Aareal Bank Group has seen very strong development in recent years, despite continuing market and competitive challenges. Our operating business is extremely robust, while Aareal 2020 – our programme for the future – has laid the groundwork for maintaining our strong market position going forward.
This success is based not least on our conviction that we need to constantly review and, in a positive sense, to question our achievements to date. In doing so, it is important for us to think and act sustainably – something we define as focusing on the future and ensuring that we remain competitive in the long term. Our uncompromising customer focus, highly agile approach, powerful culture of innovation and unwavering commitment to change are critical success factors. We are also guided by the principles set out in the UN Global Compact and by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
We have to know our stakeholders if we are to meet their needs and expectations. In-depth communication and a meaningful dialogue with them are therefore top priorities. We carried out several systematic surveys and studies in 2018. We asked external experts to comment on industry developments in our Strategic Review. Our subsidiary Aareon commissioned a study on where clients are in their digital transformation process and how they see the future. We asked our investors to provide feedback on our capital markets communications. We tracked employee satisfaction through surveys and staff appraisal meetings. And, as in past years, we interviewed internal and external stakeholders for input on how to prioritise our key sustainability topics.
The large number of insights drawn from these exchanges will help drive forward our Group's strategic positioning. This report provides information on many of these. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their willingness to contribute and to answer freely, and their time.
We hope you find it an enjoyable and informative read. Please do not hesitate to contact us us if you have any questions or suggestions.
Yours, Hermann J. Merkens