SVB Financial Group (SIVB) Q1 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

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SVB Financial Group  (NASDAQ: SIVB)
Q1 2019 Earnings Call
April 25, 2019, 6:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Welcome to the SVB Financial Group Q1 2019 Earnings Call. My name is Aaron, and I will be your operator for today's call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) Please note that this conference is being recorded.

I will now turn the call over to Meghan O'Leary. Ms. O'Leary, you may begin.

Meghan O'Leary -- Investor Relation

Thank you, Aaron, and thank you everyone for joining us today. Our President and CEO, Greg Becker, and our CFO, Dan Beck are here to talk about our first quarter 2019 financial results, and will be joined by other members of management for the Q&A.

Our current earnings release is available on the Investor Relations section of our website at svb.com. We'll be making forward-looking statements during this call, and actual results may differ materially. We encourage you to review the disclaimer in our earnings release dealing with forward-looking information, which applies equally to statements made in this call.

In addition, some of our discussion may include references to non-GAAP financial measures. Information about those measures including reconciliation to GAAP measures may be found in our SEC filings and in our earnings release.

I'd also like to mention that beginning in July, we intend to change the format of our earnings calls, rather than reading our prepared remarks and then conducting Q&A. We will issue a short document with our commentary on the quarter in conjunction with the issuance of our earnings release, prior to our call. We ask that you review the document before the call begins, as we plan to start the Q&A immediately.

We hope this will make the timing of our call a little more manageable for you. Given that it occurs late in the day during what we know is a long couple of weeks to most of you.

And now, I'll turn the call over to Greg Becker.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Meghan, and thanks, everyone for joining us today. We had an excellent first quarter of 2019, continuing some of the key trends we saw in 2018. A strong venture capital and private equity environment driving substantial client liquidity and continued strength in our core business. Plus the added benefit of a positive shift in momentum in the public markets.

We delivered earnings per share of $5.44 and net income of $289 million. These results reflect healthy loan and deposit growth, continued stable credit quality, robust core fee income and strong gains from warrants and VC related investments. While the success of our interest bearing deposit initiatives put pressure on net interest income during the quarter, our liquidity and clients liquidity remains exceptionally strong.

We continued to perform well across the business and are seeing solid momentum in both client activity and our pipeline. Highlights for the first quarter included annualized growth of 14% in average loans, 9% in average total client funds, including healthy growth and interest bearing deposits. 20% core fee income growth excluding $64 million of revenue related to SVB Leerink. And as Dan will talk about in a minute, we are raising our core fee income outlook for the full year.

We also saw notable higher gains from VC-related investments and warrants of $50 million fueled by strong investment and exit activity and finally a return on equity of 22%. Our results speak to the continued health of our clients and the broader innovation industry and the most recent investment in fundraising numbers suggest that 2019 is starting off on a strong footing.

Venture capital investment maintain good momentum in first quarter of 2019 with $32.6 billion invested. The second best quarter in a decade, following a record 2018. Our VC fundraising slowed somewhat in the first quarter and it is expected to be strong in 2019 given the number of VC firms that are currently raising billion dollar plus funds and the expectation that we will follow suit resulting in a lot of money looking for investment.

Exit markets also showed healthy momentum. Although Q1 IPOs were off to a slow start due to the government shutdown. But the IPO pipeline has been filling up and large number of unicorns that have IPOed or preparing to go public is expected to create significant liquidity or limited partners to invest in coming years.

Our 10th annual start-up outlook, which we released in February, underscores the positive trends we're seeing in the markets. The majority of the nearly 1,400 start-up founders and executives we surveyed in the US, the UK, China and Canada, told us they expected even better conditions this year than last despite more pronounced geopolitical uncertainty and the ongoing challenge of finding and retaining top talent.

At SVB, we remain focused on execution, in particular, on our investments to scale our business and support our continued growth. We continue to make progress our investments in the five key areas we've discussed before. Creating a richer client experience including a robust digital platform, improving employee enablement through tools, systems and mobility, enhancing our risk management systems and processes to support our global growth, propelling business transformation through investment and process and systems, and driving growth across the business.

One significant investment was our recent purchase of Leerink Partners, now SVB Leerink, which closed in early first quarter. We believe SVB Leerink, a leading investment bank in the healthcare space will help deepen our healthcare client relationships by expanding the capabilities and capital options we can offer them throughout their life cycles. Our cross-team collaboration with SVB Leerink is off to a strong start.

Some of the highlights of the quarter included, SVB Leerink's eighth Annual Global Healthcare Conference, which brought together 1,300 attendees from public companies, institutional investors, and industry experts to examine trends shaping the future of healthcare. And the Inaugural SVB Leerink China Summit, a collaboration between SVB Leerink, Silicon Valley Bank, and our joint venture in China. Both of these events resulted in many new connections and referrals. But we're still in the early stages, we're excited about the momentum we're seeing across our commercial banking and investment banking teams.

Our commercial banking platform continues to do well and our investments there are contributing to strong growth and a high pace of activity over time. Commercial bank loan balances have grown by 18% year-over-year, with a particularly strong performances by private equity with 28% growth and Life Sciences with 30% growth. As you know, growth in commercial bank clients funds has been exceptional with total client funds increasing by 24% year-over-year.

Technology and Life Science client funds have grown at an even faster pace, due to the strong fundraising and exit environment clocking 28% year-over-year growth and surpassing the $100 billion mark in the first quarter. And of course core fee income has been strong across commercial bank platform with 34% growth year-over-year that's without fees from SVB Leerink.

On the international front, we continue to invest in order to drive expansion and growth. Earlier this month, we celebrated the opening of our Canada branch in Toronto. Moving forward, the team will be focused on meeting the needs of Canada's growing population of innovation economy entrepreneurs and investors, and leading our growth there.

