ICBRR plan - International Certificate in Banking Risk and Regulation (ICBRR) Updated: 2023
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Exam Code: ICBRR International Certificate in Banking Risk and Regulation (ICBRR) plan November 2023 by Killexams.com team|
ICBRR International Certificate in Banking Risk and Regulation (ICBRR)
The International Certificate in Banking Risk and Regulation (ICBRR) is a professional certification that focuses on banking risk management and regulatory compliance. It is designed to validate the knowledge and skills of individuals working in the banking industry. Here are the test details for the ICBRR certification:
- Number of Questions: The test typically consists of multiple-choice questions. The exact number of questions may vary, but typically, the test includes around 100 to 120 questions.
- Time Limit: The time allocated to complete the test is 2.5 to 3 hours.
The ICBRR certification course covers a wide range of Topics related to banking risk management and regulatory compliance. The course outline typically includes the following areas:
1. Introduction to Banking Risk and Regulation:
- Understanding the role of risk management and regulation in the banking industry.
- Overview of key regulatory frameworks and international standards.
2. Credit Risk Management:
- Assessing credit risk and implementing risk mitigation strategies.
- Evaluating borrower creditworthiness and loan portfolio management.
3. Market Risk Management:
- Identifying and managing risks associated with financial markets and instruments.
- Evaluating market risk factors and measuring portfolio risk.
4. Operational Risk Management:
- Identifying and mitigating risks related to internal processes, systems, and human factors.
- Implementing controls and incident management procedures.
5. Liquidity Risk Management:
- Managing liquidity risks and ensuring sufficient funding for banking operations.
- Monitoring cash flows, funding sources, and regulatory requirements.
6. Compliance and Regulatory Frameworks:
- Understanding regulatory requirements and compliance obligations.
- Implementing effective compliance programs and internal controls.
7. Governance and Risk Culture:
- Promoting a strong risk management culture within the organization.
- Establishing effective governance structures and risk oversight mechanisms.
8. Basel Accords:
- Understanding the Basel framework and its impact on banking risk management.
- Complying with capital adequacy and risk measurement standards.
The objectives of the ICBRR test are as follows:
- Assessing candidates' understanding of banking risk management principles and practices.
- Evaluating candidates' knowledge of regulatory frameworks and compliance requirements.
- Testing candidates' ability to identify and analyze banking risks and implement risk mitigation strategies.
- Evaluating candidates' knowledge of governance and risk culture within banking organizations.
The specific test syllabus for the ICBRR certification covers the following topics:
1. Introduction to Banking Risk and Regulation
2. Credit Risk Management
3. Market Risk Management
4. Operational Risk Management
5. Liquidity Risk Management
6. Compliance and Regulatory Frameworks
7. Governance and Risk Culture
8. Basel Accords
|International Certificate in Banking Risk and Regulation (ICBRR)|
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International Certificate in Banking Risk and Regulation
According to a Moodyís study, the most important drivers of the loss given default historically have been all of the
I. Debt type and seniority
II. Macroeconomic environment
III. Obligor asset type
A . I
B . II
C . I, II
D . III, IV
Gamma Bank provides a $100,000 loan to Big Bath retail stores at 5% interest rate (paid annually). The loan is
collateralized with $55,000. The loan also has an annual expected default rate of 2%, and loss given default at 50%.
In this case, what will the bankís expected loss be?
A . $500
B . $750
C . $1,000
D . $1,300
Which one of the following four statements correctly defines chooser options?
A . The owner of these options decides if the option is a call or put option only when a predetermined date is reached.
B . These options represent a variation of the plain vanilla option where the underlying asset is a basket of currencies.
C . These options pay an amount equal to the power of the value of the underlying asset above the strike price.
D . These options provide the holder the right to exchange one asset for another.
ThetaBank has extended substantial financing to two mortgage companies, which these mortgage lenders use to
finance their own lending. Individually, each of the mortgage companies have an exposure at default (EAD) of $20
million, with a loss given default (LGD) of 100%, and a probability of default of 10%. ThetaBankís risk department
predicts the joint probability of default at 5%.
If the default risk of these mortgage companies were modeled as independent risks, the actual probability would be
A . 1%
B . 2%
C . 3%
D . 4%
Alpha Bank determined that Delta Industrial Machinery Corporation has 2% change of default on a one-year no-
payment of USD $1 million, including interest and principal repayment. The bank charges 3% interest rate spread to
firms in the machinery industry, and the risk-free interest rate is 6%. Alpha Bank receives both interest and principal
payments once at the end the year. Delta can only default at the end of the year. If Delta defaults, the bank expects to
lose 50% of its promised payment.
What may happen to the Deltaís initial credit parameter and the value of its loan if the machinery industry experiences
adverse structural changes?
A . Probability of default and loss at default may decrease simultaneously, while duration rises causing the loan value
B . Probability of default and loss at default may decrease simultaneously, while duration falls causing the loan value
C . Probability of default and loss at default may increase simultaneously, while duration rises causing the loan value
D . Probability of default and loss at default may increase simultaneously, while duration falls causing the loan value
A credit rating analyst wants to determine the expected duration of the default time for a new three-year loan, which
has a 2% likelihood of defaulting in the first year, a 3% likelihood of defaulting in the second year, and a 5%
likelihood of defaulting the third year.
What is the expected duration for this three-year loan?
A . 1.5 years
B . 2.1 years
C . 2.3 years
D . 3.7 years
Altmanís Z-score incorporates all the following variables that are predictive of bankruptcy EXCEPT:
A . Return on total assets
B . Sales to total assets
C . Equity to debt
D . Return on equity
Which one of the following four features is NOT a typical characteristic of futures contracts?
A . Fixed notional amount per contract
B . Fixed dates for delivery
C . Traded Over-the-counter only
D . Daily margin calls
Which one of the following four statements correctly describes an American call option?
A . An American call option gives the buyer of that call option the right to buy the underlying instrument on any date
up to and including the expiry date.
B . An American call option gives the buyer of that call option the right to sell the underlying instrument on any date
up to and including the expiry date.
C . An American call option gives the buyer of that call option the right to buy the underlying instrument on the expiry
D . An American call option gives the buyer of that call option the right to sell the underlying instrument on the expiry
Which one of the following four statements correctly defines a non-exotic call option?
A . A call option gives the call option buyer the obligation, but not the right, to buy the underlying instrument at a
known price in the future.
B . A call option gives the call option buyer the obligation, but not the right, to sell the underlying instrument at a
known price in the future
C . A call option gives the call option buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy the underlying instrument at a
known price in the future
D . A call option gives the call option buyer the right, but not the obligation, to sell the underlying instrument at a
known price in the future
A credit analyst wants to determine a good pricing strategy to compensate for credit decisions that might have been
made incorrectly. When analyzing her credit portfolio, the analyst focuses on the spreads in each loan to determine if
they are sufficient to compensate the bank for all of the following costs and risks EXCEPT.
