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Royal Bank of Canada’s Strategic Analysis Report

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Updated: Apr 13th, 2021

Executive Summary

The Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) with its subsidiaries has been operating under the master brand name RBC. Being the largest bank in Canada as far as assets measurements and capitalization of the market, RBC is also one of the giant banks across the globe, as far as market share and capitalization is concerned. As one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, their business segment is meant to provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking, and transaction processing services on a global basis they have employed approximately 79,000 full- and part-time employees who serve close to 18 million personal, businesses, public sector, and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 50 other countries. Their global expansion (outside Canada) provides RBC with new opportunities to diversify its revenue streams, grow its earnings base, and build its wealth management and capital markets businesses. Their capital markets capabilities are by far the most global of any Canadian bank.

They are also the only Canadian bank with a global wealth management capability. They are now the sixth-largest full-service brokerage firm in the U.S., serving correspondent clients and individual investors directly with over 2,100 financial. They have continued to extend their capabilities in fixed income and currency, and are a top-five Gilt-edged market maker. To deliver value to their clients and sustain top quartile results for shareholders, they make sustaining a high-performance, high-employee engagement culture a priority. RBC is environmentally conscious, in that it has proper mechanisms of ensuring the environment is preserved to date, it is in its course of implementing this goal as well. RBC is committed to a path of environmental sustainability. This means reducing their environmental footprint, promoting environmentally responsible business activities, and offering environmentally responsible products and services. They believe that fulfilling their goals in these areas will lead to short and long-term benefits for shareholders, clients, employees, and the communities in which they live and conduct businesses. They have been leaders in environmental management in their sector for many years. RBC’s Environmental Blue printTM sets out its corporate environmental policy, priorities, and objectives. To fully realize their commitments to their community service in the matters of environment several elements have been placed in place to ensure nothing is left to chance, these environmental elements guidelines include.

Environmental Footprint Reduction

RBC has lain down mechanisms to actively apply sound environmental practices to internal operations and purchasing decisions. RBC believes that financial institutions should play a role in supporting efforts to address global water issues. They will seek ways of minimizing the consumption of resources, including energy, paper, and water, and their generation of waste and emissions.

Responsible Business

RBC is hoping to develop, maintain, and communicate effective policies to address environmental issues and risks material to RBC, its clients, and its other stakeholders.

Products, Services, and Business Opportunities

RBC will provide clients and employees with innovative, practical, and cost-effective financial products and services to promote environmentally sustainable choices. We will seek out business opportunities that promote environmental sustainability and provide business benefits.

Employee Involvement

RBC will also be seeking to offer environmental education and tools to their employees worldwide to enable them to act in an environmentally responsible manner, and support the company’s objectives. they will also provide their employee’s opportunities to become personally engaged in environmental sustainability initiatives that are important to their business.


RBC will responsibly manage all aspects of their business to ensure environmental laws and recognized standards are met or exceeded. They will monitor compliance with their policies, procedures, and standards.

Reporting and Transparency

RBC hopes to report regularly on their key environmental performance indicators. This will ensure they continue to improve their system for monitoring, measuring, and transparent reporting of performance relative to their targets, priorities, and objectives.


RBC hopes to establish and maintain productive partnerships with experts and stakeholders to ensure that they remain informed about relevant concerns and issues and are well-positioned to manage environmental risks and opportunities. In doing this they will provide support for selected non-profit groups working to address environmental issues of importance to RBC and their stakeholders. RBC is not only interested in making financial gains through its business in the financial sector but has also laid down mechanisms of ensuring they give back to the community through a proper environmental conscious system, this has since put it well above the rest of its competitors.

Company Background and Analysis

Vision Statement

Always earning the right to be the first choice for their clients (RBC, 2011).

Mission Statement

This is divided into two categories, strategic goals, and the firm values

Strategic Goals

  • To be an undisputed leader in Canadian financial services.
  • To be the leading provider of capital markets and wealth management solutions on a global level.
  • In specific target markets, to be a leading provider of select financial services complementary to their core strengths.


  • Excellent service to clients and each other
  • Working together to succeed
  • Personal responsibility for high performance
  • Diversity for growth and innovation
  • Trust through integrity in everything we do

PESTEL Analysis


  • Government intervention in the sector has seen a pile of pressure on the stock, which lowers the stock. There are also chances of risk occurs due to these low stocks.
  • Canadian Banking reported being increasing its take in global financial affairs.
  • Results of increased banking reflected in securitized Canadian residential mortgage
  • Increased credit card loans and related amounts for income and specific provision for credit losses.
  • Wealth Management, Insurance, and International Banking reported results to include disclosure in the U.S. dollar


  • RBC relies mostly on website technology to link and align all its global subsidiaries and monitor their efficiency in line with the laid down global objectives
  • There are also over 40 thousand ATMs across the globe to effectively improve their services.
  • Insurance reported results including a change in fair value of investments backing the life and health policyholder liabilities recorded as revenue, which is largely offset in PBCAE.
  • A taxable equivalent basis (teb) has been employed when reporting on the Capital Markets results. This would involve summing up the net interest income from tax-advantaged sources like the Canadian taxable corporate dividends to their effective taxable equivalent value with a corresponding offset recorded in the provision for income taxes.
  • When measuring and using teb adjustments, the values contained may not be comparable to the resemble GAAP measures or similarly adjusted amounts disclosed by other financial institutions.
  • -A general allowance is established to cover estimated credit losses incurred in the lending portfolio that have not been specifically identified as impaired. Changes in the general’ (RBC, 2008).


