BNY Mellon's CEO Presents at Goldman Sachs U.S. Financial Services Conference (Transcript)

| About: The Bank (BK)
This article is now exclusive for PRO subscribers.

The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) Goldman Sachs U.S. Financial Services Conference December 11, 2013 10:50 AM ET


Gerald Hassell - Chairman & CEO

Todd Gibbons - CFO


Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs


Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs

Welcome back. G L Hassell, the Chairman and CEO of BNY Mellon and he is [Unclear] by Todd Gibbons, the CFO of the company. BNY Mellon as many of you know is probably the most diversified among the trust banks specializing not only in the institutional custody and outsourcing as a management but also operating a very big clearing business, issuer services as well a growing presence in wealth management. Similarly to its peers Bank of New York Mellon launched a meaningful cost cutting initiative a few years ago to address some of the top line headwinds that the custody bank industry has been facing over the last few years. Majority of these are already in the run-rate but as you will probably hear the company is working on other initiatives to continue to enhance profitability for the firm. So with that let me turn it over to Gerald for a brief presentation and we will follow-up with Q&A.

Gerald Hassell

Thank you very much Alex, we’re delighted to be here today and Todd and I will be happy to answer some questions at the end of this. Before I get started I do want to remind you of the cautionary statement in the back of the presentation. Today we’re really just going to just focus a little bit on our business model, our opportunities for growth, expense controls and of course our strong capital position and ability to redeploy that capital back internally and to shareholders.

I know we want to try to have a little bit of a different format today. So I’m going to literally no pun intended power through these slides and allow for more time on Q&A. Just to remind everyone we’re the investments company for the world. We help our clients at every stage of the investment life cycle and we help create, clear, settle, custodize, risk manage financial assets of any different kind anywhere in all over the world. Now we also manage those assets through our various investment management boutiques as well. And we offer technology platforms that connect investment advisors and asset managers including our own to our various platforms and capabilities so that we get access to the retail and institutional investor.

We have a very, very distinctive business model and as Alex said it's probably the most comprehensive model around the management and servicing of financial assets. I like to think of us as being very solely focused on the entire investment management process and we have in essence basically a neural network that we provide that connects to various market participants all around the world servicing and clearing their various financial assets. And as part of that neural network we have a very strong brain, a very smart brain in our investment management area that provides a lot of intelligence on how we should design and manage that network.

Now this next slide highlights how we’re organized, we’re in two main segments, Investment Services and Investment Management. In investment services we’re clearly the largest custodian and the leader in almost every aspect of servicing financial assets.

Now I don’t want you to think of it, I want you to think of us as more of rather than just a collection of individual businesses but really as a series or a collection of solutions that we offer the marketplace and it facilitates the movement and control of all the financial assets. Many times you all think of us a lot of individual business lines. We don’t think of ourselves that way, we think of ourselves in a way of providing solution sets, to sophisticated investment managers. So we provide the technology network that allows the financial markets to work. Think of us as the financial markets Internet and the applications that we develop and others develop are plugged into that network and we manage that process.

Now we’re also one of the Top 10 global asset managers. We do it through 16 individual boutiques and we’re the 8th largest U.S. wealth manager as well.

You can see our businesses are global in nature, 36% of our revenues in our investment services area are outside the U.S. and 46% in the investment management area.

Now you saw a good strong core fee based growth through the third quarter of this year. Investment management certainly benefited from the higher equity markets but very, very importantly we have had 16 consecutive quarters of net long term inflows and so that’s resulted in about a $107 billion of inflows, the long term inflows into our investment management sector.

Investment services enjoyed solid growth across the board and I would say particularly in our clearing services area. And clearing services is really again the technology platform that allows advisors all around the world to utilize our platform to interface with retail investors. So that’s where why you’re seeing so much growth there. In terms of our priority, clearly the priority is around generating organic revenue growth. Transforming for a success which really extends beyond our original operational excellence initiatives and I will talk about that more in a moment. Our other priorities around disciplined capital management making sure we’re investing in our businesses and very, very importantly returning capital to shareholders.