A . The marginal cost of funds provided.
B . The overhead cost of maintaining the loan and the account.
C . The inherent risk of lending to this borrower while providing a return on the risk capital used to the support the
D . The opportunity cost of risk-adjusted marginal cost of capital.
Which one of the following four metrics represents the difference between the expected loss and unexpected loss on a
A . Credit VaR
B . Probability of default
C . Loss given default
D . Modified duration
Which of the following statements about the interest rates and option prices is correct?
A . If rho is positive, rising interest rates increase option prices.
B . If rho is positive, rising interest rates decrease option prices.
C . As interest rates rise, all options will rise in value.
D . As interest rates fall, all options will rise in value.
Which one of the following four alternatives lists the three most widely traded currencies on the global foreign
exchange market, as of April 2007, in the decreasing order of market share? EUR is the abbreviation of the European
euro, JPY is for the Japanese yen, and USD is for the United States dollar, respectively.
A . JPY, EUR, USD
B . USD, EUR, JPY
C . USD, JPY, EUR
D . EUR, USD, JPY
Of all the risk factors in loan pricing, which one of the following four choices is likely to be the least significant?
A . Probability of default
B . Duration of default
C . Loss given default
D . Exposure at default
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Population. U.S. proximity. Financing. Footprint. The right partners. Those were just a few of the factors that mid-sized quick serve Wing Zone considered in choosing the first international market to represent its expanding brand.
The founders believed they had just one shot to make their international debut and they wanted to get it right. For years, prospects had approached the fast-growing domestic chain, offering to bring its largely college-oriented take-out concept abroad. But Wing Zone held out, seeking to maximize opportunities at home in a U.S. market that appeared plenty big enough to handle increasing demand for buffalo-style chicken wings.
Come the recession the picture began to look different, recalled executives with the Atlanta-based chain of 100 restaurants, which was founded on the campus of the University of Florida in 1991. So in early 2009‚ÄĒwith domestic growth expectations slowed to about a dozen stores‚ÄĒthey undertook serious plans to expand the concept outside U.S. borders.
‚ÄúIt became more of a priority as things domestically slowed down,‚ÄĚ says Matt Friedman, founder and CEO, looking back on the process in early September. ‚ÄúWe could then focus attention on the international plan.‚ÄĚ
Mexico, Central America, Latin America, and the Caribbean, with their penchant for chicken, the world‚Äôs most popular protein, seemed logical choices. These markets were close enough to facilitate the affordable export of Wing Zone‚Äôs products and allowed for hands-on supervision by the operations team, just an easy hop from Miami International Airport.
Industry heavyweights such as KFC and Burger King had already demonstrated success in the region. In addition, there seemed to be room for a niche player devoted primarily to made-to-order chicken wings, with signature sauces that would cater to the region‚Äôs appetite for spicy flavors.
‚ÄúDelivery concepts are really thriving in these markets,‚ÄĚ Friedman says. ‚ÄúThe buffalo wing as a core menu concept really hasn‚Äôt penetrated yet.‚ÄĚ
Adds co-founder and CFO Adam Scott in the same September interview: ‚ÄúCentral and South America‚ÄĒthey‚Äôre not having the same economic struggles as the rest of the world is. That was definitely a factor in where we would start our initial push.‚ÄĚ
While Friedman and Scott oversaw pieces of the broader strategy, including financing and legal, work on the ground was spearheaded by two newcomers: chief operating officer Casey McEwen, a former Wing Zone consultant with executive experience at chicken concepts including Mrs. Winner‚Äôs Chicken & Biscuits and Lee‚Äôs Famous Recipe Chicken; and vice president of international development Hair Parra, a Venezuelan-born franchising executive with longstanding expertise in Spanish-speaking markets.
McEwen would run point from Atlanta, providing Parra with marketing, training, and other resources from the operations team and leveraging key affiliations such as Coca-Cola for its renowned market research.
‚ÄúOne of the big things that surprised me was how a national brand here reinvents itself down there.‚ÄĚ
Working from a Miami office, Parra would function as the only executive exclusively focused on the international efforts, locating potential franchisees, suppliers, and other contacts critical to phasing in the new markets. He understood the competitive landscape, having previously brought brands such as Papa John‚Äôs and Domino‚Äôs Pizza into the region.
Poultry would be sourced locally, but the chain‚Äôs 15 proprietary sauces, including flavors like Sweet Teriyaki, Thai Chili, and Nuclear, as well as its signature fries, would likely have to be flown in from the states, at least in the short term.
Wing Zone determined the best partnership model for expansion into the region would be area developers, savvy insiders who knew the lay of the land, had access to financing, and offered established local connections. Unlike franchise brokers, they would also be directly accountable for performance with hands-on responsibility for restaurants.
‚ÄúFor us, we‚Äôre getting into business with people that are operating the business,‚ÄĚ Friedman says. ‚ÄúThose first few countries we go to‚ÄĒthe units have to be so buttoned up and focused. I don‚Äôt want to jeopardize that by selling franchises to a bunch of different people.‚ÄĚ
Parra worked his extensive sourcing network to uncover a series of qualified leads. In mid-September, he and the team were entering late-stage negotiations with a Panama-based group of four young men whose strengths included strong family backgrounds in the restaurant and beverage industries. Panama, it seemed, was shaping up be the first non-U.S. market to house a Wing Zone restaurant.
The country, whose main trading partner is the U.S., serves as a strategic bridge connecting North and South America. Its thriving port of Panama City, with a population of 1.1 million, constant influx of tourists, and strong service sector, seemed ripe with opportunity.
‚ÄúPanama loves American brands,‚ÄĚ says William LeSante, a Miami-based international consultant who specializes in helping food and restaurant companies move into new markets.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre going through a massive expansion now,‚ÄĚ he says, noting the advent of several major shopping malls. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a lot of building going on.‚ÄĚ
McEwen, who spent time scouting Panama and El Salvador earlier in the year, had noticed other trends, as well, namely local eating patterns. Diners, he observed, were not harried like their U.S. counterparts and seemed more family focused. People sat down to eat; even at quick serves, tables turned more slowly. The primarily delivery-centered Wing Zone footprint would need some retooling.
‚ÄúOne of the big things that surprised me,‚ÄĚ McEwen says, ‚Äúwas how a national brand here reinvents itself down there. You have to blend with the eating habits of the people.‚ÄĚ
The initial stores in each market would have high visibility, crucial to creating brand recognition, and would call for the most dramatic change‚ÄĒdouble the footprint to 2,000 square feet. The new space would accommodate seating for 50‚Äď60 patrons who would be offered table service, as well as beer and wine. Delivery would remain an essential component, with stores housing a fleet of on-site motor scooters, in keeping with the local custom.
