With concerns about oil prices, a cooling Canadian economy, and what all of that means for people holding loans, banks have been a sector of the economy that some investors have been second guessing. Fortunately, I believe there is a way to gain exposure to the oil markets without also gaining exposure to all of the risks in Canada.
Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS) is the most international of the Canadian banks. The exposure to international markets is what protects it from the factors I described above. It has 21 million customers outside of Canada in Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean.
In fact, Latin America presents a great opportunity for the bank because of how dense the population is. In Colombia it is the fifth-largest bank. In Mexico it is the seventh-largest bank.
To understand how important this is, consider that Colombia has 48.3 million people with 44.04 people per square kilometre. In Canada, there are only 35.2 million people with 3.80 people per square kilometre. Even better, Mexico has a population of 59.79 million people with 59.79 people per square kilometre. It requires less infrastructure for Bank of Nova Scotia to support these people because one branch can handle more people.
Another country that is really driving growth for Bank of Nova Scotia is Chile, the most advanced economy in Latin America. Last year, Bank of Nova Scotia acquired 51% of Cencosud SA, which gave it access to Chile’s biggest retail bank. As the economy in Chile continues to develop, I expect this acquisition to pay dividends for Bank of Nova Scotia.
The good news for investors is that there is already some really serious growth taking place in its international markets. Net income grew by 10% in the second and third quarter year over year.
When compared to the revenue generated from its Canadian operations, the international market is growing. In the Q3 2014, the international banking division accounted for 21% of Bank of Nova Scotia’s bottom line. Fast forward a year to Q3 2015, and that has grown to 29%. I anticipate that this trend will continue for quite a few years, especially as the international economies develop further.
Diversity makes it a buy
Because of how the Canadian economy is going, investors are hesitant to pick up shares of companies that are dependent on a strong economy. That being said, I think Bank of Nova Scotia is an absolute buy for investors who need a little international exposure.
The good news for investors is that Bank of Nova Scotia has an incredibly attractive yield, making the stock even more attractive. At its present $0.70 per quarter, per share dividend, investors can expect to receive a yield of 4.64%.
There will be ups and downs because international economies tend to be a bit more volatile. However, if investors are looking for a quality dividend and exposure to multiple international markets, they might want to seriously consider buying shares of Bank of Nova Scotia.