Now this investment management slide as you can see we’re a multi-boutique model and we combine it with our wealth management area. So our boutiques and their investment strategies are offered to our wealth management clients in addition to our institutional clients all around the world. And we have a number of opportunities for growth, one of the ones that we really are concentrating very heavily on, if you think about us we’re very relatively underexposed to the retail investor. So we’re investing more in our retail products and our access to the retail investor by investing in people who really work with the various channels and platforms on wholesalers to make our products more available to that marketplace.

We’re also deepening our global investment presence, what do I mean by that? So one of our boutiques Insight for example which is the largest liability driven investor in the planet, mostly they - have most of their assets in the UK and Europe. We’re introducing their capabilities to the U.S. marketplace. And in standard fixed income space we have hired some equity, some fixed income teams in Asia and broadening that product place around the world. And of course in wealth management we said to you in the past where we have increased by or we will be increasing by 50%, the number of folks we have in the sales channel to fill some of the gaps we have in our wealth management space geographically in the U.S.

Now there is investment services slide, just a couple highlights here and we did some reorganization about a year ago where we brought all of our investment services business together because again they are really solution sets for our clients under the leadership of Tim Keaney and then we also brought together our operations and technology altogether under the leadership of Brian Shea and very, very importantly, we’re connecting our operations and technology to the businesses, to the clients. Many times people think of operations and technology as being back office. We actually think of this being part of the front office.

We’re putting our technologist in the offices of our clients to better understand what they need and want so we can develop applications for their needs. Now there has been an enormous pace of change in terms of revenue growth opportunities and so one of the things on the right hand part of this slide, we’re focusing on collateral services to address those regulatory changes and we’re seeing some good progress there.

Another area we’re investing is in our global markets particularly in our foreign-exchange, electronic platform. We see ourselves as the natural counterparty to capture trade flow as our clients utilize our network again and we want to be able to put streamed prices on their desktops so we can capture some of that order flow. We have also been investing in some of our fixed income capabilities as well. That’s a bit more volatile market as you know but we think again we’re a good counterparty, we’re just trying to capture some of the normal trading flows.

Now this next slide I think is very important because many of you have asked us all the time about what are the cross business solutions sets and why do we have investment management and investment services together. Besides having the great interdisciplinary skills within our firm and the intellectual capital constantly challenging each other that all sounds good but how does it translate into revenues? Well these are a series of initiatives that we have inside the company where we have teams and they are dedicated to each one of these line items with very specific goals. So I’m just going to highlight a couple of them, one is around the bank and brokerage trust custody business and that’s where clients want the benefit of both a brokerage model and a bank custody model and a trust model. So we're combining essentially our banking and trust capabilities, and our brokerage capabilities on the Pershing platform to offer something new and different to the marketplace.

Again, our Pershing platform is working very, very closely with our investment management area. We’re building out technology to offer separately managed accounts in the Asia-Pacific marketplace. So we’re building the technology to have advisors in Asia, be able to service their end investor and we’re having investment management being some of the key products on that platform because obviously the advisors in Asia need investment management product. It's a great combination. We already have two major clients that are on the platform, we’re in 11 different markets and we have approval in Singapore and Hong Kong to offer this capability today.

Another area is around what we call global partners sales and that's where we have, you know in the past all of our boutiques were a bit disconnected. We have been able to connect some of them together through a central distribution capability and very importantly we have put a team together on the investment services side to intersect with that distribution team and really find the synergies across our client base and it's working very well. It's the fastest growth of our investment management assets are coming through this channel. And of course Pershing is a great platform, it’s probably the largest single distribution platform on the planet. You know, today we have a 125,000 advisors who use it just in the U.S. that’s not counting what we’re doing globally and they of course need product and we want to be able to put our product on those platforms.

Now this slide we’re also investing in our brand. Hopefully, some of you've seen some of our ads on the Wall Street Journal or CNBC. The theme is we’re investing in, we’re investing in people, we’re investing in strategies. We’re investing in a lot of different things and hopefully you’ve seen it and found it very interesting. On the right-hand side of the slide one of the things we’re also trying to do is find very distinctive outlets to match our brand to certain events. Some people advertise in the Super Bowl, some people advertise in variety of different venues, we’re trying to find very distinctive events that connect our brand to the high-value- high intellect types of audiences.