Part of our investment in our business is ensuring that we continue to grow and innovate alongside our clients. This involves increasing our focus and resources on key areas of business, diversifying our services, bolstering our capabilities, and aligning our teams to better serve our clients at every stage of their growth.

To that end, during the quarter, and as recently as this week, we announced a number of important organizational changes. We appointed Phil Cox, as our Chief Operations Officer, replacing Mike Dreyer who retired on April 1st. Phil, led the launch of our UK branch six years ago, he has been instrumental in establishing SVBs leadership in the UK, Europe, and Israel. His experience in global operations and management and in meeting the challenge of SVBs rapid growth in Europe, makes him an ideal leader to support this next phase of our growth across the business.

We named Erin Platts, a 14-year SVB veteran to succeed Phil as Head of EMEA and President of our UK branch and oversee our continued expansion in the region. Erin was most recently Head of Relationship Banking in Europe and brings a deep understanding of our clients and their needs to her leadership of our EMEA operations.

We also appointed John China, SVB's former Head of Technology Banking as President of SVB Capital. John will lead the group, which has $4.5 billion under management in his next phase of growth and transformation. As part of his role, John will continue to be responsible for the business ecosystem at SVB Capital as part of including our early stage practice.

Finally, we named Dave Sabow, Head of Technology Banking in addition to Life Sciences and Healthcare Banking, bringing these businesses together under Dave, who has led our Life Science and Healthcare practice for the last five years will allow them to share best practices, more effectively, leverage their networks and better collaborate. We believe this move will enable us to move faster, remain even more competitive in a rapidly evolving market.

These developments, our positive results, the health of our clients in the markets and our continued strong execution on our priorities and goals all of these things make me optimistic about the current environment and our future. The global macro environment in the current rate outlook remain challenges. And competition continues to intensify not just from traditional sources, but for new entrants, raising the cost of winning and keeping clients.

The competition and rates and market cycles are all part of participating in the most vibrant segment in the economy. Competition also forces you to raise your game and that's what we'll continue to do. Well, there are many factors we can control. We have demonstrated our ability to execute and grow over the long-term under a variety of market conditions. Our long-term success is partly due to our focus on innovation and innovators. Our approach is helping our clients to succeed and our long experience in these markets.

But it's especially due to our unique culture and exceptional employees who view our clients' success as the best measure of their own success. These elements are at the heart of our business and they are very difficult to recreate. We believe our focused differentiation and strategy will enable us to continue to grow in 2019 and over the long-term. We forget about our 2019 outlook and believe our strong financial and capital position will give us flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions as necessary.

Thank you. And now I'll turn the call over to our CFO, Dan Beck.

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Greg, and good afternoon, everyone. We kicked off 2019 with the strong performance featuring continued profitable growth across all of our segments against the backdrop of positive market conditions.

Our growth story remains strong and our deposit initiatives are clearly succeeding. Although we lowered our net interest income outlook based on the impact of lower rate expectations on our securities portfolio and higher deposit costs. We also raised our fee income outlook and lowered our expense outlook. The net is that our expectations for 2019 overall financial performance have not changed. Now I'd like to talk about the quarter's results relative to Q4.

The quarter included the following highlights. First, continued strong loan growth. Second, good client liquidity with growth and deposits and off balance sheet client funds. Third, continued stable credit quality despite higher non-performing loans. Fourth, strong gains on warrant and investment securities. Fifth, outstanding core fee income, mostly from client investment fees and lending-related fees as well as positive results from our recent acquisition SVB Leerink which contributed approximately $0.11 earnings per share and was in line with our plans despite the government shutdown impacting the IPO market.

And finally, an increase in expenses related to SVB Leerink also in line with our expectations. Now I'll get into the details. Starting with the balance sheet. Average loans increased by $0.9 billion or 3.3% to $28.4 billion driven primarily by continued strong momentum and private equity capital call lines as well as growth in Life Sciences and our private bank. New lending commitments to our technology clients remained strong during the quarter, although the robust funding and liquidity environment remained a headwind technology banking loan growth.

Average total client funds grew by $3 billion or 2.2% to $137.1 billion reflecting continued strong off balance sheet fund growth as well as on balance sheet deposit growth. This growth in client funds overall was due to the healthy funding environment and exit activity Greg talked about. As well as our continued success client acquisition.

Our on balance sheet growth is driven by interest bearing deposits was the result of our initiatives to attract deposits on balance sheet as well as continuing trends of larger fundraising rounds and stronger client demand for interest bearing deposit accounts for their excess cash. Some of that growth momentum was offset by continued distributions for our private equity clients and slower growth in Asia. Average off balance sheet client investment funds increased by $2.4 billion or 2.8% to $87.4 billion.

Average deposits increased by $0.6 billion or 1.3% to $49.7 billion. On a period-end basis deposits increased by $3 billion or 6.1% to $52.3 billion. The strength of our interest bearing deposit growth coupled with lower average noninterest-bearing deposits drove an increase in our total cost of deposits this quarter from nine basis points to 23 basis points. Despite this increase our total cost of deposits remains at an industry leading low level.

We expect our deposit cost remained low compared to peers and believe our deposit strategy will enable us to drive continued strong profitable growth with organic liquidity. Turning to the income statement. Net interest income decreased by $1.6 million to $516 million, primarily due to two fewer days in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter.

The shorter quarter meant lower net interest income of approximately $9 million. In the first quarter, we benefited from the impact of higher rates on our loan and investment securities portfolio as well as from strong loan growth and higher interest earning federal reserve cash balances. These benefits were offset by higher deposit costs as well as by lower average balances in our securities portfolio due to portfolio cash flows and the sale of $1.2 billion of available for sale securities to fund loan growth and repay short-term borrowings.

