Toronto-Dominion CEO Plans on Caution Amid a ‘Bumpy’ Recovery
(Bloomberg) -- Toronto-Dominion Bank Chief Executive Officer Bharat Masrani said that while he sees encouraging trends in the economy, the emergence of the omicron variant shows that it’s too early to call an all-clear on the pandemic.
“With respect to the economy, I don’t want to be declaring victory prematurely,” Masrani said in a BNN Bloomberg Television interview Monday. “The pandemic is not behind us.”
Toronto-Dominion last week reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates, increased its dividend 13% and announced a plan to buy back 50 million shares, which would cost about C$4.7 billion ($3.7 billion) at current prices.
Even amid the increased payouts, Masrani said the bank wants to keep enough capital on hand to maintain the flexibility to invest in its business and potentially make acquisitions. While Masrani said he expects 2022 to be a year of normalization and reopening, the bank prefers to be conservative and believes it would be premature to release too much of the capital stockpiled to protect against potential loan losses, he said.
“We are very sensitive to what might happen here, and it’s going to be bumpy for a while until we’re out of this pandemic,” Masrani said.
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