Address to Shareholders
Gordon M. Nixon
President & Chief Executive Officer
Royal Bank of Canada
144th Annual Meeting of Royal Bank of Canada
February 28, 2013
Thank you and good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the members of our team here in Alberta - and
our 80,000 employees around the world - welcome to RBC's annual
It is a pleasure to be here in Calgary, a vibrant and economically
dynamic city -- in a province known for its beauty, resources
and entrepreneurial spirit.
RBC's history in Alberta goes back over a hundred years,
to when we opened our first branch in Edmonton in 1906. Today
we employ more than 4,100 people in the province, have 137
branches and are privileged to serve more than one-in-three
We have an exceptional team here that has made this growth
possible. I'd like to recognize some of my colleagues: Bruce
MacKenzie, Royal Bank Regional President for Alberta and the
Territories; Derek Neldner, Managing Director of RBC Capital
Markets and Co-Head of our Global Energy Team; and our two
Capital Markets Vice-Chairmen, Bill Sembo and Gord Ritchie.
I also would like to acknowledge our Calgary based directors
- our Chairman, David O'Brien, and directors Rick George and
Tim Hearn. Over the years, our executives and directors from
Alberta have played a big role in our success.
I would be remiss not to mention Ted Newall and Peter Lougheed,
both long serving directors whose sage advice, support and
loyalty will always be part of our legacy.
Our bank has been honoured to play a role in Alberta's growth.
This province and, in particular, its energy sector have been
vital to Canada's economic success.
We are proud to be a global leader in the provision of financial
services to the energy sector and that leadership has been
built from our base in Calgary.
But Alberta is more than just energy. Many sectors are contributing
to its growth, including agriculture, technology, manufacturing
and healthcare, to name a few, and we are privileged to serve
over 110,000 small and medium sized businesses throughout
Before I go through our results, I'd like to emphasize that
Canada's strength and diversity have given RBC a strong foundation
Like Canada, RBC possesses a reputation for strength and
stability and sound risk management. And, like Canada, we
draw on the strength of our diversity, we value good governance,
and we strive to create an environment where talented and
skilled people can reach their full potential.
Being the leading bank in a country with a sound banking
system has provided a significant competitive advantage. In
short, we have the good fortune of being positioned to both
benefit from - and contribute to - the growing strength of
So how do we ensure that RBC lives up to its own potential?
I believe that the critical starting point is having a consistent
vision. Our vision is: "Always earning the right to be
our clients' first choice." We are in a client service
business, and RBC has always recognized that long-term success
will only come from providing value and advice to our customers.
RBC's strong foundation means we are well positioned to execute
our strategy and drive growth for our clients and for our
shareholders. While the market environment has forced many
of our competitors to restructure and change direction, our
long-term strategic goals remain consistent. Because we refrained
from many of the excesses of our global competitors leading
up to the economic crisis of 2008, we are one of the few global
banks whose business mix and strategic focus have remained
- In Canada, our goal is to be the undisputed leader in
- Globally, we strive to be a leading provider of capital
markets and wealth management solutions; and
- In targeted markets, we aim to be a leading provider of
select financial services complementary to our core strengths.
In Canada, we have an established leadership position and
continue to profitably extend this lead. Our objective is
to grow our Canadian Banking business at a 25 per cent premium
to the competition and we have consistently exceeded that
over the past number of years.
Outside Canada, we operate in areas where we have competitive
strengths and can leverage our leading Canadian franchises
to grow profitably. Our focus is on high net worth, corporate
and institutional clients in the United States, United Kingdom,
Europe and through emerging market hubs such as Singapore
and Hong Kong.
Our brand strength underpins our growth strategy. Not only
is the RBC brand as strong as it's ever been in Canada, but
internationally our brand has become known for integrity,
strength and safety.
Turning to our financial performance, it's clear that our
vision, strategy and commitment to our clients have served
us well. Our earnings in 2012 were not only a record for RBC
but were the largest ever for a Canadian company.
We had record results in three of our business segments -
Personal & Commercial Banking, Capital Markets and Insurance.