Net interest margin increased by 12 basis points to 3.81%. This reflects the increase in loan yields and the repayment of our short-term borrowings partially offset by higher deposit costs. Now let's move onto credit quality, which remained stable, despite higher nonperforming loans.

Our provision for credit losses was $29 million compared to an exceptionally low $14 million in the fourth quarter. This amount primarily reflects new specific reserves of $24 million mostly attributable to two new non-performing loans and our Life Science and Healthcare portfolio which we do not believe are indicative of any trend. We also had additional reserves for period end loan growth offset partially by lower reserves for performing loan portfolio.

Since the end of the first quarter, our non-performing loan balances have decreased by $16.7 million due to the repayment of one large non-performing loan which also resulted in the recovery of $4.4 million in principal and $1.4 million of interest. This repayment and recovery will show up in our second quarter results. Net charge-offs were low at $7.6 million or 11 basis points compared to $13.9 million or 20 basis points in the fourth quarter.

Now, we'll turn to noninterest income. GAAP noninterest income was $280 million compared to $187 million in the prior quarter. This increase reflects strong gains on investment securities and warrants. Our first quarter of investment banking revenue and commissions from SVB Leerink and healthy growth in our core fee income lines.

Net gains on investment securities. Net of non-controlling interest were $26 million driven primarily by $15 million of valuation increases in our venture capital related fund investments and $10 million of gains from the sale of one investment in our public equity securities portfolio.

This also includes $2 million in gains from SVB Leerink investments. Equity warrant gains were strong at $21 million driven primarily by healthy valuation updates. I want to remind you, the gains and losses from our warrants and venture capital related investments are primarily unrealized and subject to a variety of factors, including market volatility, valuation fluctuations and sales restrictions such as lockups.

Moving onto core fees, core fee income excluding SVB Leerink increased by 5.6% to $154 million. The increase to our core fee income came primarily from strong performance and lending-related fees and credit card fees as well as higher client investment fees from higher rates and balances.

SVB Leerink core fee income totaled $64 million that excludes approximately $4 million in aggregate investment securities gains and other income and was composed of $50 million in investment banking revenues and $14 million in commissions. The $50 million in investment banking revenues included $36 million from public equity underwriting fees and $12 million from M&A transaction. These results were in line with our expectations and in spite of the shutdown of the IPO market in the first half of the quarter.

Now turning to expenses, non-interest expense was $366 million compared to $308 million in the fourth quarter. The increase reflects $61 million of additional expenses from SVB Leerink. Non-interest expense excluding the cost associated with SVB Leerink were slightly down by less than 1% primarily due to lower professional service fees.

Moving to capital. Our capital ratios remain strong. Risk-based capital ratios at the Holding Company decreased by approximately 64 basis points during the quarter due to the acquisition of SVB Leerink. Our bank one Tier 1 leverage ratio increased by 28 basis points to 8.38% and we will continue to feel good about the flexibility provided by our strong capital and liquidity positions.

Turning to our stock repurchase program. We repurchased $116 million of our common stock in the first quarter and have used $263 million of cash on hand since the beginning of the program to repurchase approximately $1.2 million shares of common stock at an average price of $219 per share. Now I'd like to discuss the details of our 2019 outlook, which remains positive overall.

As I mentioned at the start with a few upside and downward changes that result no net change to our overall financial expectations for 2019. We are lowering our outlook for full year net interest income growth from the high teens to the mid-teens. This change reflects two factors. First, is our expectation of lower market rates for investment securities purchases, given the flatter yield curve. Second, we expect higher deposit costs driven in part by lower non-interest bearing deposit balances coming out of Q1.

In addition, as a part of our deposit strategy, we're adding more interest bearing deposit products in order to meet our clients' needs, that strategy is succeeding. We are forecasting continued deposit growth in both non-interest and interest-bearing deposits for the rest of the year. However, as a result of these factors, we expect the majority of our full year average deposit growth will come from interest bearing accounts.

Also related to these trends, we are adjusting our net interest margin outlook down by 10 basis points to a range between 3.70% and 3.80%. On the plus side, we are increasing our outlook for core fee income growth from the high teens to the low '20s excluding SVB Leerink. With SVB Leerink, we expect core fee income growth in the low 70% range. This increase is driven primarily by stronger off balance sheet client fund balances and strong first quarter trends across other core fee categories.

Finally, in light of lower compensation related costs associated with lower net interest income expectation and lower expected expenses from professional services, we are decreasing our outlook for non-interest expense growth from the mid-teens to the low-teens excluding SVB Leerink.

In closing, we are pleased with our strong performance in the first quarter. And while there is impact from lower rates and our investment securities portfolio purchase expectations and higher deposit costs, our overall outlook and opportunities are still very much intact.

We continue to deliver strong ROE and profitability and we'll do what we need to do to retain clients and make the right decisions for our long-term growth. Our clients and their markets continue to thrive and we expect solid growth and stable credit in the year ahead even as we position ourselves for the potential lower rate in the near future.

Our capital and liquidity remain strong and give us ample flexibility to manage our growth. And as you can see our flexibility on expenses to adapt to changing conditions if necessary is real. Overall, we believe our outlook remains positive and we remain focused on execution on our investment and growth plans.

Thank you. And now I'll ask the operator to open the Q&A.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) And your first question comes from Kenneth Zerbe with Morgan Stanley. Ken, your line is open.

Kenneth Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Great, thanks. Good evening, guys.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Ken. How you doing?

