SIX launches investigation into Swissquote for potential violation on ad hoc publicity

Rick Steves

Swissquote clarified that a technical issue was behind the potential violation of the regulation

SIX Exchange Regulation AG (SER) has announced it has launched an investigation against Swissquote Group Holding Ltd for potential violation of the rules on ad hoc publicity.

SER said it is examining whether there has been an actual violation of the regulations and that a preliminary inquiry revealed that there are sufficient indications of a violation of regulations, but provided no further details with regard to the ongoing proceedings.

The potential violation relates to the rules on ad hoc publicity and is linked to the disclosure of price sensitive facts. The enforcement division of SIX Group will only announce a new statement on the matter once a final outcome is reached.

Swissquote reveals technical issue behind incident

Swissquote has quickly released a statement to its shareholders and the wider public in order to address the topic and provide further information on the matter, namely that a technical issue was behind the potential violation of the regulation. The official statement is below.

“Today, SIX Exchange Regulation AG announced that it initiated an investigation against Swissquote Group Holding Ltd due to a potential violation of the rules on ad hoc publicity. Swissquote would like to give additional information at this stage.

“On 16 June 2021, Swissquote announced record half-year results via an ad hoc communication. Within that framework, Swissquote informed SIX Exchange Regulation as well as Swiss and international media in a timely manner, so that the market received the relevant information in due time before market opening. However, due to a technical issue, the mailing of the press release to the persons registered via the Swissquote portal was carried out only shortly before 10:00 CET on the said day”.

Swissquote more than doubled net profits in 2021

Swissquote has more than doubled its net profit last year thanks to the largely positive market environment, said the broker about the 2021 results. The online bank reported its operating revenue for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2021, at 479 million Swiss francs, up nearly 50 percent from CHF 317.3 million in 2020.

The bank, based in Gland, had flagged its pre-tax profit at a record CHF 223 million ($245 million) for the year. This figure was significantly higher from CHF 105.6 million it reported a year earlier. As a result, the board of directors will propose to the annual general meeting to increase the dividend by 46.7 percent, from CHF 1.50 to CHF 2.20 per share.

Swissquote said it had surpassed its initial forecasts, which were already raised in August to 465 million francs in revenue from 365 million. The bank also upgraded its pre-tax profit target to 210 million francs from initial estimates of 130 million.

“Swissquote successfully combined top profitability and organic growth with a strong Basel III capital ratio of 26.2 percent. As of the end of 2021, Swissquote exhibits a solid and well-capitalised balance sheet of CHF 9,053.8 million. Total equity increased by 39.8 percent to CHF 615.5 million (CHF 440.2 million). The Board of Directors will propose to the Annual General Meeting of 6 May 2022 that the dividend be increased by 46.7 percent from CHF 1.50 to CHF 2.20 per share,” the company said in a statement.

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