So on the right-hand side this is really cool, we have sponsored the boat race in the UK. So what better outcome than this to have the Financial Times, arguably one of the best reporting financial newspapers in the world, showcase the winning team Oxford, some really smart, bright people with Bank of New York Mellon. So winning team, great athletes and by the way, we have a great connection to Oxford and Cambridge in terms of recruiting. So that’s some of the things we’re trying to do in that space is really connect our brand to smart people, to the investment process and really distinguish ourselves in the marketplace.

One of our other branding initiatives has also been with the San Francisco 49ers. Now you may say why the heck the San Francisco 49ers? Well interestingly they're building one of the most technology advanced stadiums in the world. Also the attendees to the 49ers are the Silicon Valley smart people and investors. So what we’re doing is building out our wealth management capabilities in Silicon Valley, we’re learning about some of the technologies that Silicon Valley is developing not just with the 49ers but in general. It's putting our brand in front of wealth management clients. And it's putting our brand in front of the schools that we want to recruit from because we want some of the best and smartest technology people on the planet working for us. So again, very distinctive, very targeted in terms of our approach.

This slide transforming for success. It's really around our operational excellence initiative that Alex referred to. We actually are a year ahead of schedule in terms of achieving these goals and we’re really focused on continuous improvement, continuously improving the efficiency and productivity of our operations and technology. Brian Shea and Suresh Kumar, our head of operations and technology respectively presented recently some very targeted areas which are listed here that we’re going after and we think there are literally hundreds of millions of dollars available to us in terms of productivity gains and cost saves by continuing to focus in this space.

This slide around our capital strength, I think it's one of the real distinguishing characteristics of our firm. We don't need a lot of capital to support our business model. We don't rely on risk-weighted assets to grow our earnings and so as a result we are growing capital at a very fast-pace, you know, so you can see over the last 12 months we’ve basically generated a tangible capital of over $3 billion and we have very, very strong capital ratios after that and that’s also after giving consideration to our buyback program and the fact that we increased our dividend by 15% earlier this year. We’ve a very high-quality investment portfolio and extraordinarily high quality loan portfolio and it's actually relatively small. So again we think we’re regenerating a lot of capital. No reliance on risk-weighted assets to generate earnings for the firm and I think that gives us enormous flexibility in terms of what we can do with that capital.

So what do we do with the capital? Clearly we’re investing in some of the business initiatives that I just described and we've laid out for you in the past. We’re also having to invest in clearly some of the costs associated with the new regulatory world we’re dealing in. I have to say the myriad of regulations in the U.S., in the UK, Brussels and Europe and Asia and the level of compliance associated with them is quite extraordinary, and the cost associated with it have been a lot higher than we would've expected and clearly we’re having to pay for that in our run rate, it's in our run-rate today but it is a headwind to us being able to deliver that positive operating leverage.

Year-to-date we repurchased about 34 million shares for about a billion dollars out of our original program and again just a reminder we increased our dividend early this year. So our payout ratios through the third quarter this year was about 76% of earnings. So in summary I feel very, very confident about our business model and expanding our financial Internet to our neural network, to all the market participants and leveraging our own asset management capabilities and boutiques on our own platforms. Our model is very distinctive as we leverage those interdisciplinary skill set across our firm, and really focus on the entire investment process and the investment lifecycle.

We generate very significant levels of capital and we’re very disciplined about managing that capital and returning as much of it to shareholders as possible while still growing our businesses for the long-term. And finally we are in fact experiencing good growth of almost across the board and that’s even with interest-rates being as low as they are today and with any sort of normalized interest rate environment there is significant upside to our business model. So let me pause there. Let’s open it up for questions. So thank you everybody.

Question-and-Answer Session

Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs

So thanks for this. I want to frame the discussion around organic growth probably in two buckets. First we will talk about a couple of things on the investment services side and we will touch on the asset management, wealth management as well. So you know the first one on the organic growth and investment services when you look at the various buckets that you’ve outlined as strategic growth opportunities for the firm which one or two do you consider to be the most interesting for the next couple of years?

