Bank of Montreal BMO
Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/26/2013

Operator: Good afternoon and welcome to the BMO Financial Group's Q1 2013 Earnings Release and Conference Call for February 26, 2013.Your host for today is Ms. Sharon Haward-Laird, Head of Investor Relations. Ms. Sharon Haward-Laird, please go ahead.

Sharon Haward-Laird - Head, IR: Thank you, Operator. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you 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. To give everyone an opportunity to participate, I would ask that you please keep it to one or two questions and then re-queue.

Also with us this afternoon to take questions are BMO's business unit heads; Tom Milroy from BMO Capital Markets; Gill Ouellette from the Private Client Group; Frank Techar, Head of P&C Canada; and Mark Furlong Head of P&C U.S.

On behalf of those speaking today, I note that 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 these statements. Information about material factors that could cause results to differ and the material assumptions underlying these forward-looking statements can be found in our Annual MD&A and in our first quarter report to shareholders.

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

William Downe - President and CEO, BMO Financial Group: Thank you, Sharon and good afternoon everyone. BMO had strong first quarter results. Our focus on customers, efficiency and prudently risk management continues to service well. This is reflected in the financial performance underpinned by good operating group performance and also in the progress we've made in advancing our strategic agenda.

Reported net income was C$1 billion, or a dollar C$1.53 per share. On an adjusted basis net income was also C$1 billion, a C$1.52 per share, 7% ahead of last year. Revenues increased to C$3.9 billion and ROE was 14.8%.

Progress was particularly evident in our U.S. businesses, Personal and Commercial Banking U.S. had very good adjusted earnings and loan growth in the quarter. We focused our collective efforts on growing BMO's customer base and capturing opportunities in our redefined home market. We've been highly visible in the Midwest increasing our advertising support post integration.

Wealth Management and Capital Markets businesses in U.S. also had good quarters. We're seeing the benefits of disciplined expense management as we continue to focus on efficiencies to find ways to deliver superior service to our customers and to drive performance across the Bank. Excluding cost related to employees eligible to retire booked in Q1, adjusted operating efficiency improved for the Bank and all the business groups quarter-over-quarter.

Core credit performance was good, provision for credit losses was down sequentially and relatively stable year-over-year. Our Basel III common equity Tier 1 ratio was 9.4%. We increased our quarterly dividend by 3% to $0.74 a share, reflecting our strong capital position and the success of our business strategies.

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