We delivered earnings of over 7.5 billion dollars, up 17
per cent from the prior year. On a continuing operations basis,
our earnings of 7.6 billion dollars were up nine per cent.
These results are a testament to our diversified business
model and our ability to execute our long-term growth strategy
while maintaining a prudent risk profile and disciplined cost
Last year our return on common equity was 19.5 per cent notwithstanding
our high capital ratios that were well above regulatory minimums.
Over the past year, we have gained market share across most
of our businesses, deepened client relationships, added new
clients and invested in building strong franchises in Canada
We have been actively managing costs relative to revenue
growth to improve our efficiency; this means we can reinvest
savings in our businesses.
We also continued to focus on effective deployment of capital,
including balancing investing in our businesses with returning
capital to our shareholders:
- we raised our dividend twice during 2012 for a total increase
of 11 per cent;
- we made strategic acquisitions, including buying out our
joint venture partner in our global custody business and
the acquisition of Ally Canada; and
- we put in place a share buyback program for 2013.
Thanks to our earnings power across businesses and geographies,
we achieved all of our financial performance objectives for
the year: Earnings Per Share Growth, Return on Equity, Capital
and Dividend Payout Ratios.
Our one-year Total Shareholder Return during fiscal 2012
was 22 per cent - the highest of the major Canadian banks.
Our objective is to achieve top quartile shareholder returns
over the medium term, as we believe this reflects a longer
term view of strong and consistent financial performance.
For the five-year period, we delivered top quartile returns
compared to our peer group.
And we are off to a strong start in 2013. This morning we
released our results for the first quarter, and we earned
over 2 billion dollars, up 12 per cent from last year and
eight per cent from last quarter.
Diluted EPS of a dollar thirty-six were up 11 per cent from
a year ago and our return on equity was 19.6 per cent.
Our Basel III common equity Tier 1 ratio of 9.3 per cent
is well ahead of both internal and regulatory requirements
and we continue to aggressively manage our balance sheet.
I am also pleased to tell you that we are further raising
our quarterly dividend by announcing this morning an increase
of three cents or five per cent. This is the fourth dividend
increase in two years, representing a total increase of 26
per cent since the first quarter of 2011.
All of our businesses contributed to our strong results this
quarter with record earnings in Personal & Commercial
Banking and Wealth Management and strong earnings in Capital
Markets. We believe our financial and competitive strength
positions us well to deliver continued growth and to achieve
our 2013 objectives.
I would now like to provide you with a high-level overview
of each of our businesses and tell you why we believe they
are positioned for future success.
Starting with Personal & Commercial Banking we
have the largest and most profitable retail bank in Canada,
and hold the number one -- or number two -- market position
in each of our core products.
We are continuing to extend our lead by winning more market
share and growing earnings faster than our peers. We have
the largest distribution network, the broadest range of products
and services, and the size and scale to drive efficiency.
We continue to focus on innovation and technology as a key
to winning new business.
While our Caribbean Banking operations are facing
weak economic conditions, this remains an attractive region
for RBC. We have been doing a lot of work to improve operations
and efficiency and are confident in our future operating performance.
Our U.S. based internet bank is servicing a growing number
of clients and provides a leading cross-border product offering
for Canadian customers who want effective, low-cost banking
and credit products in the United States.
Our Wealth Management division is a leading global
wealth and asset manager.
In Canada, we are the clear market leader with the largest
full-service wealth manager, asset manager and mutual fund
provider in the country, and we are gaining market share.
Internationally, we are building a high-performing global
asset management business, expanding our high and ultra high
net worth market share, and leveraging our capabilities to
win more business. Where global competitors face capital challenges,
we are stepping in to serve their clients and hire the best
While the operating environment in Wealth Management has
been challenged by low rates and anemic markets, we are confident
that our foundation will provide strong future growth, particularly
as markets stabilize, client activity increases and interest
Our Insurance business is one of the largest Canadian
bank-owned insurance companies. Its strength is fuelled by
the RBC brand, a broad product suite, and leading distribution
capabilities. We are winning business by making it easier
and more convenient for clients to do business with us.
