XL Group PLC Earnings Call Nuggets: Share Buyback Potential and Operating Leverage

XL Group PLC (NYSE:XL) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Share Buyback Potential

Jay Gelb – Barclays: Mike, on the share buyback potential I believe you mentioned more than $400 million is likely in 2013 given your return on equity goals, where do you feel the capital base needs to be sized to and how can the buybacks get you there?

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Michael S. McGavick – CEO: The first thing I would emphasizes is that the capital leverage by virtue of buybacks is not the most powerful level we have on producing acceptable ROEs. By far the most powerful level we have is in expanding our operating margins and we are moving nicely towards that objective. So, that’s going to be our core focus. That said, as I emphasized, it is not our goal to expand our capital buffer at this time, we’d like to keep it level. And if we are successful through the year in expanding our margins to keep it level obviously that would imply that we would need to buyback a higher level than the 400 we committed to early last year. I am not ready to put a number around that, I think, it’s premature as we have a number of our capital management policies still to consider with the Board, but just the logic of keeping it level would suggest that we would be looking to do more over the course of this year if it plays out as we expect. But our focus in driving the better ROE comes from expanded operating margins, that’s what we are working toward and we believe we can continue to deliver that in 2013.

Peter R. Porrino – EVP and CFO: Jay, this is Pete. Just one point of clarification on the way you asked the question. We view our buybacks in ’12 was 500 because timing difference from Sandy and I think Mike’s comment that he made in his prepared remarks was that was where we were starting from.