REPORT OF THE STATUTORY AUDITOR to THE General Meeting of Bellevue Group AG Küsnacht
Report on the audit of the consolidated financial statements
We have audited the consolidated financial statements of Bellevue Group AG and its subsidiaries (the Group), which comprise the consolidated income statement and consolidated statement of comprehensive income for the year ended 31 December 2020, the consolidated balance sheet as at 31 December 2020, the statement of shareholders’ equity and consolidated cash flow statement for the year then ended, and notes to the consolidated financial statements, including a summary of significant accounting policies.
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements give a true and fair view of the consolidated financial position of the Group as at 31 December 2020 and its consolidated financial performance and its consolidated cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and comply with Swiss law.
Basis for opinion
We conducted our audit in accordance with Swiss law, International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) and Swiss Auditing Standards. Our responsibilities under those provisions and standards are further described in the «Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the consolidated financial statements» section of our report.
We are independent of the Group in accordance with the provisions of Swiss law and the requirements of the Swiss audit profession, as well as the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA Code), 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
Overall Group materiality: CHF 1'100'000
We concluded full scope audit work at Bellevue Group AG and three group entities in three countries. For additional two group entities (one domiciled in Switzerland and one domiciled abroad) and two de-consolidated group entities (domiciled in Switzerland) during the year, we have performed specified audit procedures in relation to account balances and types of business transactions. Our audit procedures cover 95% of net sales and 96% of the balance sheet total.
In addition, analytical procedures were conducted by us at a further seven group entities in five countries, which cover a further 5% of net sales and 4% of the balance sheet total.
As key audit matter the following area of focus has been identified:
Impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets of StarCapital AG
The scope of our audit was influenced by our application of materiality. Our audit opinion aims to provide reasonable assurance that the consolidated 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 consolidated financial statements.
Based on our professional judgement, we determined certain quantitative thresholds for materiality, including the overall Group materiality for the consolidated 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 consolidated financial statements as a whole.
Overall Group materiality
How we determined it
1% of operating income
Rationale for the materiality benchmark applied
We chose the operating income as the benchmark because in our view, the operating income represents a generally recognized benchmark for materiality considerations for asset managers and accordingly depicts the economic and operational performance of the Group without the influence of volatile value adjustments.
We tailored the scope of our audit in order to perform sufficient work to enable us to provide an opinion on the consolidated financial statements as a whole, taking into account the structure of the Group, the accounting processes and controls, and the industry in which the Group operates.
With the exception of the subsidiaries in Germany and the United Kingdom, we, as group auditor, carried out audits and / or analytical audit procedures at all group companies. For the component auditors from the PwC network, we ensured that we were sufficiently involved in the audit to assess whether suitable audit evidence on the financial information was obtained from the activities of the component auditors as a basis for the group audit opinion. This involvement of the component auditors was also based on audit instructions and standardized reporting.
Key audit matters
Key audit matters are those matters that, in our professional judgement, were of most significance in our audit of the consolidated financial statements of the current period. These matters were addressed in the context of our audit of the consolidated financial statements as a whole, and in forming our opinion thereon, and we do not provide a separate opinion on these matters.
Impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets of StarCapital AG
Key audit matter
Goodwill in the amount of CHF 14.4 million and other intangible assets in the amount of CHF 4.2 million related to StarCapital AG has been recognized in the financial statements under ’Goodwill and other intangible assets’.
Bellevue Group AG uses the discounted cash flow method in order to test goodwill and other intangible assets for impairment. The valuation is calculated based on the expected future cash flows to the investor.
We consider the assessment of the impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets of StarCapital AG as a key audit matter because the Board of Directors has to apply significant judgement in setting the assumptions relating to future business results and the discount rate to be applied on the fore-casted cash flows; significant estimation uncertainty exists and a material impairment has been recognized in the financial year 2020.
Please refer to note 4.1 Estimates, assumptions and the exercise of discretion by management and note 3.6 Goodwill and other intangible assets.
How our audit addressed the key audit matter
We have analyzed and assessed the assumptions applied by the Board of Directors to the valuation of the goodwill and other intangible assets of StarCapital AG in the consolidated financial statements of Bellevue Group AG
Management adheres to a documented process in forecasting cash flows. The Board of Directors monitored this process and regularly challenged the assumptions that were used. We assessed the appropriateness and proper application of the valuation method used to determine the value of the goodwill and other intangible assets.
We compared the business results of the year under review with the year’s budgeted results, in order to retrospectively assess the accuracy of assumptions used in the forecasting of the cash flows.
We compared Management’s assumptions concerning revenue growth and long-term growth rates with economic and industry-specific developments.
We compared the discount rate with the cost of capital of the Group and of comparable enterprises, taking into account country-specific particularities.
We assess the process of the impairment assessment and the determination of impairment applied by the Board of Directors as appropriate. The process ensured an analysis of the valuation factors and represented an appropriate and sufficient basis for the assessment of the recoverability of the goodwill and other intangible assets of StarCapital AG.
Other information in the annual report
The Board of Directors is responsible for the other information in the annual report. The other information comprises all information included in the annual report, but does not include the consolidated financial statements, the stand-alone financial statements and the remuneration report of Bellevue Group AG and our auditor’s reports thereon.
Our opinion on the consolidated financial statements does not cover the other information in the annual report and we do not express any form of assurance conclusion thereon.
In connection with our audit of the consolidated financial statements, our responsibility is to read the other information in the annual report and, in doing so, consider whether the other information is materially inconsistent with the consolidated financial statements or our knowledge obtained in the audit, or otherwise appears to be materially misstated. If, based on the work we have performed, we conclude that there is a material misstatement of this other information, we are required to report that fact. We have nothing to report in this regard.
Responsibilities of the Board of Directors for the consolidated financial statements
The Board of Directors is responsible for the preparation of the consolidated financial statements that give a true and fair view in accordance with IFRS and the provisions of Swiss law, and for such internal control as the Board of Directors determines is necessary to enable the preparation of consolidated financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
In preparing the consolidated financial statements, the Board of Directors is responsible for assessing the Group’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 Group or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.
Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the consolidated financial statements
Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated 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, ISAs 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 consolidated financial statements.
A further description of our responsibilities for the audit of the consolidated financial statements is located at the website of EXPERTsuisse: http://expertsuisse.ch/en/audit-report-for-public-companies. This description forms part of our auditor’s report.
Report on other legal and regulatory requirements
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 consolidated financial statements according to the instructions of the Board of Directors.
We recommend that the consolidated financial statements submitted to you be approved.
Auditor in charge
Zurich, 1 March 2021
PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Birchstrasse 160, Postfach, CH-8050 Zürich, Switzerland
Telefon: +41 58 792 44 00, Telefax: +41 58 792 44 10, www.pwc.ch
PricewaterhouseCoopers AG is a member of the global PricewaterhouseCoopers network of firms, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.