Investor & Treasury Services is a new segment
within RBC that combines RBC Investor Services - a leading
global custodian - with our Global Financial Institutions
and Treasury Services businesses. Bringing these activities
together positions us to deliver a more integrated suite of
products to our institutional clients in Canada and around
the world, to expand revenues and to improve efficiency.
And finally, Capital Markets is a top 10 global investment
bank and we are gaining market share in traditional investment
banking businesses faster than any bank in the world. In Canada,
we have successfully extended our lead and we have significantly
increased market share in the U.S., which is now our largest
market. In the U.K., Europe and Asia, we are winning business
that was once the domain of the bulge bracket dealers.
Over the last several years we shifted our revenue balance
from trading to lending and traditional investment banking
activities. We have moved aggressively to reduce risk and
eliminate complex assets from the balance sheet. We have built
top teams and made a name for ourselves in advice, execution
and balance sheet support for our clients.
While others are withdrawing credit in the U.S., we have
capacity because we significantly reduced our loan book going
into the crisis as we viewed the risk/reward balance as too
low - counter to virtually all of our global competitors.
Across our businesses RBC is well positioned to continue
to win clients and market share. But, as fortunate as we have
been in Canada to date, we live in an era of global economic
and market uncertainty. The headwinds in the operating environment
are not new, but they will continue to shape our outlook.
The European sovereign debt and banking crisis continues
to create uncertainty. While we have seen increased stability
in Europe, the structural imbalances remain and ultimately
have to be managed and many economies restructured.
Fiscal and regulatory uncertainty continues in the United
States, potentially creating a major risk, not just to the
U.S., but to the world. The consequences of America failing
to effectively deal with its fiscal imbalance will be significant
and political dysfunctionality is preventing reasonable compromise.
And domestically, we are not without our challenges. We have
rising provincial debt levels, low relative productivity,
and concern over the state of the Canadian housing market,
a concern that, in my view, has been overstated by some but
nonetheless has resulted in slowing consumer demand.
Our industry continues to face considerable regulatory uncertainty.
While Canada's principles-based approach to regulation is
a source of strength for this country, other jurisdictions
are looking at far more prescriptive approaches and more protectionist
measures. We need to ensure we hold firm to our approach and
promote quality of regulation over quantity.
And finally, the fundamental dynamics of the global economy
are changing. Emerging market economies are providing the
bulk of global growth while at the same time intensifying
global competition. Technology and the internet are not only
changing the way we do business but are re-shaping industries
-- including financial services.
So how does Canada adapt to this new global environment?
And how do we at RBC both protect ourselves from unpredictable
events, while taking advantage of the opportunities presented?
Two years ago, I said that this would be Canada's decade,
and I still believe in our ability to outperform the rest
of the developed world. But we must continue to transform
our economy and create sustainable jobs.
Canadian businesses need to aggressively pursue new export
markets. When it comes to going global, our businesses are
falling behind other industrialized nations. Our trade patterns
have barely changed since Confederation, and if we are to
achieve above average growth, we must increase overall export
activity with the parts of the world that are actually growing.
And it is not just about the resource sector. We must expand
trade with a strategic approach in other sectors such as agri-foods,
advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and technology; areas
where we can compete and take advantage of the growing middle
class in emerging countries.
We also need to close the productivity gap and invest in
innovation and entrepreneurship. Canadian companies must rev
up their commitment and find better ways to translate research
and ideas into viable commercial successes.
Immigration policies are also critical to our future prosperity.
We continue to need more immigrants in Canada, but it's not
just about numbers. Immigrants need to be effectively integrated
in our society, and we must assist them in finding meaningful
work that is consistent with their education, experience and
abilities. Done right, this drives economic growth and is
one of Canada's most obvious competitive advantages.
All of this requires smart, efficient governments that encourage
and facilitate the growth of emerging sectors and export activities.
If we let process, inefficiency and trade barriers get in
the way, we will fall further behind.
