* Says growth opportunities are emerging
* Warns of over-regulation of financial sector
By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO, Nov 2 The head of Bank of Nova Scotia
(BNS.TO) said on Monday that growth opportunities were emerging
for Canada's third largest bank, but warned that regulatory
uncertainty was a huge risk to global growth.
Scotiabank Chief Executive Rick Waugh said his bank -- like
other Canadian lenders -- emerged from the global financial
crisis in relatively good shape, and was now looking for growth
opportunities as rivals are recovering.
"We do have opportunities to grow, so that (our risk)
committee is not just there to say no, it's to make sure that
our risk appetite and the amount of risk that we take is sound
and profitable -- and we are looking to grow," Waugh told
reporters following a speech on regulatory reform in Toronto.
Scotiabank is the most international of Canada's big five
banks, with operations in much of Latin America, the Caribbean
and parts of Asia. It has said it is looking for acquisition
opportunities that fit its strategy of starting small in
emerging markets and growing into a big local presence.
But Waugh, who served as co-chair of the Institute of
International Finance's (IIF) best-practices committee, said
there are worrying regulatory trends that risk doing too much
too fast in response to the financial crisis.
"Right now, there are some disturbing suggestions being put
forward in a number of international jurisdictions on how to
structure and regulate the global financial sector to prevent
further crisis," Waugh said in his speech to the Canadian
He warned proposals must be considered with care.
"We must not try to fix things too quickly, or go too far
and risk the probability of unintended consequences in
restoring economic growth and financial stability."
Waugh argued that the Canadian financial system can be
improved but is not broken -- suggesting that he, like many
Canadian executives, is worried that overzealous regulators may
force changes even in countries that weathered the crisis
"We also have to recognize for the next few years one of
the most significant threats to economic growth is the
uncertainty of regulatory reforms in some of the major markets
in the world," Waugh told reporters.
In his speech, Waugh said big and small financial
institutions alike must be allowed to fail, but in an "orderly
and controlled" way.
(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; editing by Rob Wilson)