State Street Corp.’s new top executive said that he expects the company will double its non-U.S. revenue over the next five years as large trust banks continue to eye opportunities overseas as domestic markets slowly recover.
“Inherently, we see greater growth potential outside of the United States,” said Joseph L. Hooley, the Boston company’s chief operating officer, who will become its chief executive officer on March 1 when Ronald E. Logue, its chairman and chief executive officer, retires.
Logue has said for the past three years that he wants the company to be able to generate 50% of its revenue from non-U.S. operations. In an interview Wednesday with both men, Hooley said that goal is attainable within the next five years.
“From a macro level, we are bullish about growth outside of the United States,” Hooley said. “Asia, the emerging markets and Europe have great growth prospects. The prospects are really phenomenal in Asia because of higher GDP growth and the development of the retirement and wealth management businesses make it really attractive to State Street.”
State Street isn’t alone. Other large custody banks, including State Street’s biggest competitor Bank of New York Mellon Corp., have made international expansion a top priority. Executives at BNY Mellon said during its earnings conference call Tuesday that half of its revenue is being generated overseas.
Analysts said custody banks are trying to be opportunistic while still preserving capital. One analyst said he expects BNY Mellon to remain the most acquisitive because its CEO, Robert Kelly, was hired by the company to expand aggressively with acquisitions. BNY Mellon announced two deals in the fourth quarter to expand internationally.
Currently, 38% of State Street’s business is generated from international operations. In the fourth quarter, it announced two overseas acquisitions. In December, it announced it reached an agreement with Intesa Sanpaolo, a Milan banking company, to buy its securities services business for $1.87 billion in cash.
Earlier last month, it announced it agreed to acquire a European fund administrator, Mourant International Finance Administration that is based in Jersey in the Channel Islands to expand its alternative servicing capabilities. That deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter, will add $170 billion in assets under administration to State Street and approximately 650 employees in Dublin, Singapore and New York.
The outgoing CEO, Logue, said in the interview that the acquisition of Intesa is “Deutsche-like,” harkening back to State Street’s acquisition of Deutsche’s record-keeping and securities-lending business in 2003. When the Intesa acquisition is completed early this year, State Street will be able to immediately begin cross-selling its products and services to Intesa’s customers. State Street plans to continue to expand organically overseas, Logue said. That way, the company can gather the necessary capital to make another acquisition when the time is right. “We want to be in a position that when the next opportunity arises we can act with diminishing our capital base,” he said.
Meanwhile, incoming CEO, Hooley said: “Whether it happens in the next 12 months or the next three to five years, we expect more consolidation in the asset management and asset servicing businesses. We think that we have a clear view of what the faster growing markets and product segments are. We have a clear bias to acquire in Europe and Asia. Given a choice, we want to be an acquirer.”
While the company’s expansion strategy for this year remains “geographically tilted outside the United States,” Hooley said. And, the company is continuing to look for ways to develop its domestic products and services. State Street plans to increase outsourcing of asset servicing to middle offices, he said, as it develop its quantitative investment strategies and its lineup of exchange-traded funds.
In the fourth quarter, the company’s assets under management increased 32% to $1.91 billion from a year earlier and 10% from the previous quarter.
Hooley said during its quarterly earnings call on Wednesday that it continues to see strong growth in its exchange-traded fund business. State Street trails only BlackRock Inc. as the largest provider of ETFs nationally. (BlackRock bought Barclays’ ETF business last year.) Global ETF assets hit the $1 trillion mark at the end of December—a milestone long expected by industry insiders.
As confidence returning to actively managed investments this year Hooley expects assets will increase on that side of the business.
And, as Logue prepares to retire in March, he believes he has proved that he was able to maintain State Street as a consistent performer during his tenure as chairman and CEO. “I think we were able, despite difficult times, to continue to deliver relatively consistently,” Logue said. “Despite the relative turmoil, we emerged in excellent shape with a battle-tested management team and a core business that remains strong.”