring that, in the interests of our clients, investors and employees, Swiss Life reinforces its position as a key player in the international life and pensions market going forward.

Rolf Dörig
Chairman of the Board of Directors

Bruno Pfister
Group CEO

Rolf Dörig Rolf Dörig
“The Group has emerged from the financial crisis in good shape – thanks to our excellent net worth, our financial stability, our close and diverse client relationships, and also the engagement of our workforce.”

  
  
  
  
Bruno Pfister Bruno Pfister
“Swiss Life set the course for profitable growth in 2009. We are not interested in maximising profit in the short term. Our goal is to improve competitiveness and boost profitability on a sustainable basis.”