‚ÄúEvery location may not be cookie-cutter the same,‚ÄĚ says McEwen, noting that some subsequent units might be designed as take out and delivery only.
Wing Zone‚Äôs domestic marketing strategies, which rely heavily on tactics such as door hangers and direct mail, are expected to transfer easily to Panama, McEwen says. He was working with the Atlanta team to have some of the chain‚Äôs standard templates translated. ‚ÄúOne of the ways we market is feet on the street,‚ÄĚ he says.
Meanwhile, throughout much of the year, Scott kept his international focus on the contractual details necessary to hammer out the deals, spending time coordinating legal documents between attorneys in the states and those abroad. The process was often frustrating and frequently required more time than had been allotted.
‚ÄúIf you don‚Äôt have the correct legal documents, that entire process taken care of, you really can‚Äôt do anything,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôve got to have the teeth in your agreement to make sure everything stays on track.‚ÄĚ
Scott stresses the importance of laying the ground work, noting that Wing Zone had secured trademarks in 10 countries long before it began expansion plans in earnest.
Preparation was a pervasive theme. Even as the reality of the Panama deal loomed closer, Parra continued to pursue potential area-developer candidates as they arose, including prospects in El Salvador, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, and later in the year, Mexico and Brazil. If the concept really was going to work in these markets, it would require economies of scale. Relationships are everything, and they take time to develop, he says.
‚ÄúYou will have at least three meetings with these people before you even sign the contract,‚ÄĚ says Parra of any new area developers. ‚ÄúBefore they open we take a team 10 days before the store opens and then we stay 10 days after. And they will come here for training, which could be between three to six weeks.‚ÄĚ
Bridging cultural gaps is one of his strengths. For final negotiations with the Panama group, which was selected from three final candidates, Parra planned to stay at the home of one of the principals, a scenario not unusual when doing business in this part of the world. Once deals reach the final stages, candidates often bring additional members of their family into the meetings. A lack of awareness of these customs could threaten to derail an otherwise solid agreement.
‚ÄúOne of the things that will get people really upset is if you don‚Äôt have respect for their family,‚ÄĚ Parra says.
In October, he disclosed somewhat cautiously in an interview with QSR that several hopeful markets‚ÄĒVenezuela, Honduras, and Nicaragua‚ÄĒhad been put on hold due to the tenuous political environments in those countries and concern that relations with the U.S. could erode. Politics and economic stability must be carefully weighed. ‚ÄúRight now a lot of companies are leaving because they don‚Äôt feel stable,‚ÄĚ Parra says.
Meanwhile some other, more hopeful, curve balls were thrown at the management team. As traction in Central America was building, Wing Zone was approached by a private investment firm adept at taking American brands into the prized Japanese market, where they frequently experience significantly higher unit sales. Reacting to what they viewed as an opportunity they could not pass up, the management team hammered out a 50-store deal with San Francisco‚Äďbased Pacific Rim Partners.
‚ÄúJapan is a very difficult country to penetrate,‚ÄĚ says Scott, who along with the rest of the team discussed the plans with QSR in October after Wing Zone had secured a signed letter of intent. ‚ÄúIf you don‚Äôt have the right partner or the right people on the ground, it can be very difficult to get started. We‚Äôre optimistic we have a great partner.‚ÄĚ
In contrast to the Central America model, Pacific Rim would become a master franchisee, giving it rights to run its own restaurants as well as sell off additional franchises in the market. They would split franchise and royalty fees 50-50. Because real estate in cities such as Tokyo is at a premium, smaller-scale stores were being planned in a bid to cash in on Japan‚Äôs preferences for take out and delivery.
About that same time, another deal with longer-term international potential was finalized. AAFES, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, an agency of the Department of Defense that franchises concepts on behalf of the U.S. military, signed on with Wing Zone to develop 10 initial stores on domestic military bases.
‚ÄúIt secures us a place not only domestically but also internationally,‚ÄĚ says McEwen, who was confident that AAFES would eventually bring Wing Zone to some of its overseas bases, giving the brand additional toeholds in foreign markets.
The new opportunities seemed like a lot to digest, but the team appeared willing to juggle multiple projects. In late November, they turned their attention squarely back to Panama after Wing Zone and the selected area developers inked the final contract, securing the chain‚Äôs first international deal.
‚ÄúWe think there‚Äôs a lot of potential in the market,‚ÄĚ says Diqueos Tagaropulos, who heads the area-developer group and is its largest stakeholder. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an amazing product.‚ÄĚ His group will develop at least five stores in the Panama City area within the first five years. With some luck and additional financing, they‚Äôll also move into El Salvador and Guatemala for a projected total of 25 stores. Both sides seemed hopeful that with shorter build-out cycles than in the U.S., the first restaurant would open its doors within the first three months of 2010.
By the time of QSR‚Äôs last interview with the brand, Friedman and Scott were busy running through final numbers, weighing time and investment against expectations for the region. Through November they had spent some $300,000 on the expansion efforts, including salary, travel, and legal costs, slightly above projections. The final tally would be even higher, as the Atlanta executives would make repeated visits throughout the year to check on Panama‚Äôs progress.
While they expected food costs to be roughly even with those in the U.S., the company would catch a significant break on labor in the new stores, allowing for margins that could double those of its domestic units. At the end of 2009, executives were betting the initial restaurants would exceed $900,000 in average unit volumes, far surpassing U.S. averages, which in 2008 tracked at $585,000. With the numbers looking good and the time frame on track, the team appeared satisfied with the progress of their new venture.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs been a very well-thought-out plan,‚ÄĚ Friedman says in the most-recent interview. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs takes capital. It takes planning. It takes good people. We believe we‚Äôve got it completely covered.‚ÄĚ
Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation‚Äôs Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.
Globetrotting has returned with a vengeance, so having one of the best international phone plans from U.S. carriers will be essential for your next trip. Since you last left the U.S., the best phone carriers have overhauled their plans, and that includes the extra services available to travelers. The current plans from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon even feature specific travel benefits for those who head overseas.
Best international phone plans
Knowing what your options are for staying connected on overseas trips can save you big on unnecessary fees and data overages. The best international phone plans will let you make calls and browse the web when you're in another country (though there might be a fee on top of your normal monthly rate, depending on which carrier you use). Different plans might cover different countries, and how long you plan on traveling could also impact your choice of plans. Your method of travel ‚ÄĒ be it by plane or cruise ship ‚ÄĒ also affects which plan is best for you.
All of these are things for globetrotters to consider when shopping for the best cell phone plan ‚ÄĒ which will probably be one of the best unlimited data plans since they tend to offer the most travel-related perks. Here‚Äôs a look at the travel policies and perks for the three top U.S carriers along with information on Google Fi, which offers a plan that definitely appeals to frequent travelers.
