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Rick Waugh, president and CEO of Scotiabank, chats with a shareholder at the bank's annual meeting in Halifax on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
Rick Waugh, president and CEO of Scotiabank, chats with a shareholder at the bank's annual meeting in Halifax on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

Rick Waugh: Scotiabank's acquisitive CEO Add to ...

If you’re asked to name a Canadian bank that is open to acquisitions, you’re probably inclined to rattle off names like Toronto-Dominion Bank or Bank of Montreal because their major U.S. acquisitions stick out. TD's acquired BankNorth and Commerce Bancorp, and BMO just recently scooped up Marshall & Ilsley Corp.

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Bank of Nova Scotia is often overlooked. Everyone knows about its Latin American expansion strategy, but no one seems to give it much thought because most of the region's deals are small. There have been some exceptions, such as Scotia’s purchase of a 51 per cent stake in Colombia’s Banco Colpatria on Thursday, but for the most part, the deals seem inconsequential.

Well it turns out that if you add them together, they amount to a big chunk of change. Scotia has now struck 22 international acquisitions over the last five years, which when combined, total $5.2-billion, according to the bank.

To put that in perspective, BMO bought Marshall & Ilsley Corp. for $4.1-billion, TD bought Commerce Bancorp Inc. for $8.5-billion (U.S.) and RBC bought Centura Banks Inc. for $3.5-billion (Canadian) in 2001. Although Scotia doesn't have a major deal in Latin America during chief executive officer Rick Waugh’s tenure, its string of acquisitions amount to the equivalent of one.

And the current CEO hasn’t stopped there. If you add in his domestic deals, such as the $2.6-billion he paid for all of DundeeWealth and the $2.3-billion he paid for a 37 per cent stake in CI Financial, his acquisitions over the past five years total $10.4-billion.

These deals may not be super sexy on their own, but combined, the prove that Mr. Waugh has left his footprint.

Follow on Twitter: @timkiladze

 
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