The Bank’s strong performance in 2003 reflects Ed Clark’s
I am pleased and honoured to report on behalf of the Board of Directors for the first time as Chairman of the Board. The shareholders of TD Bank Financial Group deserve and indeed are represented by an engaged, discerning Board who are committed to candid discussions about the business of the Bank. This past year was marked by several such discussions as we worked with Ed Clark and his team on successfully repositioning the Bank after a difficult year in 2002.
On an ongoing basis, your Board advises and supports the management team on strategic issues, financial reporting, management resources, risk management and governance issues. It is an honour to work with such distinguished directors and I look forward to continuing to represent shareholders in 2004.
2003: A year of solid performance
The Board is delighted with Ed’s appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer. Ed has demonstrated tremendous leadership over the past year and is committed to clear and open communication with all of the Bank’s stakeholders.
The Board is confident that the management team is making a positive difference and delivering shareholder value. The market also recognized this performance, with a steady increase in our share price this year.
Based on the Bank’s results, the Board elected to increase the dividend consistent with the change in business mix, lower risk profile and increased earnings certainty. In the third quarter, the Board approved a four cent increase in the quarterly dividend, a sign of confidence in TDBFG’s earnings power.
A commitment to leadership in corporate governance
While the Board is focused on maximizing shareholder value and ensuring the management team has the right strategies to grow the business, we are also committed to good corporate governance. The Board acts as the voice of the shareholder and ensures that management is held accountable.
The continued strenghtening of our strong corporate governance principles is fundamental to my role as Chairman of the Board. As a shareholder myself, I recognize the importance of this subject to TDBFG’s shareholders and would like to reiterate the Board’s commitment to ongoing reviews of our corporate governance principles and practices.
Our approach to corporate governance is founded on several cornerstones:
After a review of our practices in 2003, we implemented a number of enhancements to our corporate governance practices and policies including:
The Board will maintain a watchful eye on governance developments as the regulatory and business climates continue to evolve, and adapt measures as appropriate to ensure that we continue to build on our history of leadership in corporate governance.
We are committed to ensuring that investors are represented by a strong independent Board and equally committed to regularly communicating refinements to our corporate governance policies and practices. I invite you to visit the corporate governance section of our web site at www.td.com/governance for the latest information on our corporate governance practices.
A word of thanks
I would like to recognize the service of our directors, some of whom will be retiring this year.
Finally, on behalf of the Board, I would again like to thank Ed, his outstanding management team and dedicated employees for their continued hard work.
John M. Thompson