T-Mobile international phone plans
T-Mobile offers an expanded array of plans, though most of its unlimited data plan options have some benefits for overseas travel. Subscribe to Magenta, Magenta Max, Go5G or Go5G Plus, and you enjoy unlimited data and texting in more than 215 countries around the world. If you want to place or receive calls, you‚Äôll be subject to the local rate depending on where you want to go. You don‚Äôt need to notify T-Mobile of your travel for your overseas benefits to kick in.
Travel perks in current plans: As part of T-Mobile's Beyond Connected program, data speeds now reach 256 kbps when you're overseas. If you subscribe to either the standard Magenta or Go5G plans and you're in one of 11 European countries, you can enjoy 5GB of high-speed data every month, thanks to a partnership with T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telecom.
The perk gets better when you upgrade to either Magenta Max or GoPro Plus, both of which cost $15 more a month than their respective base plans. In that case, you can benefit from 5GB of high-speed data in 215 countries.
T-Mobile customers can take advantage of free Wi-Fi on American, Delta, Alaska Airlines and United flights. Magenta Max and Go5G Plus subscribers get full texting and Wi-Fi with streaming during flights, where wireless is available. If you go with the standard Magenta or Go5G option, you're covered on four flights per year with full streaming, plus unlimited texting; after those four flights, you can stream one hour of video. Delta SkyMiles members also get free Wi-Fi on domestic U.S. flights courtesy of T-Mobile ‚ÄĒ even if they get their wireless service from another carrier.
In Mexico and Canada, T-Mobile allows you to use up to 5GB of data whether you've got Magenta or Magenta Max; speeds are slowed to 2G after that. Go5G customers get 10GB of data in those two countries, while Go5G Plus members enjoy 15GB.
T-Mobile includes travel benefits in its senior plans, whether you get the Go5G option for people 55 years and older or the Magenta 55 Plus option. Pricing starts at $70 total for two subscribers on Magenta 55 Plus, while Go5G Plus 55 tops out at $100 for two lines. It's part of the reason why T-Mobile heads the list of the best cell phone plans for seniors.
If you opt for T-Mobile's lower cost Essentials unlimited plan, you'll get 2G roaming in Canada and Mexico, but have to pay for data elsewhere.
Trip-specific passes: T-Mobile offers International Pass options for travelers who want high-speed data during lengthier stays overseas. A 5GB International Pass gives you that much high-speed data along with unlimited calling for 10 days. It costs $35. T-Mobile's $50 International Pass increases high-speed data to 15GB and extends the length of the pass to 30 days. The carrier also offers a $5 daily pass that gives you 512MB of high-speed data, and unlimited calling between the 215 or so Simple Global destinations.¬†
Cruise rates: Pricing on cruises will vary according to which cruise you‚Äôre taking. You can check T-Mobile‚Äôs site to see what your pricing will be.
Verizon international phone plans
Verizon phones generally work all over the world, especially if you've got a phone built in the last few years. But where you travel significantly influences how much you‚Äôll have to pay. As for which is the best Verizon phone plan for travelers, that all depends on how frequently you go overseas. There's a clear choice for regular globetrotters, but Verizon's less expensive offerings allow you to tack on travel benefits, too.
Travel perks in current plans: Verizon pared down its unlimited plans from six to just three. The best for frequent travelers is the Unlimited Ultimate option, which lets you use talk and text in other countries just like you would in the U.S. You also get 10GB of high-speed data to use overseas every month.
Unfortunately, Unlimited Ultimate is Verizon's most expensive plan, costing $90 a month for one line. (And that's after a discount for enrolling autopay.) There are cheaper options ‚ÄĒ Unlimited Welcome and Unlimited Plus ‚ÄĒ that include travel perks. Both plans let you text internationally to 200-plus countries. You can also use LTE data when traveling in Mexico and Canada. You're limited to 0.5GB of data consumption per day in those two countries before your speeds are slowed to 2G, and you can't use more than half of your talk, text and data in those countries over a 60-day period.
In addition to the base Welcome Unlimited and Unlimited Plus packages, you can opt for $10 monthly add-ons for your Verizon plan ‚ÄĒ some covering streaming services, another providing hotspot data and so on. The relevant package is Verizon's $10/month 3 TravelPass Days add-on, which saves you $20 a month on travel benefits as you pick up three passes during monthly billing cycles. You can accrue up to 36 passes for using talk, text and data when traveling overseas.
Unlimited Welcome starts at $65/month for one line, while Unlimited Plus is $80. If you have a family plan, you can mix and match so that different lines of data subscribe to different plans ‚ÄĒ helpful if there's one person in the family who travels a lot and would benefit from the Unlimited Ultimate perks.
Trip-specific passes: Let's talk a little bit more about the TravelPass. It's Verizon's daily option for international coverage, and it‚Äôll cost you $5 per day per device for each day you‚Äôre out of the country if you travel to Mexico or Canada and don't have an unlimited plan. In 185 other countries ‚ÄĒ including China, France and Germany ‚ÄĒ Verizon charges $10 per device per day.¬†TravelPass gets you 2GB of 5G data, and unlimited data at 3G speeds after that; the passes also come with unlimited talk and text.
If you know you‚Äôll be traveling for a bit more time, consider Verizon‚Äôs monthly option. International Monthly Plans at Verizon cost $100/month, but in exchange, you get 250 minutes of talk, unlimited texts and 20GB of high-speed data. (Use that, and you get unlimited data at 3G speeds.)
Verizon also offers pay-as-you-go pricing for international travel. You‚Äôll pay 99 cents per minute in Canada and Mexico, Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. Rates go up to $1.79 in 130-plus countries and $2.99 in 80 other places. Each text message you send will cost you 50 cents, and each received text will set you back 5 cents. Your data will be charged at a rate of $2.05 per megabyte no matter where you are.
Cruise rates: Verizon charges $2.99 per minute for voice and 50 cents for every sent text message. You‚Äôll pay 5 cents per message received. Data costs $20 for a monthly plan, and you only get a meager 50MB. Verizon says that pricing also applies to plans on select airplanes.
AT&T international phone plans
AT&T also comes with varied international pricing depending on where you want to go. Canada and Mexico travel is covered in many top AT&T plans, and if you pay up for the Unlimited Premium option, you can use your plan in many Central and South American countries. Traveling elsewhere? Then you had best look into AT&T's travel passes.
Travel perks in current plans: If you‚Äôre heading to Mexico or Canada, AT&T already covers all of your voice, data and text with its four different unlimited plans ‚ÄĒ Starter, Extra, Premium and the entry-level Value Plus option. AT&T offers a lone tiered data plan with 4GB of data that you can use in Canada and Mexico (though roaming may be at 2G speeds). Both unlimited and tiered data plans feature unlimited texting to 120-plus countries.
