Bharat Masrani: Living up to the promise we make – Remarks to the Annual Meeting of Shareholders

On Thursday April 4, 2019, TD Bank Group President and CEO Bharat Masrani delivered his address to the Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Below is an abridged transcript of those remarks.


TD continued to drive growth, deliver on its promises and distinguish itself in the marketplace in 2018.

Total adjusted1earnings of $12 billion [Reported $11.3 billion] represent an increase of 15 percent [Reported 8 percent] from 2017. Adjusted1 revenues grew by 8 percent [Reported 7 percent]. And we delivered an adjusted1 Return on Equity of 17 percent [Reported 16 percent]. At the same time, we also led our Canadian peers for Total Shareholder Return over the three, five and 10-year periods ending in 2018.

Of course, growing our business is not the only way we define success. Sustaining the public's trust is critically important – not just for our bank, but for the financial system as well.

TD does this by living up to the promises we make to those we serve. In 2018, we continued to be recognized as a brand of choice, including in digital. We stood out as one of the most sustainable banks in the world – as well as one of the safest. And we were celebrated for our diverse and inclusive culture.

We're proud to receive these and other accolades. However, they're not the only way we stand out in the marketplace.

Let me tell you about three others. 

A purpose-driven organization

As I've described, for many years, our lower-risk, retail-focused, diversified business model has generated consistent and predictable earnings growth. This instills confidence in our business and enables us to plan and invest for the long-term.

Second is our purpose - to enrich lives.

For our people -- our most important asset -- that means providing them with the resources and tools to be their best. This includes helping our colleagues adapt, develop and grow in our rapidly evolving workplace.

TD Thrive, for instance, is a learning platform that includes more than 60 "pathways" of content, focused on core competencies. In fact, thirty thousand of our colleagues have already benefited from this initiative.

For our customers, being purpose-driven means placing them at the centre of everything we do.

A great example is how we help home-buyers become home-owners. The journey can often be complicated and time-consuming. So, we’ve introduced a series of digital solutions that make it simpler and faster. Best of all, we’ve empowered our customers through the entire process.

Today, Canadians can use their smart phone to help them save for a down payment – identify homes that fit their budget – secure a pre-approval – and, most recently, apply for a mortgage.

For our communities, purpose-driven means being a positive agent of change. That starts by creating economic opportunity. For instance, we lend to - and help thousands of - small and medium-sized businesses achieve their goals.

We also return capital to you, our shareholders. In 2018 alone, TD paid out a total of $4.6 billion in dividends to a wide range of individuals and institutions.

We are also deploying our resources for the greater good. Our team at Layer 6 is using machine learning to improve health outcomes for people with diabetes.

We are targeting a total of $100 billion by 2030 to help support the transition to a low-carbon economy in North America through our lending, financing, asset management, and internal corporate programs.

We're just over 30 percent of the way to our target. We estimate this has supported more than 76,000 jobs, contributed over $15 billion to GDP and avoided more than 780,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – demonstrating that this transition can be good for the environment and the economy.

And we continue to enrich lives through The Ready Commitment, our global corporate citizenship initiative. As part of this, in 2018, we issued 10 grants of $1 million each to organizations in the US and Canada that are preparing people for the economy of the future.

This year, our efforts will focus on innovative, scalable solutions to support better health outcomes for all.

Finally, we distinguish ourselves by our focus on the future – not just one year, but three, five, even generations from now.

Shaping tomorrow…today

Here are some ways that TD is shaping tomorrow…today.

We're giving our people more tools, more resources -- and less labour-intensive tasks -- so they can spend more time having important conversations with our customers. 

And we’re introducing easy to use digital solutions. Our latest –TD Clari – provides quick, conversational answers to our customers' financial questions.

It joins a suite of mobile services that help customers track their spending in real-time, manage their financial goals, as well as receive special offers, helpful tips and information about nearby events.

These innovations help to explain TD's leadership in digital – including why we've been recognized as the #1 performer in terms of monthly active users.

Building on the strengths of a nation

Let me now turn, more broadly, to the Canadian economy.

TD Economics anticipates constrained growth for 2019, and is continuing to watch the market, macro-economic and geopolitical uncertainty and potential strains in the energy market and supply of Canadian housing.

Today, it's not uncommon to read about the risks and short-comings of our economy's growth prospects. You certainly need to identify a problem before you can figure out a solution. And clearly there are problems to fix.

Like how to export our oil and natural gas to global markets, reduce trade barriers between provinces, eliminate red tape, increase the supply of Canadian housing and accelerate much-needed infrastructure projects ... just to name a few.

But my hope is that we will also look to our strengths and figure out how we might replicate them to address some of these challenges.

For instance, Canada has a rich innovation tradition.

Some of the fastest growing markets for tech jobs in the world are located here. Venture capital has been flowing into Canada. We’re home to world-renowned research institutions. And we continue to attract the best and the brightest from Canada -- and around the world -- to innovation hubs across the country. 

Success is not just what we’ve achieved, but how we’ve achieved it.

In many cases, governments have created the right conditions for growth, including innovation incentives and a sound, principles-based regulatory environment. 

Our education system provides us with an abundance of talent. And our health care system helps Canadians remain healthy and productive.

We’re blessed with an entrepreneurial class. We benefit from a close trading partnership with the world's largest economy. 

And our financial system is strong, with a diverse range of firms that support growth and productivity. 

In short, everyone has a role to play – and they play it well.

This partnership model is an important element in tackling some of the challenges I've cited as well as those coming over the horizon. I'm confident it can help create a better future for all Canadians.

Building The Better Bank

Let me wrap up.

The TD we build tomorrow will be familiar to you today.

For our customers, it will be a bank built around you - working to anticipate your wants and needs - advising you on how to achieve your aspirations, helping you feel and be confident about your future. 

It will be a bank that works not just in – but for -- communities - investing in ideas and organizations that help the places in which we live prosper in healthy and sustainable ways. 

And it will be a bank that values its people and enables them to be their best. 

You can also expect us to dive deeper -- reach higher -- go farther – in short be better. By doing so, we will continue to focus on driving growth, delivering on our promises and distinguishing ourselves to the millions of people and thousands of communities we proudly serve. 

I’d like to thank all our 85,000 colleagues around the world for their ongoing contributions and commitment to living up to our promises.

I also want to express my appreciation to TD's Board of Directors, who are an invaluable source of insights to me and to my senior executive team.

And finally, I want to thank you - our shareholders – for the confidence and trust you have placed in TD. We look forward to continuing to create value for you in the years to come.

Thank you.


[1] The Bank prepares its consolidated financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRRS), the current generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and refers to results prepared in accordance with IFRS as the "reported" results.  The Bank also utilizes non-GAAP financial measures referred to as "adjusted" results (i.e., reported results excluding "items of note") to assess each of its businesses and measure overall Bank performance.  Adjusted net income, adjusted earnings and related terms used in this presentation are not defined terms under GAAP and may not be comparable to similar terms used by other issuers.  See "How the Bank Reports" in the Bank's Fourth Quarter 2018 Earnings News Release and 2018 MD&A (www.td.com/investor) for further explanation, reported basis results, a list of the items of note, and a reconciliation of non-GAAP measures. 

Bharat Masrani

Group President and Chief Executive Officer

TD Bank Group