RBC seeks Latam, Asia asset management deals

Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:06am EDT
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) is seeking small- to medium-sized acquisitions, particularly in Latin America and Asia, to build its equity capabilities in global asset management, the bank's head of wealth management said on Thursday.

"We're very strong in North America, and globally in fixed income, so we are interested in strengthening our international equity capabilities with a particular focus on Latin America and Asia," RBC Wealth Management group head George Lewis told Reuters in an interview.

RBC, the world's sixth-largest wealth manager, has sought to broaden its asset management capabilities beyond its fixed income base, as well as to build outside its North American and European strongholds.

"You'll see a primary focus from an acquisition point of view continuing in the asset manager area, perhaps more with a focus on the equities and alternatives and small- to medium-sized opportunities, given the nature of how you add capabilities in that particular area," Lewis said.

He said an acquisition that boosts the bank's asset management strength in Latin America or Asia is "the next logical step," adding the bank preferred to develop exclusive deals rather than to compete for assets with many bidders.

"I think our greatest chance of success of building something that meets our financial objectives, and is consistent with our strategy, is to be very proactive and exclusive in terms of our approach," Lewis said.

This doesn't mean the bank won't bid on a choice asset if competitors enter the fray, he said.

"If there were opportunities that came along that we felt were compelling, we'd obviously look at that," Lewis said.   Continued...

George Lewis, Global head of Wealth Management at the Royal Bank of Canada, speaks during the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in New York, October 4, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid