Swiss Life

Swiss Life Holding AG
Formerly called
Traded as SIX: SLHN
Industry Financial services
Founded 1857
Founder Conrad Widmer
Headquarters Zurich, Switzerland
Area served
Mostly Europe
Key people
Patrick Frost (CEO), Rolf Dörig (Chairman)
Products Life insurance, Risk, Pensions and financial solutions, Asset management,
Health insurance (France only)
Revenue CHF 19,102 million (2014)[1]
IncreaseCHF 1,169 million (2014)[1]
Profit IncreaseCHF 818 million (2014)[1]
AUM IncreaseCHF 182,992 million (2014)[1]
Total equity IncreaseCHF 12,831 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
  • Swiss Life Switzerland
  • Swiss Life France
  • Swiss Life Germany
  • Swiss Life International
  • Swiss Life Asset Managers

The Swiss Life Group is the largest life insurance company of Switzerland and one of Europe’s leading comprehensive life and pensions and financial solutions providers, with approximately CHF 183 bn of assets under management.[1] Founded in 1867 in Zurich as the Schweizerische Lebensversicherungs und Rentenanstalt cooperative, the company entered the Swiss stock market in 1997 and adopted its current name in 2002. In 2014 the group increased its income premium by 7% to CHF 19.1 billion from CHF 18 billion the previous year.[1]


Foundation and growth

Conrad Widmer established the Schweizerische Rentenanstalt in 1857 as the first life insurance company in Switzerland,[2] backed by guarantees from Crédit Suisse.[3] Prominent Zurich politician Alfred Escher was integrally involved in the development of the cooperative, whose goal was to provide Swiss families with a sufficiently solid foundation by providing insurance against the uncertainties of life. In 1866, Widmer obtains a license in Prussia,[4] and a year later, the annuity establishment had business operations in Hamburg and Bremen. The German branch then split from the company. Beginning in 1894, the establishment was one of the first insurance institutions to offer occupational insurance. Between 1866 and 1987, Rentenanstalt expanded to Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Spain, Luxembourg, and Italy. In 1988 it took over La Suisse insurance company in Lausanne.

The first registered office of Rentenanstalt was in the Tiefenhoefe buildings on the Paradeplatz in Zurich. Rapid expansion saw the offices moving in quick succession from the Gruene Schloss on Zwingliplatz, to the Chamhaus on the Untere Zäune and finally to the Alpenquai, where the new head office was opened in 1898. Although this building was spacious for its time, further expansion in the interwar period necessitated yet another move. During 1937–1939 a modern building designed by the Pfister firm of architects was constructed close to the old head office. It is this building, extended during 1961–1963 and later, that houses today’s company head office in Zurich.[5]

Going corporate

In 1997 under the management of Martin Lopez, Rentenanstalt changed from a cooperative into a publicly traded company,[6] with Rentenstalt/Swiss Life shares debuting on the Swiss Market Index in 1998. SwissLife then advanced on an expansionary strategy acquiring Livit, Banca del Gottardo, the Lloyd Continental and UTO Albis in 1999, Schweizerische Treuhandgesellschaft in 2000, a takeover of the real estate properties of Oscar Weber Holding AG in 2001. In 2002, this quick pace of acquisitions ceased as the company looked to restructuring itself and going back to its core business.[3]


In 2002, the company changed its name to Swiss Life for all its operations except in the Netherlands where is remains under the old name Zwitser Leven. It sold its British operations to Resolution Life Group in December 2004.[7] In November 2007, Swiss Life sold off Banca del Gottardo for 1.775 billion CHF.[8] On 3 December 2007, Swiss Life announced that it had launched a takeover bid of AWD Holding and, on 13 March 2008, had successfully acquired a total of 86.2% of AWD.,[9] which then becomes Swiss Life Select in 2013. The acquisition of Corpus Sireo, a German real estate asset management service provider, is completed in the summer of 2014.[10]

Corporate structure

The Swiss Life Group reports by country rather than departments or function. Besides the three core markets Switzerland, France and Germany, the Group separately discloses its cross-border segments International and Asset Managers[11]


Swiss Life Switzerland is a comprehensive life and pensions and financial solutions provider with the brands Swiss Life and Swiss Life Select, and is one of the leading providers with over one million insured persons.[12]


Swiss Life France specialises in personal insurance but also provides, through it Swiss Life Banque Prive subsidiary, asset management and insurance solutions combined with private banking for high net worth individuals.