Gerald Hassell

Sure I would say there is two or three that I’m really excited about first is our clearing platform what shows up in our clearing service is really a technology platform that we’re investing in quite heavily that allows advisors of all different kinds, affiliated and unaffiliated, someone who may have self-cleared is now using us. An advisor or an agent who may want to use our platform, an advisor anywhere around the world who needs and wants to use our technology to get access to good investment management strategies, there is compliance modules, there is risk modules, there is asset allocation modules, there is all sorts of apps and modules on that platform to allow an advisor to be successful and to get access to the retail investor.

We’re very excited about it, you saw it in some of the growth rates and why clearing is growing more quickly than some aspects of our firm and that’s one of the real reasons and so we’re very excited about that.

Second category is around collateral service, again it's sort just beginning. It's interesting that the Dodd-Frank and Volcker Rule is just coming out now. It's only been sort of the last few months as some of the regulations have become more clear. Most of our collateral services thus far have been in the segregation category that’s keeping safe the collateral on behalf of our clients as opposed to optimizing the collateral and transforming that collateral. So I think there is several more phases of this in the collateral services. And then I would say the third big bucket is going to be in our investment management space for developing new strategies, new capabilities, or finding new venues and platforms to offer those too. Some of the connectivity to our asset servicing clients where we already have great credibility; May either want to money managed by us or making our asset management boutiques available on their platforms. So those are some of the exciting things that are in the company.

Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs

I want to pick up on the collateral transformation if there are any that clearly seems to be a unique opportunity for BNY Mellon both on the balance sheet as well as some of the old balance sheet items. First Europe clearing as you mentioned is now behind us I think a lot of focus are really worried about how this is going to turn out. No major blows ups, things have gone luckily fairly smoothly but curious that how you have started to monetize this opportunity already. Where is it showing up in your results? And then ultimately maybe an update on how you think about debt longer term growth prospect?

Gerald Hassell

So part of it showing up in the fee line through the segregation in some of the collateral services I just mentioned and so we do in fact get paid fees for those and by the way there are different fee structures than a traditional custody fee structure because you’re in fact providing a lot more value to our clients and being able to manage their collateral and optimize their collateral in a variety of different venues. So it's not our traditional custody fees schedule associated with it, so that’s one place that it's showing up. Another place and it's actually being little less than what we have expect was on some of the financing side and that’s providing basically we will take in some of the collateral and then we will provide some financing cash or treasuries and stop some of the collateral so they can post in right [ph] in some places.

That’s where the demand has been a little slower than we would expect it and some of the margins associated is a little bit lower than we expected because of all the liquidity in the marketplace. As that starts, the demand starts to increase we would expect that area to pick up quite nicely. Everyone’s guesstimate is somewhere around $1 trillion to $4 trillion worth of collateral that needs to be either transformed or posted in the future for the collateral that’s going to be required at clearing houses or with other counter party. So we see that as a fairly significant upside, that we’re only the beginning innings.

Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs

Sticking with the fee rate and the kind of pure custody or servicing components, you kind of keeping issue a service in clearing that for a second [ph]. I think it's (indiscernible) times for us to as I have (indiscernible) is to really get a good feel of the connectivity between what drives revenues versus what drives the assets and custody. Some of that is a reflection of the environment and the activity rate. So maybe Gerald or Todd for you as well when you guys think about next year between introduction of new market structure in fixed income markets between potential tapering which could cause more volatility. How should we think I guess about the sensitivity of your servicing revenues to these things?

Gerald Hassell

I will take this start about it and Todd if you want to jump in at any time. You know pure custody is commoditized, pure and simple I’m going to try to sugar coat it in any way. It's been declining in terms of the basis points for assets under custody for decades and it will continue to be.

So we have to get highly, highly efficient and productive in our capabilities around that space in order to have the custody by and of itself makes sense. That being said custodizing the assets is sort of the foundation for the other applications that investment managers need and want and what we are seeing more and more as investment managers are examining their own business model about what should they be doing versus what should we be doing on their behalf, and so we are talking having a much more rich dialogue with investment managers and pension funds and endowments around the whole trade process and so it's not just a discussion around how do I squeeze down the basis points in custody, it's how do we really engage with you to provide greater efficiency from the point of trade all the way through the cycle and so that’s data collection, it's risk services, it's performance analytics, it's all sorts of applications that are more value-added to an investment manager that are attached to those assets under custody. And so that’s what we’re looking to do, think about it in many ways is sort of the iTunes store, the Apple store. We won [ph] a lot of different applications that actually are value-added to those folks and still stay within our store and some of those applications we’re going to build ourselves and design ourselves and some of which we’re going to plug in somebody else. And so Charles River maybe in the room probably used Charles River you know as a front end system. Well we have Charles River very highly integrated into our platform but it's not just Charles River there maybe two or three others.

