FP STREET “(CANADA) The country’s second largest bank,TD, by market capitalization, has paid Mr. Clinton a total of US$1.8-million for 10 speeches since his return to private life

“(CANADA) The country’s second largest bank, by market capitalization, has paid Mr. Clinton a total of US$1.8-million for 10 speeches since his return to private life, according to figures compiled by the Washington Post, based on public filings by the Clintons.”How TD Bank (CANADA) is linking up with Bill Clinton to win over the U.S. market (fact checked) The country’s second largest bank, by market capitalization, has paid Mr. Clinton a total of US$1.8-million for 10 speeches since his return to private life, according to figures compiled by the Washington Post, based on public filings by the Clintons.Since he left office in 2001, the former president has been amassing millions on the global speaking circuit, but among financial institutions, his single biggest client has been Canada’s own TD.

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How TD Bank (CANADA) is linking up with Bill Clinton to win over the U.S. market (fact checked)

Barbara Shecter | July 23, 2014 6:30 AM ET
More from Barbara Shecter | @BatPost

In the fiercely competitive U.S. banking business, Toronto-Dominion Bank, with its increasing focus on the stateside market, has found a unique way to stand out — marrying its brand to a powerful American symbol of prosperity, approachability, and pure Southern charisma. Bill Clinton.

Since he left office in 2001, the former president has been amassing millions on the global speaking circuit, but among financial institutions, his single biggest client has been Canada’s own TD.

The country’s second largest bank, by market capitalization, has paid Mr. Clinton a total of US$1.8-million for 10 speeches since his return to private life, according to figures compiled by the Washington Post, based on public filings by the Clintons.

Mark T. Williams, a lecturer at Boston University’s School of Management who has written about the Canadian banking system, says it’s not surprising that TD would look to link itself with Mr. Clinton.

“They market themselves in the United States as a bank ‘for the people,’ and I think you could argue that Bill Clinton was the president for the people,” he said.

“TD knows its marketing plan. It gets its target market.”

And Mr. Clinton’s two terms as president coincided with a windfall of economic prosperity and one of the strongest bull markets in American history. His very presence could prompt TD’s clients to dream of returning to those heady days, Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Clinton’s speeches at TD events were “part of a broader, and ongoing, series of speaking engagements that TD sponsors as a part of our marketing strategy,” Crystal Jongeward, a spokeswoman for the bank, said in an emailed statement, in which she noted that other featured speakers have included U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

Mr. Clinton can command up to $250,000 for individual speaking engagements, a top fee that is clearly undiminished even by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal that marred his presidency, Mr. Williams said.

“In the long-term, it would appear it wasn’t damaging,” he said.

“People want to be around him.”

Hiring Mr. Clinton also allows TD to showcase its own success as the bank has expanded its franchise in the United States. After all, the nearly 1,300 TD bank branches that dot the eastern United States now outnumber the number of its branches in Canada.

Paying the former world leader to speak multiple times at bank events demonstrates “they’re willing to spend that kind of money. They’re spending like Wall Street banks,” Mr. Williams said.

In addition to its retail banking network, which is touted in the United States as “America’s Most Convenient Bank” with longer hours and a more comfortable customer experience, the TD also owns a large stake in popular online broker TD Ameritrade, based in Omaha, Nebraska.

But an association with Mr. Clinton offers deep-pocketed clients more than just his trademark charm and a spirit of optimism: He is a man with connections. Just as companies put high-profile former politicians and other influential bigwigs on their boards, banks could use a favoured-speaker relationship like this to get access to Mr. Clinton and his inner circle, says Charles Calomiris, a professor of financial institutions at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

“All businesses operating [in] the U.S., especially banks, need information, influence and favours,” says Mr. Calomiris.

Most of Mr. Clinton’s speeches for TD were delivered in Canada, according to Ms. Jongeward. But Mr. Calomiris said the payments to Mr. Clinton are more telling than wherever the speeches took place.

“I’m not sure it would matter if those speeches had taken place in Clinton’s bathtub,” Mr. Calomiris said. “What matters is that they paid him.”

He said that forking over “big bucks” for such speakers in hopes of gaining insights or influence has become part of the cost of doing business in the U.S.

“Politicians and regulators know how the political and regulatory system thinks and works. Businesses need to deal with these risks and costs,” Mr. Calomiris said.

Many of the TD-sponsored events at which Mr. Clinton spoke were private affairs, and Ms. Jongeward declined to give details about the topic of his speeches or who was in the audience. But she did elaborate on one event — a ritzy Toronto affair that attracted an audience of 6,000, who, according to media reports at the time, paid between $200 and $2,500 each for tickets.

 

HandoutIn addition to its retail banking network, which is touted in the United States as “America’s Most Convenient Bank” with longer hours and a more comfortable customer experience, the TD also owns a large stake in popular online broker TD Ameritrade, based in Omaha, Nebraska.

The evening featured a discussion between Mr. Clinton and another former U.S. president, George W. Bush, and was moderated by Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States who is also the deputy chair of TD Bank.

“TD deputy chair Frank McKenna was asked by the event organizers to moderate the discussion,” Ms. Jongeward said, “given that he was a former Ambassador to the U.S. and also knew both Presidents.”

Mr. McKenna, whose high-profile career includes a decade as premier of New Brunswick, has been tapping Mr. Clinton to speak at affairs he is affiliated with outside the bank since at least 2004.

For example, Mr. Clinton spoke twice, in 2004 and again in 2006, at an exclusive annual networking event Mr. McKenna hosts at Nova Scotia’s luxury Fox Harb’r Golf Resort and Spa, owned by Tim Hortons magnate Ron Joyce. In past years, guests at the event in the secluded resort — which features its own private airstrip — rubbed shoulders with former British prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair, as well as former U.S. senator and vice-presidential candidate John Edwards.

Mr. Clinton made another appearance in Mr. McKenna’s orbit in 2011, as the keynote speaker at the opening of the Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership at St. Francis Xavier University.

Despite Mr. Clinton’s obvious connection to Mr. McKenna, the former leader of the free world has a line up of financial institutions eager to rent his potent appeal, according to the Washington Post analysis.

Goldman Sachs, for example, paid $1.3-million to have Mr. Clinton speak at eight events, including client meetings in Paris and at a South Carolina beach resort.

Mr. Clinton’s popularity on the worldwide speakers circuit has earned him a shade over US$100-million, according to the Washington Post. The benefactors of his 542 speeches have included non-profit organizations and private companies from across a variety of industries, with financial-services firms topping the list as Mr. Clinton’s most frequent sponsor.

#Bill Clinton paid millions by banks#Clinton helps Wall Street#Clinton replaced glass-Steagall#Wall Sreet banks hired Clinton for 102 speeches

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