The Unlimited Premium plan is the best option for travelers headed to the Americas, as you'll be able to enjoy unlimited text, talk and data at no additional cost in 19 Central and South American countries.
If you do a lot of international calling from home, AT&T offers unlimited calling to 85-plus countries from the U.S. for $15 per month for each line. Calls to another 140-plus countries get discounted rates under this plan.
Trip-specific passes: For anyone off to Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America or the Asia Pacific region on a short jaunt, AT&T recommends its $10-a-day International Day Pass, which comes with unlimited talk and text and data governed by your plan. (Note that each device you take overseas will need its own Day Pass.) That service is available in 210-plus countries, and you can add extra phones for just $5 a day.
You'll never have to pay for more than 10 days of day passes on any one bill, even if your trip lasts longer. International Day Passes also kick in automatically when you use your phone abroad ‚ÄĒ you get a text message letting you know you're covered.
Cruise rates: On cruises, AT&T offers a $60/month Cruise Basic plan that covers 100 minutes of talk and unlimited texting while also offering 100MB of data. Need more of everything? Then try the Cruise Plus plan ($100/month), which includes 1GB of data on top of unlimited talk and text.¬†
Google Fi international phone plans
If you do a lot of international traveling, don't ignore Google Fi Wireless, the wireless service set up by Google that uses cellular towers of T-Mobile and US Cellular to provide coverage. International travel is built into two of Google Fi's plans ‚ÄĒ the Unlimited Plus and Flexible options.
Travel perks in current plans: You've got two options with Google Fi ‚ÄĒ tiered data through the company's Flexible plan or a pair of unlimited data options. Flexible coverage costs $20 a month for talk and text plus $10 for each GB of data you use. (Data usage is rounded off to the nearest megabyte so you only pay for the data you consume.) Google stops charging you after you use 6GB a month, meaning you'll never pay more than $80.¬†
If you find unlimited data plans more appealing, Google has you covered there, too ‚ÄĒ it also offers a $65 Unlimited Plus option that rolls in unlimited talk, text and data. Unlimited Plus subscribers now get a year of YouTube Premium as a perk.¬†
The real benefit to either Unlimited Plus or Flexible is that those plans cover you when you're traveling in 200-plus countries. When you're overseas, Google Fi charges the same rate for data usage, whether you're on an unlimited data plan or paying by the gigabyte. Voice calls cost 20 cents (though calls placed over Wi-Fi are free) and you get unlimited SMS messaging.¬†
Alas, Google's $50/month Simply Unlimited plan is not eligible for the free data perk when traveling. That said, all three of Google Fi's plans let you use talk, text and data in Mexico and Canada.
Google Fi is even more appealing now that Google has opened up service to all phones, including iPhones. Note that phones optimized for Google Fi ‚ÄĒ Google's Pixel phones (currently the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro, Pixel Fold and Pixel 7a) ¬†along with a selection of Samsung phones and Motorola budget devices ‚ÄĒ can switch seamlessly between cellular networks and Google's Wi-Fi hotspots, while other phones cannot.
Trip-specific passes: Unlike the other carriers here, Google Fi doesn't offer travel passes for extended trips. Your only option is to get coverage through the Flexible and Unlimited Plus plans.
Cruise rates: Google Fi is not available when you're at sea ‚ÄĒ only when you're on land in one of the 200-plus countries covered by the carrier.
Best international phone plan: Device compatibility and eSims
Traveling overseas used to mean checking to see if your phone would be compatible once you set foot in another country. But those days are drawing to a close now that 3G networks are shutting down, eliminating much of the distinction between phones that work on either GSM and CDMA. If you've got a latest smartphone that connects to LTE, chances are strong it's going to work just fine in other countries. (You still might want to confirm that your phone works on the LTE bands available in the country you're heading to prior to your trip, just to avoid any unpleasant surprises.)
Many phones now support electronic SIM cards or eSIM technology, where you no longer need to swap in a local SIM card to make your smartphone work with an overseas network. (Since the iPhone 14, Apple devices sold in the U.S. only feature eSIM support ‚ÄĒ that includes the newer iPhone 15 models.) One of our editors took an international trip using an eSIM for her phone and found it easy to setup and use with a local network ‚ÄĒ in fact, she plans to use the eSIM approach on all future travel.¬†
That said, not every country supports eSIM. And depending on your phone carrier in the U.S., you might already have options that cover your phone use in other countries.
International phone plans: What about 5G?
As noted above, many of the plans that offer international travel either have you connect at whatever speed is available locally or at a reduced speed in cases where you're drawing from your own data plan. But what if you've got a 5G phone that can connect to faster networks overseas?
For the most part, we'd expect your phone to operate as before, either at whatever speed the local network offers or a capped speed if that's part of your carrier's travel plans. However, in a few instances, U.S. phone carriers have started making deals with overseas wireless providers that allow their customers to access 5G speeds when roaming. You should check with your carrier for information about the country you're going to travel in.
Best overall plan: Mint Mobile (Any 3-month plan)
Pros: Easy plan management, reliable coverage on T-Mobile's network, exceptional customer support
Cons: No discounts for multiple lines
Mint Mobile's prepaid plans for three, six, or twelve months offer affordable options for customers to easily manage all lines on their plan in one place and adjust their data allotments at any time.
The overall experience as a customer is what makes Mint Mobile stand out among its competitors ‚ÄĒ its user-friendly setup and app experience, with readily accessible support and FAQs, make it an easy choice in addition to its inviting pricing.¬†
Your best point of entry into the Mint Mobile landscape is the MVNO's current new customer promotion that sets each of its three-month prepaid plans at discounted rates. The promotion starts at just $15 per month for 5GB of data and goes up to $30 per month for the "unlimited" plan, which offers 40GB of monthly data (subject to deprioritization in congested areas), with slower speeds once you've hit that cap.
After your promotional three months are up, however, the plans reset to their standard rates, and any of Mint's 12-month plans will provide the most savings in the long run. All are great deals, and in particular, the 5GB ($15 per month) and 15GB ($20 per month) plans are well-priced considering the competition.
Consider your data usage patterns before signing up, but know that you can change your plan at any time with no added cost, and make sure to keep tabs on the best Mint Mobile plans and deals if you plan to stick around.¬†
Read our full Mint Mobile review.¬†
Best true budget plan: Tello Mobile (Build Your Own plan)
Pros: Data and minutes customization per line, free hotspot tethering
Cons: No discounts for multiple lines, no international roaming options, not ideal for high data users
Tello Mobile's plans are the cheapest we can recommend, and they offer the most customization.
With Tello's Build Your Own plan in particular, you can adjust the minutes and data allotment for each line on your account, making it a great choice to cover the basics for a teen, grandparent, student, or anyone who uses a minimum amount of data or is simply on a budget.
