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Jan 10, 2022

TD Bank CEO sees buybacks as plan B if no deals work

Banks sitting on excess capital

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Toronto-Dominion Bank Chief Executive Officer Bharat Masrani said additional share repurchases would be a possible use of the lender’s excess capital if it doesn’t deploy those funds in a major acquisition.

After stockpiling capital to protect against a wave of pandemic-induced defaults that never materialized, Toronto-Dominion has a common equity tier 1 capital ratio of 15.2 per cent, well above the 11 per cent that banks typically target. Toronto-Dominion last month announced a plan to buy back as many as 50 million shares, and Masrani said Monday the bank will continue to look at acquisitions that make strategic, financial and cultural sense.

“I don’t want to discount the possibility of acquisitions,” Masrani said at the RBC Capital Markets Canadian Bank CEO Conference. “If there are no acquisitions available -- and I’ve explained my framework many times over -- then we will not be shy to buy back our shares.”

While he wouldn’t rule out a special dividend to deploy some of the bank’s excess capital, Masrani said he doesn’t favor that option.

“Generally speaking, intellectually, I’m not a big fan of special dividends,” he said. “I think dividends should have some kind of a relationship with your earnings power on an ongoing basis.”