Meeting the Challenges of Global Banking
On November 24, 1899, The Royal Trust Company opened for business on Place D'Armes in Montreal. Beginning with a single staff member, the company owed part of its instant success to its strong Board of Directors, a turn of the century "who's who" including Sir William Van Horne, C.R. Hosmer, T. Shaughnessy, W.W. Ogilvie, W. Macdonald and Lord Strathcona as President. By the end of its first year in business, Royal Trust had $1.5 million in assets under administration.
By 1901, Royal Trust was ready to expand beyond its Head Office in Montreal, opening an agency in Toronto and its first international agency in St. John's, Newfoundland. The first full service branch was opened in Winnipeg in 1903 and by 1914 Royal Trust had branches in every principal city of Canada, as well as an agency in London, England. The pace of growth slowed during the First World War, but by 1920 assets under administration had reached $258 million. The Great Depression of the 1930s brought expansion to a halt but the Second World War brought new challenges to Royal Trust - safeguarding the personal assets of refugees from Europe and the bullion and other assets of allied nations. In 1949 trust assets under administration exceeded $1 billion for the first time.
The 1950s and 1960s saw the pace of expansion accelerate through the purchase of several domestic trust companies, greater market share in the mortgage lending field and the real estate business and continued international growth. Royal Trust has always been at the forefront of the trust industry with innovative products and services for its clientele. In 1956 Royal Trust led the industry by establishing Classified Funds for Pension Trusts, where companies not large enough to have their own pension fund could pool their funds with those of similar companies. Royal Trust became active in the Canadian money market, entered the emerging mutual fund industry, and expanded overseas and into the United States. On its 75th Anniversary in 1974, Royal Trust was the largest trust company in Canada and fifth in North America, with 130 offices across Canada, in the U.S. and Europe.
In September 1993, Royal Trust became part of RBC Financial Group, bringing its strength and leadership in personal and institutional trust, securities custody and investment management to Canada's largest financial institution. Today, the services provided by Royal Trust are part of RBC Investments (the wealth management division) and RBC Global Services (securities custody) within RBC Financial Group.