Insights: Research Comments

Indian Banks Overview: Large Diverse Sector, Operating in a High Growth Market

In this insight, we provide a review of the Indian economy and banking system, highlighting the most important issues facing the sector. India is a large emerging market with a fast-growing banking sector comprised of over 35 publicly traded banks divided into two main categories: state-owned (over 20) and private banks (over 15). For many years, India has been – and is forecast to remain –…

Canadian Western Bank as a U.S. Mid-Cap Proxy

Canadian Western Bank has achieved highly material long-term outperformance versus its larger peers. In this post, we relate its sizeable outperformance to our preference for U.S. mid-cap banks. In our January 24, 2018 comment, “U.S. Banks: High/Low Growth Areas in One Map (i.e., ‘Follow the Sun’)”, we explained that there are vast demographic differences within the six distinct geographic regions of the United States (five of…

U.S. Banks: Wells Fargo and “Invisible” Bank Taxes

We have written several times on WFC’s inability to grow EPS and its ongoing regulatory problems. That said, even we were surprised that on Janet Yellen’s last day as Chair of the Federal Reserve (“Fed”), the central bank filed a consent order against Wells Fargo (“WFC”) requiring the bank take a number of extraordinary steps to improve corporate governance. While WFC does so, the Fed has…

Are REITs Set to Underperform the Financials?

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Hamilton Capital Global Financials Yield ETF (HFY), which will begin trading on the TSX on Tuesday, February 7th. The objective of the ETF is to offer attractive distribution potential. Put differently, our aspiration is for the ETF to have “REIT-like yields, but with positive rate sensitivity”. Although REITs were recently separated from certain financial services indices (for…

WFC: A Canadian Bank Counterfactual as it Enters Year #4 of No Growth

We generally have minimal exposure to the global mega-cap banks primarily because of their very low EPS growth, higher regulatory risk, and relative to their mid-cap peers, materially lower interest rate sensitivity. In this Insight, we explain why we believe “slow growth” WFC basically represents a Canadian bank counterfactual.

Canadian Banks: Revisiting our “End of an Era” Thesis (Five Years Later)

In May 2011, we wrote an essay entitled “The Canadian Banks – The End of an Era”. In this essay – which was excerpted in the Globe and Mail – we explained why the Canadian banks were entering a period in which their two-decade period of double digit EPS/dividend growth was ending. Specifically, we identified three reasons supporting this thesis: (i) the drivers of the sector’s…

Is Wells Fargo Un-investable (for Now)?

As we have written in the past, we strongly favour U.S. mid-cap banks – i.e., those with assets under $100 bln. These 200+ banks are growing (much) faster than their large-cap peers, are generally more rate sensitive, and are merging. And crucially, they have less regulatory risk. Up until recently, the epicentre of regulatory risk among the mega-caps has been banks with global investment banking operations…

Part #2 of 2: Why the Canadian Investment Banks Largely Avoided the Painful Global Restructuring

In Part #1: Why the Global Investment Banking Model is Under Siege, we discussed why the global investment banking model is undergoing a painful restructuring. Hardly a day goes by without bad news of the challenges facing the global investment banks. In this Insight, we address the obvious question: “With their large investment banking operations, how have the Canadian banks largely avoided this painful global restructuring?”.

Part #1 of 2: Why the Global Investment Banking Model is Under Siege

If you follow or own JPM, C, BAC, MS, GS, or European ADRs CS, UBS, DB, you have no doubt observed the relentless stream of negative headlines/announcements underscoring the very challenging operating environment of the global investment banks. In our view these challenges are structural, not cyclical, and we believe that global investment banking model is effectively under siege. In this Insight, we discuss the immense…

Chinese Banks Part #3: Are Chinese Banks Solvent? Q&A on the Sector

In this series on Chinese banks, we have been evaluating the risk that distress in the system triggers a global sell-off. In the first two parts, we assumed that the Chinese government’s reported statistics are unreliable and hence obscuring the true financial distress of the sector. Then, to help investors understand these systemic risk issues, we presented the arguments supporting the bear case (Part #1), as…

Chinese Banks Part #2: For BULLS, Four Reasons Why Macro Risk from Chinese Banks is Overstated

In this three part series, we discuss macro risk posed to the markets by the enormous Chinese banking sector. In Part #2, we take the perspective of the ‘bulls’, providing reasons why the macro risk posed by the Chinese banking sector is overstated. In Part #1, we provided the perspective of the ‘bears’, discussing why the sector could be the epicentre of a further global sell-off…

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