Kenneth Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Doing well, thank you. I want to start off in terms of looking at the deposit flows. Specifically, I guess the relation between non-interest bearing and the interest bearing. Obviously, you're having very good success bringing in -- customers going into the interest bearing side. But is that coming at the expense of non-interest bearing outflows or they just or are we talking about two very different customer sets? Thanks.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So, Ken, this is Greg. I'll start and then Dan, I'm sure, will want to add on to it. So, I think, you said this right, which I think it's very important to note. We are fortunate that we have an incredible amount of client inflows for client funds, right? So on a average basis we are up $3 billion, if we look at on our period end to period end basis we are up $5.2 billion.

So, there is good momentum with our clients, and we're going to bring that client flow in, right? So as we saw this cash, you know, lot of it is becoming more concentrated. So, if you look at the number of financings out there, there are fewer than there have been over the years, so bigger dollar amounts. And so as those dollars come in, they want to get excess cash or a yield in that excess cash.

And the choices for us, should we direct it off balance sheet or should we direct more of it on balance sheet. And obviously that means, you got to pay a certain yield that's going to be comparable to what they can get off balance sheet.

And so we made that choice during the quarter that we wanted to drive more of it onto the balance sheet and for that we have to have a more competitive yield for that. So, that's kind of the background. But I think it starts with the fact that there is an incredible amount of client funds flow that we have coming into the organization. So, Dan?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

And, Ken, I'll add to that. So, we're paying a lot of attention to the inflows and what's happening from an outflow perspective on non-interest bearing. And what we saw in the quarter were distributions from our private equity funds as well as some slower growth in our Asia business related to the China trade tensions and our Europe business, we think somewhere related to Brexit.

So, we're paying close attention to that, what we are seeing coming into interest bearing is more related to new flows from primarily our technology business and other sectors. So, there is a distinction between what's flowing out of non-interest bearing and coming into interest bearing.

Kenneth Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Got you. Okay. So it sounds like they're not -- you're not necessarily cannibalizing your current non-interest bearing customers, they're just -- they are two different groups of people.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Right.

Kenneth Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

If my understanding is correct.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, that's correct. That's correct.

Kenneth Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Okay, perfect. And then in terms of Leerink, the $50 million of fees and obviously the 15 of commissions. Was that negatively affected at all by the government shutdown or is that a fairly good run rate to think about over the next few quarters?

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So, this is Greg. And again, Dan, may want to add on to it. But so they ended up doing, I think, an incredible job considering the government were shutdown. And so, I would say, they were kind of on track with what they expected to deliver in the first quarter, which I would say we are little surprised by how strong it came out, given the government shutdown.

So, the team, there is a huge amount of credit for just jumping on it when the market did open back up, and they had some great listings during the first -- during the first quarter. The first quarter does tend to be a higher, a better quarter. And so, I think, I would just go back to the guidance that Dan gave as far as the overall core fee income or fee income level that obviously SVB Leerink is baked into.

Kenneth Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Okay. That helps. And then just, if I can just one last question. Dan, I think, you did mentioned, talking about the general partners sort of paying out some of the money to the LPs, which we expected going into first quarter. Do you think we're close to being done with that or do you still see potential for that to continue in the second quarter?

Michael Descheneaux -- President, Silicon Valley Bank

Ken, this is Mike Descheneaux.

Kenneth Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Hey, Mike.

Michael Descheneaux -- President, Silicon Valley Bank

It looks like things are certainly strengthening, when we look at toward the end of March. Pretty much across the board, we're starting to see strength even in the Life Sciences, as you know, with the government shutdown Life Sciences world was impacted, PS seems to be coming back strong and nicely as well too even in the UK as well too.

So, I think, definitely the economy is looking really good feeling pretty positive about the outlook going forward. And you see that kind of in the earnings that people are releasing on the street here as well. So, definitely the outlook looks good.

Kenneth Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Okay. All right. Thank you very much.

Operator

Okay. And your next question comes from Ebrahim Poonawala with Bank of America. Your line is open.

Ebrahim Poonawala -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Good afternoon, guys.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Ebrahim.

Ebrahim Poonawala -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Hi. Just wanted to follow-up on deposits. So, I think, Dan, if I recall correctly last quarter you talked about total cost of deposits being 11 basis points to 15 basis points. What's the expectation for the year? Clearly, we've seen a big jump in the interest bearing deposit costs. What's the updated expectations? And I heard what you said about average deposit growth being driven by interest bearing. Do you still expect on a period-end basis deposit growth to be 50/50, 75/25, interest bearing with non-interest bearing?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes, so I'll just tackle it. If we look at overall average growth of deposits based on how we started the year. My expectation is that the overall average deposits are going to be weighted much more heavily toward interest bearing.

So, putting a percentage on it, I would say, the majority on average would be interest bearing. At the same point, we will -- we have expectations that we're going to be growing our non-interest bearing deposits. And as Mike just mentioned, we're seeing some positive trends there already, as we look at what's happening here in the second quarter.

So, we will see growth in non interest bearing, it's really just a function of what happened in the first quarter that's driving more of this expectation toward interest bearing.

Ebrahim Poonawala -- Bank of America -- Analyst

And the total cost of deposits, any thoughts?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

The total cost of deposits, if we think about it. And obviously this is subject to variability based on what happens with interest bearing deposit flows. But we say it would be approximately 30 basis points. So, you won't see as big of a pickup as what you saw between Q4 and Q1.

Ebrahim Poonawala -- Bank of America -- Analyst

That's helpful. And just shifting to the asset side, the 92% of the loan book is variable rate. What's the expectation, have you think about earning asset yields, there was a fair amount of cash build up as well. If you can just talk to in terms of what we should expect in terms of loan yields as well as just the side of the balance sheet?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So, going forward, if we take a look at loan yields. The expectation for the remainder of the year obviously without additional rate hikes is that we won't see much more upward progression on overall yields. We are paying attention to the competitive environment. It might see some small amount of margin compression there on the loan side between here and the rest of the year.

