Scotiabank hikes dividend amid solid earnings as international banking focus pays off

TORONTO — The Bank of Nova Scotia raised its dividend Tuesday as it reported better-than-expected adjusted profit of roughly $2.275 billion for its first quarter, with strong earnings internationally as well as at home.Scotiabank increased its quarterly payment to common shareholders by three cents per share to 82 cents per share, the third of the big Canadian banks to do so this quarter after CIBC and Royal Bank.On an adjusted basis, Canada’s third-largest lender reported $1.87 earnings per diluted share, up from to $1.58 per diluted share a year ago and higher than the $1.68 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.Wealth-hungry Scotiabank to buy investment manager Jarislowsky Fraser for $950MCanadian banks raise prime lending rate to 3.45% in wake of Bank of Canada hikeA year earlier, Scotiabank’s adjusted profit attributable to shareholders was $1.946 billion or $1.58 per diluted share.“All of our businesses delivered strong results, contributing to solid top line growth and a continued improvement in efficiency…. We are pleased with our strong start to the year,” said Brian Porter, Scotiabank’s president and chief executive, in a statement.The lender’s Canadian banking division reported net income attributable to shareholders of $1.1 billion, up 12 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier.Scotiabank’s Canadian residential mortgage portfolio was $208 billion, up roughly 6.7 per cent from $195 billion a year earlier. For comparison, the bank saw 2.6 per cent growth in its domestic residential mortgage portfolio in the fiscal first quarter of 2017, up from $190 billion in the first quarter of 2016.The Canadian banks’ mortgage portfolios are being closely watched for any impact from new stiffer rules for uninsured mortgages introduced on Jan. 1. The revised underwriting guidelines require would-be homebuyers with a 20 per cent down payment or larger to prove they can continue to make their mortgage payments if interest rates rise. Banking executives have signalled that these new rules could act as a headwind to the business. CIBC and RBC executives said last week that it is too early to tell what impact the new rules have had thus far.Meanwhile, earnings attributable to shareholders in Scotiabank’s international banking division was up 16 per cent year-over-year to $667 million, as Scotiabank continues to focus its expansion efforts on the Pacific Alliance countries of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.“The strong momentum in our business was driven by double-digit growth in loans in the Pacific Alliance countries, positive operating leverage and good credit quality,” Porter said in a statement.Its global banking and markets division, however, reported net income attributable to shareholders of $454 million, marking a decrease of $15 million or three per cent from the same period a year earlier.The bank’s common equity tier 1 ratio (CET1), a key measure of financial health, was 11.2 per cent, down from 11.3 per cent a year ago and 11.5 per cent in the previous quarter.Scotiabank’s provisions for credit losses, or money set aside for bad loans, dropped slightly in the latest quarter to $544 million, compared with $553 million a year earlier. However, this quarter was the first to reflect a new accounting standard, known as IFRS 9. The new standards puts a greater emphasis on a banks’ expected losses over the life of the loan, and in turn, introduces more volatility to the measure. read more

Annan appoints veteran management official to head UN Office of Project Services

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today announced the appointment of the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Director of the Bureau of Management, Jan Mattson, to head the UN Office of Project Services, the self-financing unit which provides operational management services worldwide.Both positions are at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. He takes up his new responsibilities on 12 June.As Director of UNDP’s Bureau of Management, Mr. Mattson has been a leader of change management and reform. He also played a leadership role in the High-Level Committee on Management and in the UN Development Group’s Management Group.During his 23-year career in the UN system, Mr. Mattsson also served in various functions in Sri Lanka, India, China and Lao People’s Democratic Republic. He holds a doctorate in engineering and before joining the United Nations system worked as a university lecturer and a management consultant. read more

SIUEdwardsville gets first win 8068 over Incarnate Word

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Tyresse Williford scored 20 points, David McFarland added 12, including a go-ahead 3-pointer, and SIU-Edwardsville rallied to beat Incarnate Word 80-68 on Sunday for its first win of the season.McFarland broke a 33-all tie with a 3-pointer and the Cougars led 58-45 after Jaylen McCoy’s layup and 3-pointer with 9:38 to play after shooting 75 per cent from the field to that point in the second half. Christian Peevy’s 3-point play cut the lead to 11 with 7:59 to play, but the Cardinals got no closer.Anselm Uzuegbunem scored 12 and Brandon Jackson and McCoy had 10 apiece for the Cougars (1-3), who shot 49 per cent to the Cardinals’ 46 per cent and trailed 27-26 at halftime.Peevy scored a career-high 32 points and made 14 of 15 free throws for the Cardinals (4-5), who made 23 of 25 from the line. Morgan Taylor and Antoine Smith Jr. scored 11 apiece and Augustine Ene had 10.The Associated Press read more

Body found in search for missing journalist Florence Waters

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A body believed to be that of missing journalist Florence Waters has been found in Oxfordshire, Thames Valley Police has said.The 33-year-old’s body was found on land near Oxford Road, Thame, on Thursday evening.Ms Waters’ next of kin have been informed and her death is not being believed to be suspicious, police said.Ms Waters worked as a regular freelance contributor for the arts pages of The Daily Telegraph and was previously online arts editor.Ms Waters’ artwork is advertised for sale on the Saatchi and Saatchi website. She was last seen on Monday, when she was reported missing from her home in Oxford. read more