Key themes from Q4 2013 earnings calls
Earnings calls in Q4 2013 were characterized by a tone of cautious, yet growing, optimism. As Goldman Sachs CFO Harvey Schwartz said, “While we wouldn’t characterize the last two years as a normal cyclical environment ... it shouldn’t be lost on us that the long-term trend is slowly and steadily improving.”
In general, firms said they are well-positioned for growth in 2014. Executives indicated that now-familiar headwinds (including low rates, conduct-related issues and regulatory reform) have become more manageable and are now viewed primarily as ongoing challenges.
Channel strategies emerged as a new top 10 theme in the quarter. Banks are prioritizing investments in digital offerings and exploring new branch formats, hoping both to reduce costs and develop new revenue streams.
(For more information about top 10 themes in Q4 2013 earnings calls, see the chart.)
Q4 2013 earnings season: top 10 themes×
Note: Theme shaded in gold is new to the list this quarter; theme shaded in dark grey dropped out of the top 10.