Published On: Mon, Feb 9th, 2015

RBC in talks for sale of Caribbean wealth-management and trust business

RBC_August reportTORONTO, Canada -- Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is in talks with several bidders for parts of its Caribbean wealth-management and trust business, which helps the ultra-wealthy plan tax and inheritance issues, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The planned exit is part of a pullback in the Caribbean and Latin America reportedly prompted by scrutiny of potential money-laundering activities by its customers in at least three countries and the risks associated with potential money-laundering do not justify the profits the bank was making there.

Any deal would not include a sale of RBC’s Caribbean brokerage business, which mostly serves North American clients, the WSJ reported.

The bank said last November it was shutting its wealth-management offices in the Caribbean to focus on wealth management in North America, the UK and Asia. The bank has also moved to close many, if not all, of its wealth-management offices across Latin America.

“RBC Wealth Management is realigning certain businesses within its international operations as part of a focused strategy that will enable it to achieve sustainable, controlled growth in its priority markets,” Claire Holland, a spokeswoman for the Toronto-based bank, said last year.

RBC’s Caribbean wealth-management divisions manage a portion of CDN$43.2 billion in assets under the affected US and international wealth-management operations.

Royal Bank has spent about 18 months reorganizing its Caribbean retail-banking business by cutting jobs, streamlining head-office operations, combining branches and selling its Jamaica unit for a loss in June 2014.

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