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Bank of Montreal (BMO)

Q3 2012 Earnings Call

August 28, 2012 2:00 pm ET


Sharon Marie Haward-Laird

William A. Downe - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Thomas E. Flynn - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Executive Vice President

Surjit S. Rajpal - Chief Risk Officer and Executive Vice-President

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Franklin J. Techar - Chief Executive Officer of Personal & Commercial Banking for Canada Bmo and President of Personal & Commercial Banking for Canada Bmo

Mark F. Furlong - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President, Treasurer of M&I Capital Markets Group Llc, Vice President of M&I Capital Markets Group Llc, Chief Executive Officer of M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank, Chairman of M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank, Director of M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank, Director of M&I Capital Markets Group Llc and Director of Marshall & Ilsley Trust Company


Peter D. Routledge - National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division

Gabriel Dechaine - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Cheryl M. Pate - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

John Reucassel - BMO Capital Markets Canada

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Please be advised that this conference call is being recorded. Good afternoon, and welcome to the BMO Financial Group's Third Quarter 2012 Conference Call for August 28, 2012. Your host for today is Ms. Sharon Haward-Laird, Head of Investor Relations. Ms. Haward-Laird, please go ahead.

Sharon Marie Haward-Laird

Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for joining us today. Our agenda for today's investor presentation is as follows. We will begin the call with remarks from Bill Downe, BMO's CEO; followed by presentations from Tom Flynn, the bank's Chief Financial Officer; and Surjit Rajpal, our Chief Risk Officer. After their presentations, we will have a short question-and-answer period, where we will take questions from prequalified analysts. [Operator Instructions] Also with us this afternoon to take questions are BMO's business unit heads: Tom Milroy for BMO Capital Markets; Gilles Ouellette from the Private Client Group; Frank Techar, Head of P&C Canada; and Mark Furlong, Head of P&C U.S.

At this time, I caution our listeners by stating the following on behalf of those speaking today. Forward-looking statements may be made during this call. They are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from forecasts, projections or conclusions in the forward-looking statements. Information about material factors that could cause results to differ and the material factors and assumptions underlying these forward-looking statements can be found in our annual MD&A and our third quarter report to shareholders.

With that said, I will hand things over to Bill.

William A. Downe

Thank you, Sharon, and good afternoon, everyone. BMO produced strong financial results in the third quarter as our business continues to deliver consistent, attractive profitability within a sound risk framework. Bank's reported net income increased 37% year-over-year to $970 million or $1.42 per share. On an adjusted basis, net income was up 18% to over $1 billion, representing $1.49 per share, 11% ahead of last year. Revenue growth was 9%, reflecting acquisitions and organic growth across our business. BMO's ROE was 15.2%. Adjusted provisions for credit loss were down from last year, benefiting from a good core performance and our strong loan workout capabilities. Surjit will give you more detail on credit later in the call.

BMO continued to build on its strong capital position in the quarter. Assuming full implementation of Basel III reforms and full impact of IFRS, our pro forma Basel III common equity ratio was 8.3%. We increased our quarterly dividend by 3% to $0.72 a share, reflecting our strong capital position, the success of our business strategies and our confidence in our continued ability to generate sustained earnings growth.

We also moved the target dividend payout range to between 40% and 50% of income. This change is consistent with our objective of maintaining capital flexibility to execute on our growth strategies and acknowledges the higher capital expectations resulting from Basel III. Confirming the confidence we expressed during our U.S. Investor Day in June, this quarter's earnings reflect strong performance from our U.S. businesses. There's good momentum in U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking as we continue to generate organic commercial loan growth and execute well against our plans, and there was improved performance in both Capital Markets and the Private Client Group.

In addition, we continue to simplify our organization and processes throughout the company. Our focus on expense management has gained traction throughout the bank, and the results are visible. In the quarter, adjusted expenses declined sequentially and also year-over-year after adjusting for acquisitions and the stronger U.S. dollar. We've been effective in identifying efficiencies while making investments to expand our value proposition and make things easier for our customers.

There are 3 examples. In May, BMO became the first major financial institution with the capability to offer real-time appointment booking through our website. Service delivers on our customer promise by enabling existing and prospective customers to book their own appointments at a time convenient for them at any BMO branch across Canada. We've also developed more flexible retail store models. The strategy comprising small studio, mid-sized neighborhood and large metropolitan formats has created more productive and customer-friendly branches. The benefits of this approach include reductions in real estate space, capital investments and operating expenses, faster revenue growth and a quicker time to positive contribution. And our customers appreciate the difference. And third, we've implemented new technology architecture for the bank, which links together e key systems to generate significant benefits in customer experience and productivity. We've reduced the cost to build new products and services and improved our speed to market by making it easier to use off-the-shelf applications and reuse software components. In addition, by providing a clearer picture of customer interactions, it facilitates effective cross-sell.

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