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What You Must Know About TFS Financial Corp’s (NASDAQ:TFSL) 5.13% ROE

Bryson Sharp

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to better understand how you can grow your money by investing in TFS Financial Corp (NASDAQ:TFSL).

TFS Financial Corp’s (NASDAQ:TFSL) most recent return on equity was a substandard 5.13% relative to its industry performance of 5.71% over the past year. Though TFSL’s recent performance is underwhelming, it is useful to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components can change your views on TFSL’s below-average returns. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of TFSL’s returns. Let me show you what I mean by this. View out our latest analysis for TFS Financial

Peeling the layers of ROE – trisecting a company’s profitability

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of TFS Financial’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.051 in earnings from this. Generally speaking, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are other factors we must also consider before making any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is assessed against cost of equity, which is measured using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) – but let’s not dive into the details of that today. For now, let’s just look at the cost of equity number for TFS Financial, which is 9.59%. Since TFS Financial’s return does not cover its cost, with a difference of -4.46%, this means its current use of equity is not efficient and not sustainable. Very simply, TFS Financial pays more for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be dissected into three distinct ratios: net profit margin, asset turnover, and financial leverage. This is called the Dupont Formula:

Dupont Formula

ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage

ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)

ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity

NasdaqGS:TFSL Last Perf June 25th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue TFS Financial can make from its asset base. And finally, financial leverage is simply how much of assets are funded by equity, which exhibits how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. Since financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt TFS Financial currently has. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a high 216.73%, meaning the below-average ratio is already being driven by a large amount of debt.

NasdaqGS:TFSL Historical Debt June 25th 18

Next Steps:

While ROE is a relatively simple calculation, it can be broken down into different ratios, each telling a different story about the strengths and weaknesses of a company. TFS Financial exhibits a weak ROE against its peers, as well as insufficient levels to cover its own cost of equity this year. Also, with debt capital in excess of equity, ROE may already be inflated by the use of debt funding, raising questions over the possibility of further decline in the company’s returns. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For TFS Financial, there are three key aspects you should look at:

  1. Financial Health: Does it have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market’s sentiment for TFS Financial’s future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of TFS Financial? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!


To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.