Now, while it is easy to identify weaknesses, we all know
that finding solutions is more challenging. But we must start
putting in place the policies to deal with these challenges
or we will lose the benefit of the relative strength we have
built over the past five years. If I worry about one thing
in our country it is complacency - on a relative basis, we
have done well so why change -- but in today's world the status
quo is simply not an option.
One can view the glass as half full or half empty and I choose
the former as we are in a position to tackle these issues,
a luxury that many developed economies simply do not have.
Canada has the fundamental strength to create jobs and prosperity
but we need to work differently and together to achieve our
And at RBC, we must also continue to transform in order to
capture business from higher growth markets and find ways
to better and more efficiently serve our clients.
Today, we continue to invest in technology and in people.
We have record spending on technology and innovation to improve
efficiency, and we continue to attract diverse talent to better
serve our customers.
We entered 2013 with great momentum in all of our business
platforms, high capital levels and strong earnings, so we
have the ability to withstand headwinds and invest in each
of our businesses.
Before closing, I would like to briefly comment on corporate
citizenship at RBC. Today's stakeholders expect much more
from corporations and society's expectations are only going
to increase in the future.
There is no question that the most important role for a global
financial institution is capital formation, helping individuals
and businesses grow and prosper. But we also pay taxes, purchase
goods and services and contribute approximately 100 million
dollars a year in charitable donations and community sponsorships.
We know that it is possible to make healthy profits and support
social and environmental progress at the same time. The definition
of corporate social responsibility is changing and companies
that don't live up to societal expectations will pay a heavy
price. We actively care about our communities and work hard
to balance business and social interests because we believe
that the right balance is critical to creating sustainable
Some highlights of our activities include the RBC Blue Water
Project, a 50-million dollar commitment to help protect the
world's most valuable natural resource.
The RBC Children's Mental Health Project has provided more
than 16 million dollars to help children and youth with mental
Last year we launched a social finance initiative, which
will provide 10 million dollars in capital to help finance
small businesses that tackle social and environmental challenges
and an additional 10 million dollars to be invested in socially
Through RBC Play Hockey, we support hockey at the grassroots
level so more young Canadians have an opportunity to play.
We are honoured to have three RBC Olympians with us here today
-- current and past players from our women's national team:
Jennifer Botterill, as well as Calgary's own Bobbi-Jo Slusar
and Carla MacLeod.
On your way out today, please visit our Play Hockey display
where you can get autographs from these three remarkable women
and hear about our program.
I am also pleased to announce today our latest donation of
250,000 dollars to the Calgary Police Foundation in support
of the new Calgary Child Advocacy Centre, which will assist
children and families facing issues of abuse.
But it is not just about giving --- it is also about improving
the communities where we live and work and ensuring we have
the right policies and culture to do the right thing for all
of our stakeholders. I'm particularly proud of the many hours
of volunteer work and financial contributions made by RBC
employees in support of a wide range of important causes.
Corporate social responsibility is a complex equation but
we work hard to find the right balance and are pleased to
once again, this year, be included in the Global 100, a list
of the world's most sustainable companies.
Finally, confidence in the future of RBC is founded on the
strength of our people.
For almost a century and a half, our employees have been
earning the right to be our clients' first choice by delivering
trusted advice and helping them achieve their financial goals.
While there's always room for improvement, RBC stands out
for the talent and dedication of our people. Our 80,000 employees
in over 50 countries share a client-focused vision and live
our core values of service, teamwork, responsibility, diversity
and integrity. These values unite our diverse workforce as
we work together to understand and meet the needs of our clients
and deliver value to our shareholders.
While 2013 will, no doubt, bring its share of industry and
economic challenges, I am extremely optimistic and excited
about RBC's future. Our businesses are well positioned and
each has ambitious but sound objectives and strategies.
On behalf of our Board of Directors and my colleagues on
the senior management team, I'd like to thank our employees
for their continued hard work and commitment.
I believe RBC has the right strategy, the right culture and
the right people to deliver growth and build value for our
clients, employees, communities and shareholders.