When we think about the treasury portfolio and I made this remark in my comments, the yield environment has obviously changed a lot over the last 120 days, and even more significantly even as much in the last 30 days, with a 30 basis point decline in the 5-year over that timeframe.

So, we'll have ample dollars to invest, those dollars would be invested at a lower rate, which is driving part of the reduction in our net interest income expectations.

Ebrahim Poonawala -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Right. But the cash balances which was $4.6 billion those you expect them to be at similar levels as a percentage of earning assets go up, down?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, we would expect that those will fluctuate anywhere between $3 billion to $5 billion throughout the year.

Ebrahim Poonawala -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah.

Operator

And your next question comes from Jared Shaw with Wells Fargo. Jared, your line is open.

Jared Shaw -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Hi, thanks. I guess, sticking with the growth in the on-balance sheet deposits. In this rate environment is that trade right now from off balance sheet, on balance sheet, net positive to EPS. When you look at the alternative versus fee income stream from that or is that more of a near-term investment to increase the balance sheet funding for the longer term?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

And Jared it's Dan. So, it is accretive from an EPS perspective. So, that much is true, albeit, obviously it's a mix of what we can do from a lending and investment securities perspective. Even if we put it in an investment security it is accretive, but obviously at lower margins.

When we think about what we're doing on the deposit side. It makes sense for us to continue to offer these types of rates to our clients because the all-in relationship is obviously very important to us. And we look at all the incremental and ancillary benefits from additional fee income and things along those lines not only makes sense EPS wise to continue by offering these deposit rates, but we got the incremental benefit of fees as well.

Jared Shaw -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Okay, thanks. And then shifting over to the tech side of it. Do you get any sense of a feeling of urgency on the part of the sponsors the VC, the PE community to push for exits, given the strength of the market here. Are they comfortable with keeping more of a stable investment horizon for their invested companies?

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

This is Greg, I'll start, and then Mike may want to add. I think they're looking and saying, if the markets opened, it's going to be, they're going to be opportunistic in looking at it. I don't, I certainly don't feel, if there is any sense of heightened urgency or anything like that, that's out there. I think they are always opportunistic and I think definitely continue to be opportunistic.

The market as you can see with some of the IPO is not all the markets receptive to it and we got more coming. So, I think, they're looking at that as a good time and we'll see how long it stays open. As you know the market tends to be a little bit circle. But right now it's open and looking healthy.

Michael Descheneaux -- President, Silicon Valley Bank

The only thing I would add is that everybody view as Greg was saying is a healthy market in 2019, clearly can be a really, really strong year for that. So, I don't think there is absolutely any sense of urgency right now, but as we all know. No doubt they'll be happy if they can get out sooner than later. No, it's just a natural reaction.

Jared Shaw -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

And then are you seeing them have an appetite to put that money back into the system. Earlier I guess last quarter you had said that from talking with the other sponsors they were very excited about the additional investment opportunity. So, is that still the case that the money that they're getting back from the exits are going to be reinvested back into the system?

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I think, venture capitalists for sure are looking at this and saying they still feel it's a good time to be investing. We just have we have a bunch of data points out in the market as we engaged with venture capitalists, and they're are very active. We hear that from a standpoint, what they're telling us.

But obviously the numbers that I told you $32.6 billion invested in the first quarter and validates. So, the number is validated and what they're saying validated. I think they're feeling good a couple of stories that I heard directly from venture capitalists is that they're surprised that how many even in this environment where valuations are up.

There's some really amazing high quality companies out there still and are looking to put money, more money behind it. So, I think, it's still a very, very good market.

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Absolutely, and when you also think about the so-called dry powder both from PE and VC are extraordinarily high level. So, there's plenty of liquidity, plenty of cash for them to go invest and that's what they get paid to do. So, they are definitely looking to deploy it into high-quality company.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Now to add onto it, do I believe that private equity firms are looking and saying, boy, I would really like to see a downturn. So I can pay less. Yeah, we're hearing that too. They're ready with all this dry powder that if the market does turn down, I think, they're going to look at it as a buying opportunity.

So, I think, what's interesting about our portfolio today versus what it would have been in many years ago when it was all venture capital is that it was so tied to do up and the downs at the venture capital. But, right now, because we're more balanced, even in a downturn, I think, we are going to see a lot of activity in the PE side.

Jared Shaw -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Great. Thanks for that color.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah.

Operator

And your next question comes from Steven Alexopoulos with JPMorgan. Steven, your line is open.

Steven Alexopoulos -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Hi, everybody.

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Hi, Steve.

Steven Alexopoulos -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

I wanted to start, so give the yield curve and the lower reinvestment opportunity on securities which Dan called out, I would have thought that would have reduced your appetite to grow the on balance sheet deposits. When I look at raised money market is up pretty sharply sort of sweeps. So, what drove that clearly what drove the strategic shift here to emphasize that given the reinvestment rate seem to be down quite a bit?

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So, this is Greg. Clearly we would have been better off if the -- what we can reinvest that money would have been what it was at 120 days ago.

We are working hard to not think so short-term and think a little bit longer-term and so the view was as this money is coming in, it was, it could go off balance sheet when we could to let it go off balance sheet, but the question was, if it's accretive to bring it on balance sheet.

What would it take to bring it on the balance sheet and that's the decision we made. And as you know from our watching us closely for many, many years when we focus on something we can be really successful at it. We were really successful at it at the end of the first quarter.

And so we're going to take a look at that and see what is the product offering need to be to make sure we have as many options as possible and we're going to watch that to see if it should be more of a balance off balance sheet.

