Brian Porter Speech - June 11, 2019

An address by Brian Porter, President and Chief Executive Officer, presented to the Americas Society, New York, NY.

Good evening, distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen. Let me begin by thanking you, Salvador.

It has been a real pleasure to get to know you, your wife, Patricia, and the other members of the Said family, many of whom have made a special trip to be here. Your contributions across Chile, and throughout Latin America more broadly, are immense. Thank you for being here this evening, and for the kind introduction.  

I also wanted to extend my sincere thanks to Susan, and to the Americas Society, for bestowing this tremendous honour upon me.

To find myself in the company of people such as David Rockefeller; Jamie Dimon; a fellow Canadian, the late, great Peter Munk; and now Secretary-General Luis Almagro and Gina Diez Barroso is deeply humbling.

Secretary-General, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for standing up against the evil regime in Venezuela.

Your courage is without precedent.

There can be no moral equivalency on the human tragedy taking place there, and you have shown none. The world owes you a debt of gratitude, and the people of Venezuela will not soon forget your leadership.

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight I am accepting this award on behalf the Bank of Nova Scotia and our nearly one hundred thousand employees… 50,000 plus of whom reside outside Canada.

Scotiabank is Canada’s International Bank.

We operate in more than 30 countries, however, our primary focus is on Canada, the United States and the countries that make up the Pacific Alliance Trading Bloc: Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia. Within the Bank, we like to say that we “Bank the Americas”, a region that spans from Canada’s Arctic all the way down to the tip of Patagonia, in Chile.

We are proud of our long history in those countries and we have been pleased to contribute to the communities there.


I have been a banker for more than 35 years.

It is a calling that I find tremendously rewarding.

At the Bank, we believe we are an important part of the economic and the social fabric of every country in which we operate… we take that responsibility seriously. 

For those of us living in Canada and the United States, it’s easy to forget that outside of our bubble, traditional banks are viewed widely as drivers of prosperity, enablers of economic transformation and partners in development.

Across Latin America, banking provides families with financial stability, home ownership and financing for important milestones.

At Scotiabank, we have been there to support our customers through good and challenging times.

We know all about commodity cycles, natural disasters, and the occasional trade dispute.

Prior to becoming CEO of Scotiabank, I had the opportunity to lead our International Bank. Both roles have given me a front row seat to witness the economic, social and cultural transformation taking place across the region. As many of you are aware, the transformation is real and it is significant.

At the Bank, we are tremendously proud of the supporting role we have played in Latin America’s remarkable transformation, including:…

  • the sound public policy we have promoted,
  • the jobs we have created,
  • the capital we have committed,
  • the innovation we have fostered,
  • the business in which we have invested,
  • the families and individuals we bank,
  • the communities we support,
  • and the long-term perspective we maintain.

The evidence clearly shows that people who have greater access to traditional banking services are more likely to start or expand a business.

They have greater independence and security.  And they are able to build upon their assets and save for the future.

Today, more than 30% of adults globally do not have access to a transactional Banking account… and in Latin America, that figure is more than 50%.

Those are not just statistics. Those are real people and real families who face real barriers to a successful future. We are committed to growing our presence across the Americas, to give more people in the region even more opportunities to provide a better life for themselves, and their families.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have been generous with your time and attention, so let me close with this:…

Scotiabank recently celebrated our 187th anniversary. We are, in fact, older than the country of Canada itself. If you trace the Bank’s history back to it’s earliest days, you can see how tied we are to Canada’s history.

And through the years, as we followed our customers to the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Colombia, and the Caribbean,you can see how we have become tied to the histories of those countries, and many, many others.

We have been there for founding moments and conflicts, for industrialization and times of innovation. And we are there to stay.

The Bank’s history has been woven into the fabric of these countries.

That is exactly what this award symbolizes for me, and for my colleagues.

Thank you, again, for this great honour, and for being here this evening.