Asia: Will RBC exit the Asian private banking business?

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) joins the list of banks which may pull out of Asian private banking as it reviews its wealth management business in Asia. Many international banks have already sold their private banking operations; ABN Amro exited with a sale to LGT late last year to strengthen and grow its private banking business in Northwest Europe. Despite Asia generally being considered a key growth market, tightening margins are likely to be the culprit for most of the divestitures. The cause for the tightening of these margins are related to the rising compliance costs (largely to do with the BSI scandal in Malaysia last year) and the higher demands of Asian customers from a cost perspective. RBC’s profitability and future in the Asian private banking business remains uncertain with the $10 billion it has in assets under management.

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