As you build your own plan, you choose your monthly data amount (from no data to 500MB, 1GB, 2GB, 5GB, 10GB, or unlimited) and your monthly minutes (none, 100, 300, 500, or unlimited), the combination of which adds up to $5 per month at the cheapest and $29 per month at the most expensive.¬†
The Build Your Own plan is particularly nice if you want to specify a data allotment per line ‚ÄĒ for example, setting data limits for a teen who just got their first phone while allowing them unlimited minutes.¬†
Read our full Tello Mobile review.
Best unlimited plan: Visible Wireless (Visible+ plan)
Pros: Dependable coverage on Verizon's network, 50GB of guaranteed high-speed monthly data, unlimited hotspot data
Cons: No discounts for multiple lines
For high-speed data and extensive coverage, Verizon has your back with Visible Wireless. Our top pick for a budget unlimited plan is Visible's upgraded Visible+ plan, which is available (until January 2, 2024) at a promotional rate of $35 per month for six months ‚ÄĒ a $10 discount from its typical rate of $45 per month, and one of the best Visible deals we've seen.¬†
While the Visible+ plan has the highest price point of all the MVNOs we've included in this list, even with its current promotion, it also provides by far the most high-speed monthly data and the closest approximation to "unlimited" data, as it guarantees 50GB of high-speed data before you experience any form of deprioritization.
Most of the nominally "unlimited" plans from MVNOs ‚ÄĒ including Visible's base unlimited plan ($25 per month) ‚ÄĒ offer data that is subject to deprioritization at any time behind the higher-paying customers of the MVNO's backing network. If you're in an area with a lot of network congestion, you could encounter deprioritized speeds at any time on such an "unlimited" plan, but you won't see any deprioritization within your monthly allotment of¬† 50GB of high-speed data on the Visible+ plan.
The Visible+ plan also provides extended coverage with 5G "Ultra Wideband" areas, though Verizon's standard coverage (and the Visible base plan's coverage) is already very good. Before signing up, make sure to check Visible's coverage map to ensure you're covered.¬†¬†
Read our full Visible Wireless review.
Best international plan: Google Fi Wireless (Flexible plan)
Pros: International data roaming, low-cost international calling and texting, additional coverage for "Designed for Fi" devices
Cons: Data prices can rack up quickly, less coverage and support for iPhones
Google Fi Wireless has three plans at different pay tiers, each offering access to coverage by T-Mobile and benefits like VPN usage and select smartwatch compatibility ‚ÄĒ with enhanced coverage and support for a list of Android phones that Google has deemed "Designed for Fi."
Google Fi Wireless' lowest-tier Flexible plan allows for pay-what-you-use data at $10 per GB per month, plus the base price of $20 per phone line, and it's the best international budget plan for those traveling or staying abroad from the US.¬†
The Flexible plan offers international roaming for the same price as domestic data usage at $10 per GB, so you won't have to worry about being charged more while using your phone internationally. Even if you end up using a lot of data while you're away, a feature called Bill Protection, unique to the Flexible plan, caps your monthly cost at $80 for a single line to prevent exorbitant fees from overages.¬†
Texting is free internationally in more than 200 countries on the Flexible plan, and international calls are available at the low rate of $0.20 per minute.¬†
Read our full Google Fi Wireless review.¬†
How we test cell phone plans
In our testing, we spend at least a week with a specific plan from a phone carrier, often longer, and primarily assess the quality of the plan and carrier by the following criteria:
We also take into account secondary considerations such as ongoing discounts and any other notable perks or outstanding features.
What to look for in a cheap cell phone plan
If you're looking to spend less money each month on a cell phone plan, you have no shortage of options, as affordable carriers have proliferated in latest years.¬†
The best cheap cell phone plan for you will primarily reflect your needs for monthly data and minutes, the constraints of your budget, and the coverage of your local area by the network or networks backing a particular plan.¬†
We set a few baseline criteria in choosing plans for this guide, in that all of the plans listed above cost less than $50 per month and, as with most MVNO plans, do not require a contract.
Before signing up for a service, take a granular look at the coverage map that an MVNO should make readily accessible on their website ‚ÄĒ marking the US network range of its backing carrier ‚ÄĒ and appraise the coverage of your location to ensure dependable service.¬†
You should also know that budget carriers often offer evolving discounted rates that make their plans even more affordable. For instance, the best Mint Mobile plans are frequently available at significant deals, and you can find some of the best deals on the market from Visible's two phone plans.¬†
Does Travel Insurance Cover Covid-19?
Most travel insurance policies provide trip cancellation insurance and trip interruption insurance if you test positive for Covid and need to cancel or are required by a doctor to quarantine. That means if your trip is canceled or interrupted because you test positive for Covid, you can be reimbursed for pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs.
Most medical travel insurance covers you if you contract the virus during your trip and need medical attention. You can be reimbursed up to the limits in your policy for doctor and hospital bills, lab work and medicine, among other types of treatment.
Generally, travel insurance companies are treating Covid-19 like any other illness, but not all do. Epidemics and pandemics can be considered ‚Äúforeseeable events‚ÄĚ once declared by federal or international health agencies, which means in some cases travel insurance benefits may not apply. That‚Äôs why it‚Äôs imperative to review your policy for any possible exclusions.
Does Travel Insurance Cover Quarantine?
There are travel insurance policies that can cover unexpected expenses if you have to quarantine in another country. But in order for any benefits to apply for most of these plans, you must test positive for Covid-19 and your travel insurance plan must cover Covid-related expenses.
If you get sick abroad from the virus, a plan‚Äôs travel medical benefits can also kick in if it‚Äôs travel insurance that covers Covid-19.
‚ÄúTravel insurance policies that provide benefits if a traveler contracts Covid-19 can also extend their coverage past the original return date, typically up to seven days,‚ÄĚ says Steven Benna, a spokesperson for Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider.
Related: When should I use a home Covid test?
Quarantine-Related Travel Insurance Coverage
The following travel insurance benefits can offer coverage for the costs of quarantining, assuming the plan covers Covid-19 expenses.
Travel Delay Insurance
Travel delay insurance can cover the cost of your accommodations and meals during a quarantine if you have contracted the virus. If you are forced to stay beyond your return date due to a positive test, this coverage can be extended for up to seven days.
‚ÄúPolicies with this benefit provide a range of total coverage between $100 and $2,000 per person, with a daily limit that ranges from $50 to $300,‚ÄĚ Benna says.
Trip Interruption Travel Insurance
Trip interruption travel insurance will reimburse you for missed portions of your trip if you‚Äôre forced into quarantine due to a positive Covid test. It can cover 100% to 200% of your prepaid and non-refundable trip costs, depending on the policy, says Benna.