So, if we're not getting a decent return, we're going to direct more of it off-balance sheet. What we proved in this kind of quarter is that we can drive it onto the balance sheet, and that I think was a great lesson from our standpoint. So, that's how we think about it longer-term and really how much do we want to keep on the balance sheet.

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Steve. The only thing I would add to it is, if you look at those decisions on a marginal basis. Yes, it's much more thin from a spread perspective. But all in the total cost of funds remains incredibly low.

So, we can continue to drive liquidity at a very low cost, as we start to grow that liquidity in and above loan balances that's when we'll start to do some of the things that Greg talked about optimization and how to drive and make decisions to either drive on or off balance sheet.

But this is just part of the evolution of us with the power of the deposit franchise for us to be able to optimize and to drive in the right way and we've shown good progress.

Steven Alexopoulos -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

And are there rates where they need to be now to be competitive where the off-balance sheet or do you see a need to further increase those?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

So, Steve, we're pretty close, I think, that there may be just a couple of other small product changes that drive some incremental cost. So, I'd expect over the next quarter that or maybe two, you may see some small increases related to additional rate changes, but other than that we're there.

Steven Alexopoulos -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Okay. And then just we can all understand the seasonal nature of the first quarter better. Can you quantify what the private equity distributions were this quarter?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

In total, it was roughly, if we look at private equity balances within kind of the $1 billion plus dollar range if at least for what we're seeing in our data. It's hard to get super-specific, but it's at least over a billion.

Steven Alexopoulos -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Okay. Perfect. Thanks for taking my questions.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Steve.

Operator

Your next question comes from Brett Rabatin with Piper Jaffray. Brett, your line is open.

Brett Rabatin -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Brett.

Brett Rabatin -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Wanted to go back to just you mentioned Leerink did really well, despite, the IPO market being shut down, the government all out. I wanted to make sure I understood sort of the guidance around, the updated guidance around fee income and just your expectations and what's you're building into that guidance in terms of how you're thinking about some of the bigger companies, the IPO market, and just kind of what you're expecting versus what might be kind of claim on the top of what your normal business is?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

So, as we look at SVB Leerink, at this point on a full year basis, we left their guidance unchanged. They did have a good strong first quarter, as Greg said, in the backdrop of the markets being shut for part of it. But there is also a seasonal business, the first two quarters are generally their best and then it tails off a bit.

So, we felt that made sense to leave that where it was. What you are seeing is the improvement in core fee is really in the banking business going back to what we're seeing with card transactions, FX. If you look at where we are this quarter, it's actually a lower number of days than the fourth quarter.

If you look at that on an apples-to-apples basis, we're doing better and growing that business. So, core fees and deepening with our clients is a big driver there.

Brett Rabatin -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Okay. I appreciate the color there. And then just thinking about the margin guidance. Obviously, there is the yield curves flat and you've got the dynamic that you have with the funding. Just thinking about the guidance as we progress through the year. I mean would seem like you might exit 2019, it's below the guidance, the low end of the guidance range. Any thoughts on that and just kind of how you are thinking about relative margins as we think about obviously 2020 is far from now, but just the yield curve, where it is?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So, as we look at the rest of 2019 and heading into the second quarter with the substantial global funds in Q4, as well as Q1 into interest bearing, that's why we're seeing the big pickup in cost on interest-bearing deposits in the first quarter. So, we expect that to slow down materially from the second quarter on.

So, you'll actually see the second quarter be much lower from a margin perspective, let's call it, in the low 3.70 range. And as the securities portfolio continues to reprice, even though yields are down, we're repricing an incremental yield in and above that. That's going to help drive margins forward and slightly higher throughout the rest of the year.

Brett Rabatin -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Okay. That's great color. I appreciate it.

Operator

And your next question comes from Chris McGratty with KBW. Chris, your line is open.

Christopher McGratty -- KBW -- Analyst

Great, thanks. Dan maybe I pivot to capital. At the current rate, you're going to be kind of complete the buyback and call six months. Can we talk about, could you elaborate on what your thoughts might be beyond that in terms of additional buybacks or use of capital?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes, so we are obviously in a good position capital wise and based on market conditions we'll continue to look at the buyback. On a go forward basis, as we head into next year, we'll have to see how the economy firms up first, I think that will be our first priority, continuing to look at growth opportunities and how we can deploy that. And then as we've shown this year to the extent, it makes sense for us to look at capital actions, buyback or dividend, these are things that we talk about, and we will see where we end up at the end of this year.

Christopher McGratty -- KBW -- Analyst

Okay, great. And then maybe just on the expenses. I think in Investor Day, I'm looking at my notes, you talked about 2020 expenses, and I think in the high-single digits. I guess number one, is that still kind of your base case and I assume that included Leerink. Any color would be great? Thanks.

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

So, high single digits. Yes, is the plan for at least the target for 2020. As it relates to Leerink, that was somewhat of a later development. And that -- their expenses are driven almost wholly by what's happening from a market activity perspective. So, I think, I look at the bank operations where we're targeting that piece.

Christopher McGratty -- KBW -- Analyst

Okay, thanks.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes.

Operator

And your next question comes from Aaron Deer with Sandler O'Neill. Aaron, your line is open.

Aaron Deer -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon, everyone.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Aaron.

Aaron Deer -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Just sticking with the expense subject. Through the end of last year, I guess, and the early guidance for this year suggested a higher level of expenses. You guys were undertaken a lot of these investment activities. Now you've brought down the expense guide. What's changed that's bringing that down?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So, first, it's a pretty small change in the grand scheme of our expenses. Our number one priority continues to invest. Especially, as we're facing a flat rate environment and some would even say, a downward rate environment.

