Is Bank of Nova Scotia the Missing Piece of Your Portfolio?

Because of its international exposure to Latin America and its highly lucrative dividend, I believe investors should buy Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS).

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Banks have many investors concerned because of oil prices here in Canada. This has resulted in many investors’ favourite companies dropping in value, even though the fundamentals of those companies are sound.

One company that I believe investors may be missing out on is Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS). Unlike its peers, Bank of Nova Scotia is an internationally diversified bank that I believe will generate significant revenue over the coming years as the other economies it touches grow. Specifically, I am talking about its holdings in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile.

The reason investors second guess Bank of Nova Scotia is because these countries worry them. Buying a bank with a heavy reliance on Canada is predictable because the economy is relatively predictable. However, in Latin America, these economies are growing and are consistently experiencing hiccups along the way. But when these economies do finally get situated, Bank of Nova Scotia will be in a prime position to benefit from these countries.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Canadian revenue becomes a minority for the company. Consider the fact that Mexico has 122 million people, while Canada only has 35 million. There’s just more people in the Latin American countries.

The good thing for investors is that revenue is growing. Its international commercial loan growth grew by 11% year over year in Q1 2015. And its residential loan growth expanded by 13% during the same time. The reality is, the company is in an incredible position to achieve significant growth over the coming years.

That doesn’t mean that its Canadian operations are weak. Its assets under management have increased by 13% and it had a 3% increase in loans year over year.

This brings us back to oil: is the company impacted by low oil prices? Approximately 3.4%, or $15.8 billion of its total loan book, is exposed to oil and gas. Could they all default? It’s certainly possible, but highly unlikely. Therefore, if the company takes a hit, it’ll be a small one and relatively insignificant when compared to the potential growth the company can achieve.

Is it time to buy?

I believe the company is fairly valued for investors looking to acquire shares. Unlike some of the other banks, I view this company as a growth stock because it is investing so much in Latin America.

It might experience turbulence along the way, but investors can rest easy knowing that they are receiving a lucrative dividend while waiting for the stock price to increase. After reporting its Q3 results, the company raised its quarterly dividend. It now pays $0.70 per quarter, which comes out to a 4.7% yield.

Fundamentally, if you believe that Latin America is going to continue growing, you should buy Bank of Nova Scotia. The dividend is lucrative and its current valuation is an absolute steal. This stock is absolutely the missing piece for many investors’ portfolios.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Jacob Donnelly has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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