So we’re looking at this as really transforming the company into a technology based solutions provider not pure custody and I see great opportunity associated with that.

Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs

Shifting gear a little bit I want to touch on the outlook for capital returns one of the major points you’ve highlighted and it's an important obviously point for investor as well, how much capital you’ve generated and how good you’ve been returning capital to shareholders relative especially a lot of (indiscernible) for company. So, lots of new things are been introduced this summer with CCAR and lots of new implications to thing about whether it's Basel III, whether it's the rate shock liquidity. So when you take them holistically how are you approaching the CCAR relative to five years [ph]?

Gerald Hassell

Sure I will start with the first start before I get to the CCAR. I used to say it was three dimensional chess it's more like five dimensional chess now in terms of myriad of regulatory requirements because we have Basel we have the U.S. overlay, we had the UK overlay, we have Brussels overlay, Asia is just starting to perk it's setup and so client to optimize your levels of capital and liquidity for economic purposes versus regulatory purposes is one the challenges. From an economic point of view, we have very low needs for capital. From a regulatory point of view particularly around the supplemental leverage ratio as proposed at a different level of efficient [ph]. So we’re obviously trying to optimize between the two and make sure that we have a balance sheet that satisfies both ends of the spectrum. The good news with things like some of the U.S. regulations is being proposed, they are going to be phased in over a 5-6 year period of time. So we have time to be able to pull some levers and adjust accordingly.

In the meantime, we don't think it makes sense for our business model given our role in the financial markets to put on risk. People don't pay us to put on risk, they pay us to be safe and sound and to provide great technology and great application to help them be successful. So we think it would be out of bounds of our risk appetite to try to put on risk-weighted assets to really satisfy that equation. And so we’re going to continue to look at being aggressive on returning capital to shareholders where we can and/or investing in our businesses where we have great opportunities and that’s how we think about it.

Todd Gibbons

And maybe I will add something in specifically right in the middle now of the CCAR test and the CCAR test is a little bit different this year as Alex had mentioned, we’re actually we’re going to publish a couple of scenarios one which is the severely adverse scenario which has been published in the past but there is also another scenario where that they call adverse which is a bit of a downturn in the economy as well as a rise in interest rates. And I think that when you look at our performance in stress test historically given the stability of our fee income and we tend to be a little less exposed to the equity markets which in a stress test is a good thing, it's typically when you stress something you’re stressing equities down quite a bit.

So we have fairly stable PPNR and we would expect that to be a consistent with just about any type of stress test that we have seen and in addition to that as Gerald had mentioned if you look at the left hand side of our balance sheet we have very low risk weighted asset that perform very well in stress. We have got about a $125 billion in cash, our securities portfolio is about a $100 billion and most of that is made up of agencies and treasury. So it would be expected to perform pretty well. And we think we would expect to continue to perform while as we have in past years.

Gerald Hassell

Yeah just to put those numbers in perspective that’s about 2/3rd of our balance sheet is in cash or short duration, high quality investment securities.

Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs

One more from me and then we will turn over to group. You know thinking about expense management that it needs to be an important topic for the custody banks given the rate environment. You’ve through the program, you’ve performed better than expected, everything is in the run-rate. You’ve highlighted the fact that there is opportunities to do more but at the same time your investment for growth and also as you pointed out there is as we talked about it before there is a lot of (indiscernible) clients and regulatory requirements they just feel like you need it once more [ph]. So again when you kind of look at the business holistically how should we think about the trajectory for expense growth for the year and I don’t know if you think about it in absolute basis or as an operating leverage but maybe helping us frame that.

