Highlighting a “considerably more focused” bank pared back by exits from more than 20 countries, Bank of Nova Scotia Chief Executive Officer Brian Porter said he has positioned the bank to expand once more.
“We are operating from a position of strength and we have significant opportunities for growth,” Porter said during his opening remarks at an investor event in Santiago on Wednesday.
The head of Canada’s third-largest lender pointed to “substantial” efforts to simplify its geographic spread and operations from six years ago, when it was in 55-plus countries. That’s left Scotiabank with scale and competitive advantages in six core markets — Canada, the U.S. and the Pacific Alliance countries of Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia — that represent 85 per cent of earnings at the Toronto-based lender, Porter said.
“We have radically simplified the bank’s operations, removed distractions, and focused on the Americas,” he said. “Today we are a highly competitive player in each of our core markets, with multiple avenues for growth.”
Scotiabank disclosed its expectations for the company in its presentation materials, including getting 40 per cent of earnings from Canadian banking and 30 per cent from international banking. Global wealth management, Scotiabank’s newest standalone division, and its global banking and markets unit will each account for 15 per cent of earnings.
The company’s objectives for this fiscal year include “mid-single-digit” organic earnings-per-share growth, along with continued share buybacks, positive operating leverage and stable credit ratios. The bank’s medium-term objectives, which include per-share earnings growth of at least 7 per cent and a return on equity of 14 per cent or more, are unchanged.
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Scotiabank also disclosed objectives for Canadian banking, which include medium-term goals of growth in adjusted net income attributed to equity shareholders of 5 per cent or more, a productivity ratio of less than 44 per cent and positive operating leverage, according to the presentation. The division’s digital bank, Tangerine, also has medium-term goals that include 15 per cent-plus earnings growth, deposit growth of 6 per cent or more and growth in assets of at least 10 per cent on a compound annual growth rate basis.
“In Canadian banking, we are improving our business mix,” Porter said. “We are also enhancing our products, our digital platform and our branch network.”