For example, Trawick International‚Äôs Safe Travels Voyager Plan covers expenses if you‚Äôre forced to quarantine domestically or abroad due to a positive Covid test. ‚ÄúThese plans may also provide reimbursement for medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation expenses incurred if you are injured or sick while traveling on your trip,‚ÄĚ says Bailey Foster, a spokesperson for Trawick International.
‚ÄėCancel for Any Reason‚Äô (CFAR) Travel Insurance
Consider a plan that lets you upgrade with ‚Äúcancel for any reason‚ÄĚ travel insurance. This upgrade usually adds 50% to your travel insurance cost, but it will allow you to cancel your trip for any reason and get some reimbursement (usually 75%) of lost trip costs.
Your reason could be Covid-related, such as finding out that there‚Äôs a spike of Covid at your destination. Or your reason could be unrelated‚ÄĒfor example, you could make a CFAR claim because you don‚Äôt like the rainy outlook at your beach resort.
If you want CFAR coverage, make sure to buy a travel insurance plan and add CFAR soon after you make your first trip deposit. There‚Äôs usually a purchase deadline for CFAR, such as two weeks.
‚ÄėInterruption for Any Reason‚Äô Travel Insurance
If you‚Äôre concerned about being forced into a quarantine while on your trip due to a positive Covid test, standard trip interruption insurance can reimburse you for parts of your trip that you miss‚ÄĒif your plan has coverage for Covid. For instance, you can file a claim under trip interruption benefits if you paid in advance for non-refundable hotel stays, tours or entertainment and can‚Äôt participate because you have the virus and have to quarantine.
But what if you don‚Äôt have Covid and are required to comply with a mandatory quarantine? That‚Äôs where ‚Äúinterruption for any reason‚ÄĚ travel insurance would help. ‚ÄúInterruption for any reason‚ÄĚ coverage is offered as an upgrade from a small number of travel insurance companies. If you have this upgrade, you can be reimbursed for portions of your trip that you miss if you have to quarantine but don‚Äôt have Covid. It can also pay for transportation expenses to get you caught up to your planned itinerary.
‚ÄúInterruption for any reason‚ÄĚ isn‚Äôt a common benefit, but the following companies offer it on some plans: iTravelInsured, Nationwide, Seven Corners and Travel Insured International and WorldTrips.
Other Travel Insurance Benefits to Consider
The best Covid travel insurance policies will also include coverage for:
When Edward Tsien booked a trip to Bucharest, Romania, through Kayak, he noticed something he'd never seen on a travel site: an offer to buy an eSIM to stay connected when he was in Europe.
"I've seen hotels, car rentals, all sorts of insurance, and even a tour package in my booking path," says Tsien, a computer research scientist from Boston. "But not an eSIM offer."
He'd better get used to it.
Selling eSIMs through a travel site is a fast moving trend. Kayak's partnership with Celitech, a business-to-business creator of eSIM products, is only the first in a series of agreements that could revolutionize the way you get connected when you're abroad ‚ÄĒ and maybe even, at home.
What's revolutionary about eSIM technology?
The latest phones have the ability to download an eSIM (short for embedded SIM) which allows you to activate a cellular data plan without having to use a physical SIM card. In the short term, that renders all of those little airport shops that sell physical SIM cards obsolete. But down the road, it could disrupt the telecommunications industry, making the need for cellular plans as dated as a rotary phone.
More than 1.5 billion smartphones globally will have eSIMs for cellular connectivity by next year, and that number is projected to grow to 3.5 billion by 2027.
"eSIM technology is a game-changer," says Al Fares, the CEO of Celitech. "It is a new way of consumer communication services ‚ÄĒ and right now, the low-hanging fruit is travel."
That's how the meta-search engine Kayak sees it, too. International travel has been trending upwards for the last year, with flight and hotel searches up between 13% and 28% for 2024, according to the company.
"As international travel continues to rise, the significance of eSIM cards has become increasingly relevant," says Alex Hlivka, director of commercial partnerships at Kayak. ‚ÄúRecognizing the necessity, particularly among budget-conscious travelers, we‚Äôve partnered with Celitech so staying connected and informed when on the road is as easy and seamless as possible.‚ÄĚ
But why are international travelers getting these eSIM offers when they book travel? What are the benefits of eSIM technology, and what will it do in the future? The answer is: Much more than you would think.
Why travelers are getting the eSIM pitch
If you travel internationally, chances are you'll see an eSIM offer at some point.
"No matter where your travels take you, keeping your phone connected is a must," explains Abe Burak, co-founder of Airalo, a business-to-consumer provider of eSIMs. "But the traditional methods of connectivity when traveling ‚ÄĒ roaming fees, the hassle of finding a physical SIM card, navigating provider international data packages, or staying offline altogether ‚ÄĒ can be hugely frustrating and unsafe."
Also, travel companies are hurry to get their name in front of you. Since 47% of all travel bookings are made on mobile, seeing the name of your online travel agency on your phone whenever you look at it is a powerful incentive to buy travel through a site like Kayak.
So what are the benefits of using an eSIM over a regular SIM card or a cellular calling plan?
With all of those advantages, it's a wonder that more travelers haven't used eSIM technology. But adopting new technology takes time. For people who have tried it, there is no going back to the old way of communicating. (Related: What to do when you lose your phone while traveling.)
How eSIMs are helping travelers
International travelers say eSIM technology can help them stay connected for less money.
Eric Newman, a travel advisor who specializes in trips to Iceland, says he's impressed with the way eSIM technology can save money. He's started recommending eSIMs to his clients recently.
The economics are pretty simple, and persuasive. If you want to use your Verizon or AT&T plan in Iceland, it'll cost you an extra $10 a day. Instead, Newman bought an eSIM, which cost him $10 for 3GB of data, which lasted the entire week.
Paul Yawn, a freelance videographer from Charlotte, saw an offer for a Celitech eSIM when he booked a latest trip to India. Buying 30 GB of data was far cheaper than buying an international plan through his wireless carrier. He says as long as he monitored his data usage, "Celitech was the way to go."
Eric Bilodeau, an artistic director for a film festival, was traveling to Germany when he saw an offer for an eSIM through Kayak. He hadn't planned on buying an international plan, but the price ‚ÄĒ $16 for 3GB of data ‚ÄĒ seemed like a bargain.
"It was a nice surprise to see that I could be Wi-Fi independent for such a reasonable fee," he says. "As fate would have it, my hotel Wi-Fi went down for over 24 hours, and I used my Celitech data to create a hotspot so I could continue working from the room."
Tsien, the researcher who bought an eSIM for his trip to Romania, says he was impressed with how easy it was to set everything up. It's as simple as scanning a QR code. He says he paid $14 for 3GB of data in Europe.
"It was entirely enough for my conference work and sightseeing," he says.
Bottom line: eSIMs are cheaper, easier and more flexible than conventional SIMs or calling plans. And that raises the question: Why limit this technology to international travelers?