For us to be able to continue our growth, we absolutely need to continue to invest. So, what we're doing here isn't walking away from investment, some of this is just the natural outcome of the lower rate environment, and we also had some opportunities on professional services spend that just made sense for us to push out. But again, number one priority for us is to invest for growth as we drive forward.

Aaron Deer -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Okay. And then going back to the balance sheet discussion. I guess, I understand the balance sheet trends we saw and kind of what's going on in the deposit side and the rate environment. But the, previously, through last year when the environment was better, we talked about continuing to leverage capital and the deposits that you have. And see you've reduced the securities book during the quarter, you've got a lot more cash and liquidity on the balance sheet. But would you not be better served to get that invested. And I mean historically you guys were much more focused on net interest income, rather than the margin. And by getting that invested wouldn't that to help serve your goal of reducing asset sensitivity?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So we -- a lot of what we're talking about here is just dynamics of what happened during the quarter. The sales really related to the borrowing position we were at the end of the fourth quarter. Since then deposits have grown quite nicely, and it gives us the opportunity, as we exited the first quarter with this cash balance to deploy those funds.

I can't say that we have been deploying investment securities purchases at the end of the first quarter and into the second quarter. So, you will see that, but the higher cash balance coming out of the years, it's really just out of the quarter is a function of the strong growth and deposits.

Aaron Deer -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Okay, and then just a clarity on one of your earlier comments. Did I hear you correctly to say you'd expect the margin to be coming down to the 3.70-ish range and then grow into the back half of the year. Did I miss hear that?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

That is correct.

Aaron Deer -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Okay.

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

We think the second quarter ends at low 3.70s range and growing out from there.

Aaron Deer -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Okay. And that's reflective of that kind of reinvestment then, our price ratio anyway?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

That's right.

Aaron Deer -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Okay. All right. Thank you for taking my questions.

Operator

And your next question comes from Gary Tenner with DA Davidson. Gary, your line is open.

Gary Tenner -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

Thanks. Good afternoon.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Gary.

Gary Tenner -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

Hey, Greg. I wanted to go back to a comment you made earlier that I think this is also reflected in the venture capital monitor this quarter. The idea of a lower number but larger funds being raised. And that's as that continues to happen in the industry. What's your sense of -- what that means a) for the health of the industry long-term and b) how it would translate into Silicon Valley's positioning to benefit?

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, it's a great question. We were actually having this discussion today. If you -- and we look at pitch book as the database that we used to kind of track all the information. And you can look at the number of financings that happened and they go all the way from seed up to late-stage private financings.

But when they define seed definitely it's more institutional seed rounds not seed from friends and family, and all the other players that were money comes from. And so when you look at that data, that's the more, the bigger seed rounds, then beyond. That actually the seed numbers are actually going down the number of companies. So, it's highly concentrated larger rounds. My belief though because we see this in our own portfolio and our market share, our market share is going up a fair amount, which could be the case or there is more funding sources out there, there were monies coming into.

And so in our early stage portfolio we again, we brought in another 1,100 new clients in the early stage and we really haven't seen much of a change in that activity level. So, it would imply that there's money coming in from seed areas that are not being captured. So, I think, that we're going to continue to see a lot of upside.

And as we expand our funnel and to look at other places where start-ups can be brought into the organization. We believe that there is quite honestly a lot more upside to come.

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Definitely, I would say, it's definitely healthy in Q1, particularly when we look at our category called emerging technology client. That was actually the predominance of the growth in our on-balance sheet deposits. So as Greg's describing it actually is healthy and again we view the future prospects is looking good in that area.

Gary Tenner -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

All right. Thank you. And then secondly just on SVB Leerink. I think last quarter you provided some revenue guidance in dollars of $250 to $270 and that I think contemplated sort of a slow first quarter, particularly on the commission and trading side of things. The combined revenue this quarter was right in the middle of that range on an annualized basis. So, was the trading side of things stronger than expected too or more so the investment banking fee side?

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, this is Greg. I'll start, I would say, that they are on track with what we expected. As Dan said we haven't changed the guidance. We're including in the overall core -- the core fee income, but the last time we came up when we closed down SVB Leerink. We gave revenue guidance for the year and so as Dan said we haven't changed that.

I think what our comment was is we believe and the government shutdown occurred that the first quarter would actually be end up being a bad quarter ended up they ended up making up their numbers and they actually hit their numbers despite the government shutdown. So, as we said, we view that as a very, very big positive. So, net-net, when you net it all they are on-track despite the government shutdown.

Gary Tenner -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks.

Operator

And your next question comes from David Long with Raymond James. David, your line is open.

David Long -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Good afternoon, everyone. The off balance sheet yields still moving a bit higher, maybe not to the same extent that we saw in prior quarters. In this newer rate environment can you still expand what you're earning on the off-balance sheet deposits?

Michael Descheneaux -- President, Silicon Valley Bank

So, this is Mike Descheneaux. So, you did see a one basis point pickup in Q1. The predominant amount of the growth came in our off balance sheet sweep account, which the yields on the other (ph) fees, there's a bit north of the 20 basis points. So, again a lot it, just depends on a little bit of mix and where the volumes are coming from, but again, yeah, you definitely see some slight improvement there, no doubt.

David Long -- Raymond James -- Analyst

All right. Great. Thanks, Mike. I appreciate it.

Operator

And your next question comes from Tyler Stafford with Stephens. Tyler, your line is open.