The German branch of Swiss Life, founded in 1866, is based in Munich and offers private and corporate clients services in pensions saving and financial security. Core competencies are occupational disability insurance and occupational pensions. Swiss Life's financial distribution subsidiaries (HORBACH, Tecis and Proventus) are headquartered in Hannover.


With locations in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Singapore, Swiss Life International offers Private placement life insurance solutions for high-net-worth individuals in Europe and Asia, and acts as employee benefit providers for large corporate clients. The financial advisors from Swiss Life Select Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and Chase de Vere in the UK also operate under the Swiss Life International umbrella.

Asset Managers

Swiss Life Asset Managers offers institutional and private investors access to investment and asset management solutions. In Switzerland, it is one of the largest institutional asset managers and the third largest fund provider in the country. In Germany, Swiss Life Asset Managers significantly strengthened its position in the market with the acquisition of the real estate asset management service provider Corpus Sireo in 2014.[10] The real estate management company Livit AG is also a subsidiary of the Swiss Life Asset Management entity.

Corporate governance

Board of directors

The Board of Directors is responsible for the general direction of the Group and the supervision of the Corporate Executive Board. The Board is elected for one-year terms and is composed as follows[1][13]

Position Name Year appointed
Chairman Rolf Döring 2002
Vice-chairman Gerold Bührer 2002
Vice-chairman Frank Schnewlin 2009
Member Wolf Becke 2012
Member Adrienne Corboud Fumagalli 2014
Member Ueli Dietiker 2013
Member Damir Filipovic 2011
Member Frank W. Keuper 2013
Member Henry Peter 2006
Member Franziska Tschudi 2003
Member Klaus Tschüster 2013

Executive board

The group CEO directs the business operations of the group and works out the long-term objectives and strategic orientation of the group, together with the corporate executive board.[14]


According to Swiss law, shareholders are obliged to disclose information regarding their shareholdings in Swiss-based companies when these amount to or exceed 3%.[15] Shareholders currently holding registered shares (purchasing positions included) of Swiss Life Holding Ltd., are Deutsche Bank AG and BlackRock Inc. (over 5%), and Norges Bank, UBS Fund Management (Switzerland) AG and AQR Capital (over 3%).[16]

CSR and Sponsorship

Swiss Life owns and operates the Swiss Life Arena, in Lucerne. It also jointly founded the Swiss Climate Foundation with eleven other companies in 2008. All partners donate their net gains from redistributed CO2 levies to the foundation, which in turns supports projects helping small and medium-sized enterprises to reach voluntary target agreement with the Energy Agency of the Swiss Private Sector (EnAW), develop operational energy savings and climate protection solutions.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Annual Report 2014" (PDF). 2015.
  2. Christian Baertschi (29 October 2013). "Widmer, Johann Conrad". Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  3. 1 2 Bernard Degen (23 December 2011). "Rentenanstalt". Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  4. 150 years of Swiss Life (PDF). Swiss Life. 2012.
  5. Chronik der Stadt und des Bezirkes Zürich, Zürich 1964, S. 624f.
  6. "Die Rentenanstalt geht gestärkt ihren Weg" (in German). 28 April 2001.
  7. Goellner, Philipp (9 December 2004). "Swiss Life to Sell U.K. Unit for 205 Million Pounds". Bloomberg. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  8. "Medienmitteilung von Swiss Life zum Verkauf der Banca del Gottardo".
  9. "Swiss Life hält 86,2% an AWD". 19 March 2008.
  10. 1 2 "Swiss Life boucle le rachat de l'allemand Corpus Sireo". 24 heures (in French). 1 October 2014.
  11. "Segment reporting". Swiss Life.
  12. "Case study". Branders. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  13. "Board of Directors". Swiss Life.
  14. "Corporate Management". Swiss Life.
  15. Federal Act on Stock Exchanges and Securities Trading (PDF). Federal Assembly of the Swiss Confederation. p. 8.
  16. "Major shareholders". Swiss Life.

External links

Coordinates: 47°21′46″N 8°32′03″E / 47.36278°N 8.53417°E / 47.36278; 8.53417

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