The answer is: You don't have to.
What's the future of eSIM technology and travel?
Fares, Celitech's CEO, says selling eSIMs to international travelers is the beginning of a major disruption in communication. Many forward-looking users have already discarded their traditional calling plan in favor of an eSIM. Buying an eSIM almost always costs significantly less than a cellular data plan. But if you travel frequently, you can also buy an eSIM for coverage at a reduced price.
Fares says that as more phones accept eSIMs, adoption rates will soar. Domestic travelers are next. He sees a world in which airlines provide their most loyal customers eSIMs as a way of saying "thank you," and where you can buy eSIMs at Chevron and Starbucks.
"You can print a QR code on your receipt and scan it ‚ÄĒ and you're connected," he says.
That's right, you'll be able to get a gig with your latte someday.
It isn't too hard to imagine eSIMs everywhere in the near future. But before that happens, more phones have to accept the digital cards, and people have to get used to buying their data. There's also the one major downside of using an eSIM, which is that it doesn't come with a phone number. Most users have either switched to a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone service or don't have a phone at all and use services like Zoom or WhatsApp to stay connected.
eSIM technology has the potential to not only change the way travelers communicate, but also the way consumers stay connected.
"This is not only technology," says Fares. "This is a movement, and it‚Äôs here to stay."
I previously covered AECOM (NYSE:ACM) in early September. While the company has reported good results, provided encouraging FY24 guidance, and increased its share buyback authorization, the stock price has mimicked broader markets declining in October and then posting a swift recovery in November after the latest inflation data resulting in flattish stock price compared to my previous article. Looking ahead, ACM's revenue is set to experience good growth, supported by robust backlog levels that provide visibility into the company's short-term revenue prospects. Additionally, the company is poised to capitalize on robust demand in its Transportation, Environment, Water, and New Energy end-markets, driven by megatrends such as sustainability, resilience, and the ongoing energy transition. Multiyear tailwinds from federal infrastructure funding, like IIJA, further contribute to the positive outlook.
On the margin front, the company is expected to benefit from high-margin projects within the backlog and improved efficiency resulting from the rationalization of its real estate footprint. The valuation is also attractive when compared to its peers Tetra Tech (TTEK) and Stantec (STN). Considering the good growth prospects and a reasonable valuation, TTEK stock is a good buy at the current levels.
Revenue Analysis and Outlook
ACM has seen good growth in latest years driven by strong end-market demand. This trend continued in the fourth quarter of 2023. In Q4 FY2023, AECOM reported a 12.2% Y/Y increase in revenue to $3.8 billion with an 8.7% Y/Y growth in Net Service Revenue (NSR) benefitting from growth in its design business across all geographies. Organic NSR in the design business grew 10% Y/Y aided by strength in the Company's global water, transportation, and environment businesses, which are gaining from increased investment in infrastructure, sustainability and resilience, and the energy transition.
Americas revenues came in at $2.9 billion, reflecting a 6% Y/Y growth in NSR. The Y/Y growth in NSR was led by 9% growth in the design business, which was attributed to strong growth in water, transportation, and environment markets. In the International segment, revenues stood at $905.2 million with a 12.6% Y/Y growth in NSR driven by double-digit growth in transportation and strong growth in the water market.
Looking forward, the company's revenue growth prospects remain solid. The company's design business, which accounts for ~92% of the NSR, saw its contracted backlog increase 15% Y/Y in FY23 led by 21% growth in Americas design business. In the Construction Management business, which accounts for ~8% of the NSR, the company has about four years of work in its backlog. A company's backlog is a leading indicator of the company's revenues and the company's solid backlog levels provide good visibility on ACM's near to medium-term revenue growth prospects.
The company continues to benefit from favorable end-market demand driven by investments in infrastructure and megatrends like sustainability and resilience, and the energy transition. According to management, the funding from IIJA is beginning to flow in its markets and ACM's largest states and local clients are projecting double-digit growth in fiscal 2024. The company is well poised to benefit from this increased funding and its latest large wins from this funding like the lead design contract for IIJA funded Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project are expected to contribute more materially in the coming quarters. In addition to transportation projects, IIJA is also expected to benefit water infrastructure project demand where ACM has sizable exposure.
On the environment side, AECOM saw a double-digit Y/Y increase in backlog last quarter driven by a sizable win to support San Diego Gas and Electric's strategic undergrounding program, which is reducing wildfire risk by moving overhead power lines underground. The company's environment business is also benefiting from the sustainability and energy transition megatrend. Further, PFAS remediation work is gaining momentum given continued regulatory clarity and should be a good driver in the coming years.
While rising interest rates have resulted in some concerns around the commercial real estate business, it is only 3% of the company's total NSR including both construction management and the design business. This is much smaller compared to transportation (~35% of NSR), water (~24% of NSR), and environment (over 10% of NSR).
So, overall the company's growth outlook remains solid. Management has guided the company's organic Net Service Revenue (NSR) to grow between 8% and 10% in FY24. I believe this is achievable given the solid backlog levels and strong end-market demand.
Margin Analysis and Outlook
In Q4 2023, the adjusted operating margin on NSR expanded by 60 bps Y/Y to 15.2% driven by the acceleration of the company's margin expansion initiatives, including the optimization of office real estate and Y/Y increase in organic revenue. Segment Wise, adjusted operating margin (NSR) increased 60 bps Y/Y and 100 bps Y/Y in the Americas and International segments, respectively.
Looking forward, the company's margin outlook remains solid. The increase in end-market demand is helping the company win projects at higher margins and as this high-margin backlog gets converted to revenue it should lift the overall company's margins. The company is also focusing on rationalizing its real-estate footprint over the next few years which should benefit its margin in the medium term. After a good 60 bps improvement in FY23, management has guided for another 90 bps increase in the segment adjusted operating margin to 15.6% in FY24 driven by these factors. The company has given a target to reach ~17% segment adjusted operating margin by FY27, but given the latest improvement, it looks like it should be able to achieve the target before that. Management is planning to provide more details about its margin improvement opportunity during its upcoming investor day and I believe there is a possibility of positive revision in long-term margin expansion targets.
Valuation and Conclusion
AECOM is currently trading at a 19.44x FY24 consensus EPS estimate of $4.48 and a 17.16x FY25 consensus EPS estimate of $5.08. Compared to its peers Tetra Tech and Stantec which are trading between 20x to 30x P/E on forward earnings, the stock is trading at a discount despite similar or better growth prospects.
I like the company's strong near-term as well as long-term growth prospects benefiting from solid backlog levels, favorable end-market demand, federal infrastructure investments, good exposure to megatrends like sustainability and energy transition, high-margin projects in backlog, and real estate footprint rationalization. The company's strong growth prospects coupled with an attractive valuation make me positive about the stock and hence, I continue to maintain a buy rating.
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