The following speakers' notes and the
webcast have been furnished for your information only, are
current only as of the date of the webcast, and may be superseded
by more current information. Except as required by law, we
do not undertake any obligation to update the information,
whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
These speakers' notes are not a transcript
of the webcast and may not be identical to the comments made
during the webcast. You can replay the entire webcast up to
February 28, 2014 by visiting the Royal Bank of Canada ("we"
or "our") website at [www.rbc.com/investorrelations/ir_events_presentations.html.]
In no way do we assume any responsibility
for any investment or other decisions made based upon the
information provided on our website or in these speakers'
notes. Users are advised to review the webcast itself and
our filings with the Canadian Securities Regulators and the
United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC")
before making any investment or other decisions.
From time to time, we make written or
oral forward-looking statements within the meaning of certain
securities laws, including the "safe harbour" provisions
of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform
Act of 1995 and any applicable Canadian securities legislation.
We may make forward-looking statements in these Annual Meeting
of Common Shareholders speakers' notes, in filings with Canadian
regulators or the SEC, in reports to shareholders and in other
communications. Forward-looking statements in these speakers'
notes include, but are not limited to, statements relating
to our financial performance objectives, vision and strategic
goals, the economic outlook, and the outlook for each of our
business segments. The forward-looking information contained
in these speakers' notes is presented for the purpose of assisting
the holders of our securities in understanding our financial
position and results of operations as at and for the periods
ended on the dates presented and our financial performance
objectives, vision and strategic goals, and may not be appropriate
for other purposes. Forward-looking statements are typically
identified by words such as "believe", "expect",
"foresee", "forecast", "anticipate",
"intend", "estimate", "goal",
"plan" and "project" and similar expressions
of future or conditional verbs such as "will", "may",
"should", "could" or "would".
By their very nature, forward-looking
statements require us to make assumptions and are subject
to inherent risks and uncertainties, which give rise to the
possibility that our predictions, forecasts, projections,
expectations or conclusions will not prove to be accurate,
that our assumptions may not be correct and that our financial
performance objectives, vision and strategic goals will not
be achieved. We caution readers not to place undue reliance
on these statements as a number of risk factors could cause
our actual results to differ materially from the expectations
expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors
- many of which are beyond our control and the effects of
which can be difficult to predict - include: credit, market,
liquidity and funding, operational, legal and regulatory compliance,
insurance, reputation and strategic risks and other risks
discussed in the Risk management and Overview of other risks
sections of our 2012 Annual Report and in the Risk management
section of our Q1 2013 Report to Shareholders; the impact
of changes in laws and regulations, including relating to
the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection
Act and the regulations issued and to be issued thereunder,
the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's global standards
for capital and liquidity reform, over-the-counter derivatives
reform, the payments system in Canada, consumer protection
measures and regulatory reforms in the U.K. and Europe; general
business and economic market conditions in Canada, the United
States and certain other countries in which we operate, including
the effects of the European sovereign debt crisis, and the
high levels of Canadian household debt; cybersecurity; the
effects of changes in government fiscal, monetary and other
policies; the effects of competition in the markets in which
we operate; our ability to attract and retain employees; the
accuracy and completeness of information concerning our clients
and counterparties; judicial or regulatory judgments and legal
proceedings; development and integration of our distribution
networks; and the impact of environmental issues.
We caution that the foregoing list of
risk factors is not exhaustive and other factors could also
adversely affect our results. When relying on our forward-looking
statements to make decisions with respect to us, investors
and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors
and other uncertainties and potential events. Material economic
assumptions underlying the forward looking-statements contained
in these Annual Meeting of Common Shareholders speakers' notes
are set out in the Overview and outlook section and for each
business segment under the heading Outlook and priorities
in our 2012 Annual Report, as updated by the Overview section
in our Q1 2013 Report to Shareholders. Except as required
by law, we do not undertake to update any forward-looking
statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from
time to time by us or on our behalf.
Additional information about these and
other factors can be found in the Risk management and Overview
of other risks sections of our 2012 Annual Report and in the
Risk management section of our Q1 2013 Report to Shareholders.
Information contained in or otherwise
accessible through the websites mentioned does not form part
of these speakers' notes. All references in these speakers'
notes to websites are inactive textual references and are
for your information only.