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Our risk culture

The ability to correctly identify, assess and manage risk is one of the most important foundations of our business model. This is why Aareal Bank Group attaches so much importance to risk transparency and appropriate risk management.

For many years, we have pursued a conservative risk policy, ensuring a clear, sustainable risk culture. In doing so, we follow the definition of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and regard risk culture as a set of principles, attitudes and practices relating to awareness, willingness and management of risk as well as to the controls that influence risk decisions.

We are convinced that it is essential for us to have a risk culture that fits with our long-term business model, in addition to business and market-driven aspects. This has to be a central component of our corporate culture in order for it to be able to exert influence on the decisions our management and employees make on a daily working basis. We therefore ensure that all our employees are familiar with our risk systems and risk appetite.

Our risk culture is based on four pillars: management culture, employee accountability, open communication and challenge, and appropriate incentives.

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In this context, strategy, governance and our internal documentation are interlinked: this ensures a consistent and uniform view on our risk appetite – which is derived from our strategy – as well as on risk management and on guidelines which are in line with this. This framework is designed to provide guidance and direction to our staff.

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We have laid the foundations of our risk culture in our Risk Appetite Framework. This framework represents a holistic approach comprising guidelines, processes, controls and systems, whilst at the same time describing our values and behaviours. The requirements contained within are binding for all employees and have a direct impact on their responsibilities, goals and objectives. It ties risk culture to strategic planning, ongoing risk measurement and monitoring, as well as to defined risk strategies.

This framework is supplemented by the respective division- and task-specific provisions of the Written Set of Procedural Rules (SFO) as well as by our Code of Conduct.

In our recently revised Code of Conduct, which will be introduced Group-wide in 2019, we provide our employees, members of our executive bodies and employees of our sub-contractors with guidelines and advice on how to behave in certain situations. We require our business partners to also behave according to these principles. The Code of Conduct defines our fundamental understanding of working together and contains statements on our corporate responsibility, our fair employment relationships and conditions, as well as our social responsibility. It is inspired by international conventions and guidelines as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions and the United Nations Global Compact. It therefore forms a pivotal document in our corporate culture and translates our values and principles into concrete behaviour guidelines, whilst taking into account the importance of appropriate risk management.

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