U.S. Growth to Help Lift Canada From Commodity Rout, TD Says

  • CEO calls on regulators to craft rules for fintech firms
  • Masrani `not staying up nights' looking for fintech deals

U.S. growth will help Canada regain its economic footing following a rout in commodity prices, Toronto-Dominion Bank Chief Executive Officer Bharat Masrani said.

“Canada’s core economic challenge stems largely from a collapse in global commodity prices," Masrani said Thursday in a speech at the bank’s annual investors meeting in Montreal. “It’s causing a lot of pain in many parts of the country -- but we have been through tough times like this before.”

The pace of recovery globally from the great recession has been “slow and uneven" due to the lingering effect of the financial crisis, Masrani said. Uncertainty over the level of growth in the Chinese economy, dropping oil prices and geopolitical tensions have made matters worse, causing volatile markets and anxious investors.

“Yet fundamentals in the U.S. suggest the world’s largest economy continues to expand, albeit gradually," Masrani said. “This should provide a positive boost to Canada, partially offsetting the drag from low energy prices."

Fintech Rules

Masrani also reiterated concerns about a lack of rules for financial technology firms, and called on policy makers to consider regulations to protect customers and the integrity of the financial system. The need is more evident due to security breaches, service interruptions and solvency issues that have “plagued" a number of fintech firms, he said.

“Customers need to feel that they’re dealing with a safe and a sound organization that’s going to look after their own personal financial data," he said in a meeting with reporters after the speech.

Still, Toronto-Dominion has collaborated with fintech firms and would consider more partnerships, Masrani said. While he didn’t rule out fintech takeovers, he said it wasn’t a priority.

“My shareholders would expect us to look at any proposition seriously and we would,” he said. “But let’s put it this way: I’m not staying up nights looking for an acquisition in the fintech space."

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