Insights: Notes from the Field

Notes from the Field: Everything’s Peachy in Atlanta

A recent trip to Atlanta gave us a chance to meet with executives from several publicly traded banks headquartered in Georgia, as well as some of their commercial customers and a local land broker. Seven months after the election of an administration with ambitions of pro-growth policies and reforms that renewed investor interest in U.S. bank stocks, the trip presented a good opportunity to check in…

Notes from the Field: At Home with the Challengers of U.K. Banking

During a recent trip to London, we had the opportunity to sit down with executives from six UK-based banks, including teams from two High Street banks and four from what are commonly referred to as “Challenger banks”.  In this note, we review our stance on U.K. banks, provide a brief breakdown of the market, and discuss our key takeaways from the trip.

Notes from the Field: U.S. Mid-Cap Bank Meetings in New York

We recently attended a U.S. financial services conference in New York City and had the opportunity to meet with executives from seven mid-cap banks. These meetings were of particular importance to us, as the Hamilton Capital Global Bank ETF (HBG) has ~46% of NAV invested in the U.S., with the majority of that in banks with less than US$50 bln in assets. Given the relatively low…

Notes from Florida Bank Tour: Commercial Real Estate Lending and M&A under the Microscope

We recently traveled to Florida to meet with a group of mid-cap banks. Of the 12 banks that participated on the trip, 9 are headquartered in Florida (2 Arkansas, 1 from New Jersey), and 10 are publicly-traded[1]. Of the publicly-traded banks, the median asset size is US$5.0 billion, the median market cap is US$841 million (US$1.5 billion average), and the median expected loan growth in 2016…

Notes from NYC: For Global Investment Banks, Legacy Issues and Volatile Markets Creating Challenges

Along with a group of other investors, we recently attended meetings in New York City with executives from global banks (7 banks, including 6 international). Many of the conversations were focused on the investment banking businesses of these firms and how they are dealing with structural changes to the business model and regulatory environment, which are contributing to the ongoing headlines highlighting the challenges facing the…

Notes from Florida: KBW Financial Services Symposium

In early February we attended the KBW Winter Financial Services Symposium in Florida, which was attended by other investors and representatives from U.S. banks and capital markets firms. Of the +70 primarily U.S. mid-cap banks in attendance, only five had assets over $50 bln. There was a clear division in sentiment between company executives, who are not seeing major issues with their operations, and investors, who…

Notes from the Field: BofAML Insurance Conference 2016

We recently attended Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s 2016 Insurance Conference in New York, where we took in presentations by 27 insurance companies, with representatives from the life, property and casualty (P&C), reinsurance and mortgage insurance sub-sectors. Most of the companies presenting were U.S.-based (and listed), with several Bermuda and Europe-domiciled reinsurers, and a Canadian P&C insurer also in attendance. Notwithstanding the location of their headquarters,…

Notes from Texas Bank Tour: Is This Time Different from Previous Downturns?

Last week we traveled to Texas with a group of investors to meet with management teams from 15 different banks (14 are publicly traded). With the exception of six banks, all are headquartered in Texas, and all but one has notable energy exposure in their loan portfolios (Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana banks also participated). The stocks of most of these banks have dropped over the…

Notes from Switzerland: Rising Regulatory Risk Places Swiss Private Banking Under Pressure

We recently traveled to Switzerland to meet with regulatory policy experts and representatives from the country’s major banks. Switzerland, while geographically small and landlocked, is home to a highly developed and skilled economy. It is one of the world’s most affluent nations, with the 6th highest GDP per capita (3rd excl. very small economies) of ~US$87,000 (Canada at ~US$50,000). Consistent with its longstanding neutrality, Switzerland is…

Notes from Sweden: Large Nordic Country; Oligopoly Banking Sector with High Capital Levels

We recently traveled to Sweden to meet representatives from the country’s four major banks and regulatory policy experts. For background, Sweden is the largest of the five Nordic countries by both population (9.7 mln) and economic output (US$570 bln). Of significance, it remains outside of the eurozone, i.e., it has its own currency/central bank (Finland is the only Nordic country in the eurozone; the other three…

Notes from the Netherlands: Eurozone Country Dominated by Two Large Public Banks

We recently traveled to the Netherlands to meet with representatives from the country’s major banks and regulatory policy experts. The Netherlands is the most densely populated large economy outside of Asia, with 16.8 mln people, and is a member of the eurozone. Its developed economy is focused on foreign trade, and it ranks as the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world. It’s GDP…

Notes from Denmark: Small, Wealthy Country; Well Capitalized Banks

We recently traveled to Denmark to meet with regulatory policy experts and representatives from the country’s major banks. Denmark is the smallest of the Nordic countries by size, but the second largest by population with ~5.7 mln. It remains outside of the eurozone, along with three of the other four Nordic countries (Finland is a eurozone member). It has a developed (mixed) economy focused on foreign…

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