Gerald Hassell

We have said before and it's part of our goals and you know if we get a 4% - 5% revenue growth range we should be able to produce positive operating leverage in spite of those headwinds and in spite of, or on top of those investments not in spite of but on top of and that is still our goal and we would expect to do that. That’s what we challenge ourselves and our management teams to do which means priorities you know really trying to be very focused on the priorities that actually generate growth and still investing for the long term. We’re trying to balance short term earnings quarterly your expectations of us and what we see is truly long term trends, not so long term where I think we can have a very distinctive, very differentiated business model for the future and so we’re very cognitive and investing in those things and having great controls, great regulatory relations, good controls and meeting all the compliance standards around the world.

Trying to simplify some of what we do to be able to comply with those things and that’s one of our challenges and I do think this idea of a continuous improvement program rather than a process I should say rather than an individual program as part of the culture of the company now and that’s why Brian Shea and Suresh Kumar in particular are really working very, very extensively with the businesses to find under the covers all sorts of opportunities for productivity and efficiency.

In the past we have mostly relied on labor transfer to different locations around the world. Now we’re looking at reengineering and the analogy I would give you because sometimes I use sports analogies but I will give you a different one. Think of the car companies who constantly got more and more efficient on the production line but with use of labor. Now they have moved to robotics, we’re moving into the robotics stage where we’re taking the labor content out, we’re reducing the number of platforms. We’re bringing in the market much faster application and services and products and we’re doing it in an highly efficient, highly engineered fashion, that’s what we’re trying to do.

Todd Gibbons

Yeah I might add here Alex, so if you look at the rate at which we have been growing it's probably our core fee business, it's been growing at about 3% to 5% range and as we look forward everything that you just heard I think that we would probably expect to continue to be in that kind of range. NIR is a bit more challenged. We've been flat over the past year or two given the reduction in the Fed funds rate, given the reduction in the short-term LIBOR and there is certainly plenty of assets that reset on a short-term basis. We would expect in the you know going forward probably still to be flat. We have got a bit of increasing balance sheet that tends to grow with the increase in the servicing fees. But you know with the headwind with lower spreads we probably can’t do something with product [ph].

So if you put those together only 20% of our business is NRI, similar in a 2% to 4% type of growth range for the revenue and the lower end of that generating positive operating leverage with the additional cost that we have around compliance and risk management is going to be challenging and the higher end of that we think with some of the efficiencies that Gerald has alluded to we do see our infrastructure cost declining actually for the first time and we see some, we definitely see some additional opportunities. We have a big technology spend and we can send it smarter and better.

Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs

Okay we will open it up to the group now.

Unidentified Analyst

Given recent changes you’ve made in your securities portfolio and then assuming that your end state [ph] at the current levels but value of the curve starts to deepen. How do you expect the NIM to perform over the next 12 months and then assuming a more risk on environment, how should we think about the balance sheet and excess deposits?

Gerald Hassell

Okay in terms of the NIM as I was alluding to I think that it will probably contract a little bit not a whole bunch. I mean there is some opportunity as we maintain the duration it's about the level that we have it today, that we expect to reinvest it at bit higher rates but then again you have got the headwind of a lower LIBOR rate and a lower Fed funds effective. We have given some guidance back on the earnings date that we thought NII for the fourth quarter for example would be about flat with the second quarter. I think that's a little bit optimistic. I think we’re going to be a little bit lower than that because of the further declines in LIBOR in the fourth quarter. But I do believe going into next year we will be about flat if we stay in this kind of very weak economic, excuse me, interest rate environment. And in terms of the duration of the portfolio we probably have a little room to extend it but we're going to keep it pretty short in the kind of two year level because we just don't think it makes a lot of sense to take that kind of a risk at this point.

Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs

Great makes sense. Thank you both very much.

Gerald Hassell

Thanks very much everybody. Nice seeing everyone.

Copyright policy: All transcripts on this site are the copyright of Seeking Alpha. However, we view them as an important resource for bloggers and journalists, and are excited to contribute to the democratization of financial information on the Internet. (Until now investors have had to pay thousands of dollars in subscription fees for transcripts.) So our reproduction policy is as follows: You may quote up to 400 words of any transcript on the condition that you attribute the transcript to Seeking Alpha and either link to the original transcript or to All other use is prohibited.


If you have any additional questions about our online transcripts, please contact us at: Thank you!