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Bank and insurer dividend hikes, share buybacks won’t return during lockdown: OSFI

January 11, 2021   by The Canadian Press

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TORONTO – The superintendent of one of Canada’s financial regulators won’t consider allowing banks and insurers to hike dividends, offer share buybacks or increase executive compensation until COVID-19 lockdowns have subsided.

Jeremy Rudin from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions says he won’t permit any of those measures until Canada has more clarity around its path out of economic uncertainty.

OSFI banned dividend increases, share buybacks and executive compensation hikes at the onset of the pandemic to ensure Canada’s financial institutions have economic stability, capital and liquidity.

After major banks and insurers posted a profit in their most recent quarters, analysts and investors have begun questioning whether it is time to loosen the rules.

Rudin’s remarks were made at Royal Bank of Canada’s Canadian Bank CEO Conference, which was held virtually.

Bank of Montreal chief executive Darryl White said at the conference that he is “sympathetic” to a longer period of restrictions, but will be ready to contend with policy changes whenever they arrive.


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