State Street’s top executive says the Boston-based company wants to continue to “fortify the foundation” without losing sight of opportunities for further growth.
“I look back over the last couple of years, and in spite of what looks like a recovered market there is still a lot of instability,” Jay Hooley, State Street’s chief executive officer said in an interview on Tuesday. “We want to be sure our foundation is solid in terms of capital and risk management and make sure we have returned to basics in terms of our core asset servicing and asset management businesses, but also we want to be sure we are investing in enhancing our product capabilities. Our focus is really the whole package.”
In the first quarter, Hooley said he was pleased to be able reinstate dividends and approve a strategy to buyback shares that would enable State Street to return capital to shareholders.
“We want to be able acknowledge the past, fortify the foundation, and make sure shareholders feel good about their return, while we still drive revenue to our core business without losing sight of future opportunities,” he said.
State Street closed two acquisitions last year and a third in January, but Hooley said that doesn’t mean it isn’t considering more deals.
“We are always evaluating any number of things,” he said. “We aren’t going to make an acquisition just to make an acquisition. It has to fall into our strategic framework. We are optimally poised to be ready when the right thing comes along.”
That “right thing,” is most likely to occur internationally, Hooley said.
“Given the capital pressure on European banks, we continue to see opportunities for consolidation in Europe,” he said. “These opportunities are clear in asset servicing and there may be some less obvious opportunities in asset management. … The next tier of custodians is in Europe. Europe will be the hunting ground.”
Hooley’s predecessor Ronald Logue maintained a goal of generating half of State Street’s revenue internationally. Hooley said right now that ratio is “more like 60/40,” but the company is “still reaching for that 50/50 split.”
“We had some big customer deals in the U.S. in the past few years that caused that ratio to sit for a bit, but long-term trends favor non-U.S. markets,” he said. “Internally, we stated last year that we want to double our non-U.S. revenue over the next five years. We are on track to double by the end of 2015.”
State Street announced Tuesday that its first-quarter earnings declined, but adjusted earnings and revenue beat analyst estimates.
The Boston-based company reported that earnings fell 5.3% to $466 million, or 93 cents a share. Excluding items such as discount accretion related to former conduit securities, earnings rose to 88 cents from 75 cents and revenue increased 2.8% to $2.36 billion and was up 10% at $2.33 billion on an operating basis.
Analysts expected earnings of 86 cents on revenue of $2.29 billion.
Quarter-over-quarter, State Street’s assets under custody rose 5% to $22.6 trillion and its assets under management increased 5.5% to $2.1 trillion.
State Street’s leading rival in the custody space, Bank of New York Mellon, reported Teusday that its first quarter earnings rose to $99 million, or 55 cents a share, from $601 million, or 49 cents a share from a year earlier. The first quarter results beat analyst estimates by two cents.
BNY Mellon's assets under custody and administration rose 2% from the previous quarter to $25.5 trillion, and assets under management rose 5% to $1.2 trillion.
"We continued to grow revenue and earnings despite the challenging environment, and did so with a clean balance sheet," BNY Mellon Chief Executive Officer Robert Kelly said in a statement.