State Street Corp (NYSE:STT) Q2 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Jul 19, 2019 • 10:00 am ET
Ronald P. O'Hanley
dividend by 11% in the third quarter while conducting $2 billion of share repurchases through the second quarter of 2020, as our proactive balance sheet actions in 2018 contributed to our ability to return an increased level of capital to shareholders.
We continue to believe our front-to-back strategy positions us well for success in the medium and long-term. And while we may currently be seeing some stabilization and servicing fees, we have not yet returned to growth. As such, we will be updating and sharpening our core business strategy as well as conducting a fundamental reassessment of our technology ecosystem.
We have established teams to focus on reinvigorating revenue growth, accelerating the simplification of our operations model and reducing non-personnel expenses. At the same time, we continue to act with urgency on the things we can't control while fostering a culture of execution and productivity, with reinvigorated attention to delivering industry-leading client service. I believe we are making progress in these areas, for example.
Disciplined expense management continues to be one of my top priorities. The firm-wide hiring freeze for all non-critical roles outside of CRD has been very effective. Year-to-date, we have already reduced high cost location headcount by more than 1,800 staff, and expect that as a result of our actions we can increase that number to 2,300 by year-end.
Process automation efforts are in full gear allowing us to decrease headcount while delivering even better service and outcomes for our clients. Furthermore, the year-to-date, the $350 million expense savings program we announced in January 2019 has already achieved just over $175 million in total year-over-year savings, and we are now increasing our targeted expense saves under the program by an additional $50 million to $400 million for 2019.
Our focus right now is finding better ways to reignite revenue growth and generate additional expense reductions, while driving sustainable improvements in our operating model. This means addressing and surmounting the wave of asset manager pricing pressure completing our executive client coverage roll-out using the increased capacity we have achieved for balance sheet optimization to restart growth and securities lending and trading, and leading in alternatives and ETF servicing, where we are second to none.
Our vision remains becoming the leading asset servicer, asset manager and data insight provider to the owners and managers for the world's capital. I am confident we are strategically aligning the organization with the fastest growing and most attractive client segments, but we must continue to find ways to better serve these and all of our clients in a more holistic and scalable way.
We have to continue to innovate them by doing so grow more diversified revenue streams. We must continue to reduce complexity across our operating model through increased automation and by simplifying our technology stack while re-engineering our client in organizational processes in order to drive efficiencies while delivering industry-leading client service. There are a number of areas we are examining, such as leveraging our IT partners to create better technology