Tyler Stafford -- Stephens -- Analyst

Hey, good afternoon, and thanks for taking the question. I just wanted to start on the expense guide and I just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly. So you lowered the expense guidance excluding Leerink to the low teens, but you're maintaining the mid '30s expense guidance including Leerink. So, are you actually lowering the expense guidance if total expenses are still expected to grow mid '30s?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, the way to look at it is obviously with Leerink and the total size of their expenses, it's a much bigger number. So, to get a sense of exactly how much we're taking it down, focus on the banks, the bank's expense levels, and at the end of day, when we look at that total range including Leerink.

With this change we would be at the lower end of that bigger number expense rate, and so there is a change, look at the bank first, that's what's driving the majority of the change, but the all-in number would be at the lower end of that range.

Tyler Stafford -- Stephens -- Analyst

The lower end of the mid '30s range is what you're saying?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah.

Tyler Stafford -- Stephens -- Analyst

Okay. So, then even with just coming in at the lower end of that range. There's still no net financial impact from the lower NII guide. Is that right?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

What we're saying is the combination of that, plus, the positive increase on the core fees and the reduction of the expenses get you largely to net neutral impact.

Tyler Stafford -- Stephens -- Analyst

Okay. All right. Thanks for clarifying that. And then just going back to one of your earlier comments, Dan. The 30 basis point expectation for deposit cost is that for the full year or is that by the end of 2019?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

That is full year average expectation.

Tyler Stafford -- Stephens -- Analyst

Okay, thanks.

Operator

And your next question comes from David Chiaverini with Wedbush Securities. David, your line is open.

David Chiaverini -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

Hi, thanks. I was wondering so with the IPO pipeline ramping up based on what you've seen over the past couple of decades for that matter. Do you tend to retain the business of VC backed companies after they mature into the public markets?

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, this is Greg. I'll start, I would say, if you go back a decade or so ago the percentage we've retained actually was on the lower end. But over the last decade, every year it continues to improve because of our capabilities what we can do from a balance sheet perspective, what we can do from a syndication capability. If you look at last year, we were in the middle market as far as the number of syndicated deals done.

We were number one. And so we did roughly $6 billion of syndicated loans last year. So, when you look at that our capabilities are just very different. So we can scale up with our clients a lot more. So that, yeah, our ability retain is a lot better than it was.

David Chiaverini -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

That's it from me. Thanks very much.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah.

Operator

And your next question comes from Brock Vandervliet with UBS. Brock, your line is open.

Brock Vandervliet -- UBS -- Analyst

Great. Good evening. On the foreign deposits, they were up very strongly, I was just wondering if you could square that with your commentary about some slowing that you saw in Europe and Asia and going beyond that. Could you talk about the rates around those deposits, which also stepped up?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

So, this is (audible) [1:08:31] on the foreign deposits, I would say, from our EMEA division. If you just on the balance sheet, it was probably up around 300 million and maybe in Asia a little bit up about $300 million or so in terms of the average balances. So, there was definitely some strong growth overseas if that's what you're referring to.

Brock Vandervliet -- UBS -- Analyst

And in two quarters the rate on those have gone from really nothing something pretty material. Is that I think it was around 140 in this quarter, is that likely to stabilize as I'm just trying to get a sense of what the drivers there, since there are foreign deposits?

Michael Descheneaux -- President, Silicon Valley Bank

Yeah, I think, what -- maybe you are talking on apple and banana here. I think what you're referring to is the sweep deposits in foreign offices, which is different than say, Asia, particularly or EMEA and those different things. So, there's a little bit different and so and perhaps Dan want to go and explain the difference if that will be helpful for you.

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Those are just our, as it says, there are sweep deposits out of our foreign offices and different from the deposits that directly on the bank's balance sheet.

Brock Vandervliet -- UBS -- Analyst

And why the large step-up in rate in two quarters?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

One of the reasons for that is that we were sourcing additional deposits from that population and there were some changes in rates that we implemented in the four quarter. So, it was one of the areas of increase in the, on the balance sheet deposits.

Brock Vandervliet -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay, thanks. And just to clarify the NIM the NIM guide here in terms of the step down in Q2. Is that mainly driven by funding or is that also driven by adding back investment securities and redeploying it at lower rates or a bit of both?

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

It's largely deposits, but there also is some impact of putting some of that investment security money back to work. So, it's really a combination of those things, but much more largely based on what's happening with deposits.

Brock Vandervliet -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay, great. Thank you.

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah.

Operator

And there are no more questions at this time. I would like to turn the call over to Greg Becker.

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Great, thank you. Well, thanks, everyone for joining us. Just to kind of sum up, really happy with the performance of the first quarter and with the strength and momentum we're seeing in our business. Again it was great to see -- continue to see the client funds growth at the level that we saw it. Even considering the prospect of a flat to down rate environment, we still see a lot of opportunities for growth and bringing positive on the outlook for 2019.

As always, I want to thank our clients first for their trust and partnership, which we greatly appreciate. We feel incredibly lucky and fortunate to work with them and take their success very seriously. And also incredibly important is our employees, their dedication to our clients and SVB overall is what makes us a special place to work, and a special place to take care of our clients.

So, with that, I thank all of you and have a wonderful night. Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. ladies and gentlemen this concludes today's conference. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect.

Duration: 62 minutes

Call participants:

Meghan O'Leary -- Investor Relation

Greg Becker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Daniel Beck -- Chief Financial Officer

Kenneth Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Michael Descheneaux -- President, Silicon Valley Bank

Ebrahim Poonawala -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Jared Shaw -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Steven Alexopoulos -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Brett Rabatin -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Christopher McGratty -- KBW -- Analyst

Aaron Deer -- Sandler O'Neill -- Analyst

Gary Tenner -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

David Long -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Tyler Stafford -- Stephens -- Analyst

David Chiaverini -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

Brock Vandervliet -- UBS -- Analyst

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