RBC Hunts for Bigger Deals With U.S. Investment-Banking Push
(Bloomberg) -- After shuffling its top investment-banking brass and adding more than a dozen senior bankers in recent months, Royal Bank of Canada is looking to advise its U.S. corporate clients on bigger deals.
The strategy is already starting to bear fruit. Royal Bank of Canada was the sole adviser to BB&T Corp. in its planned $28 billion acquisition of SunTrust Banks Inc., the world’s largest bank merger in more than a decade. The firm also advised Melrose Industries Plc on its $11 billion takeover of GKN Ltd. and it helped arrange the financing for mega-deals involving Walt Disney Co. and T-Mobile US Inc.
“As our platform and relationships have grown, we expect we’ll start to work on larger, more strategic transactions,” Derek Neldner, Royal Bank of Canada’s global head of investment banking, said in an interview at the RBC Financial Institutions Conference, held this week in New York.
Royal Bank of Canada began adding to its capital markets team in the aftermath of the financial crisis, when other large banks were pulling back. That allowed it to pick up market share and smaller clients.
“This is not an overnight success. We’ve been working at this for 10 years,” Chief Executive Officer David McKay said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “When you’re with a client and with a strategy for the better part of a decade, clients reward you for that loyalty and being there.”
The bank has found particular success in its financial institutions group practice, which helped host the annual conference, drawing a record 80 companies and more than 600 investors.
“We’re not really a competitor to many of our clients in the U.S.,” which helps RBC win advisory business with U.S. banks, Neldner said.
He took over global investment banking at RBC last June, when Jim Wolfe and Matthew Stopnik were picked to jointly run the firm’s U.S. investment bank. The three have overseen RBC’s more recent efforts to add to its New York-based investment-banking platform, which has about 500 such professionals, more than double the size of its Canadian operation.
In January, the firm hired Bank of America Corp.’s Andrew “Cal” Callaway to run U.S. heath-care investment banking. Last year, it hired UBS Group AG banker Asad Kazim to help lead the firm’s U.S. real estate investment-banking business and BlackRock Inc.’s Eric Steifman to co-head its banks and specialty-finance practice.
“We’d like to grow, but we’d like to grow in a measured way with one client at a time,” Vinnie Badinehal, head of the bank’s U.S. financial-institutions group, said in an interview. “There are areas where we have a natural competitive advantage, but across all sectors we’re investing in talent.”
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