  • The institution has continued to win significant mandates throughout the year and remains Canada’s leading global investment bank. In recognition of their ongoing success, they were named Best Investment Bank in Canada by Euro-money Magazine for the third year in a row and Dealmaker of the Year in Canada by Financial Post for this year, and six of the last seven years. They were also ranked number one in debt, equity, and M&A in Canada by Bloomberg.
  • They have made significant progress in expanding their business in the U.S., reflecting their investments in top talent, the build-out of their infrastructure, and the strength of their brand. This has resulted in market share increases across several businesses including U.S. (ICMR, 2004).
  • Businesses and earnings are affected by the fiscal, monetary or other policies that are adopted by the Bank of Canada and other various Canadian regulatory authorities, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in the U.S. and other U.S. government authorities, as well as those adopted by international regulatory authorities and agencies in jurisdictions in which they operate.


  • Third-Party Products and Sites. Any references or links to their website are provided solely for customers’ convenience and do not imply any endorsement or recommendation by us or any of their affiliates of, or any responsibility or liability for, such third-party products or services or any information contained on those parties’ websites.
  • Trademarks; The display of names on their website does not imply a license of any kind has been granted to anyone else. The information is for clients’ personal use only.
  • No Warranties; Their website information is provided solely on an “as is” and “as available” basis, without warranties of any kind, either express or implied.
  • Liability Limitations; Under no circumstances will RBC Bank (USA) or any of its affiliates be liable for any other party for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, exemplary, or punitive damages of any kind including damages resulting from loss of use, data or profits, regardless of whether they had been notified of the possibility of such damages, based on any theory of liability and arising out of or related to the use, quality, performance, or unavailability of their website or any linked site or any information contained therein.
  • Additional Disclosures and Disclaimers; Any company or other information on their website is not provided for informational purposes intended as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any security, nor should it be used or relied on in connection with any sale or purchase of securities.

Environmental issues

RBC’s three priorities in environmental issues are climate change, biodiversity, and water. They believe their actions can make a significant and positive contribution to helping solve some of the problems posed by these issues. To best focus their efforts and make tangible progress, their objectives are grouped as follows:

  1. Reduce environmental footprint
  2. Promote environmentally responsible business activities
  3. Offer environmental products and services

They hope to strengthen their existing programs, policies, procedures, and guidelines, and where necessary, developing new ones to implement the RBC Environmental Blueprint. They will also be seeking to make significant gains in these areas, ensure alignment with their environmental policy, and monitor and report publicly on progress.

Climate Change and Energy, RBC will contribute to efforts to address the causes and manage the impacts of climate change. RBC believes that it is important that they contribute to efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and effectively adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Biodiversity, RBC has realized that biodiversity brings about human prosperity, and this cannot be attained without rich and abundant in resources. They are therefore committed to preserving biodiversity through their support of sustainable business practices, research, and conservation efforts. Water, Lack of access to clean fresh water is an increasingly important humanitarian, environmental, and economic issue. RBC is exploring opportunities to contribute to solutions that address global water issues.

The PESTEL analysis shows that the economical approach is the main aspect under consideration, and its the driving force for the day to day activities. This is crucial to keep the financial institution upbeat towards its course, other factors like political aspects play a less significant role as far as financial gain is concerned. Major issues would however arise from government interference in controlling the stock and other related items.

Porter’s Five Forces

Overall industrial rating favorable moderate unfavorable
Threats of the new entrance *
Bargaining powers of buyers *
Threats of substitutes *
Bargaining powers of suppliers *
The intensity of rivalry amongst competitors *
      1. The threat of New Entrants:
The competition for clients among financial services companies in the markets in which they operate is intense. Client loyalty and retention can be influenced by several factors, including relative service levels, the prices, and attributes of our products or services, their reputation, and actions taken by their competitors.

Other financial services companies, such as insurance companies and non-financial companies, increasingly offer services traditionally provided by banks. Such competition has also reduced the net interest income, free
Revenue and adversely affect our earnings.

      1. Bargaining Power of Buyers:
Large customer across the globe that totals 36.7 % of the account holders, policy buyers require a lot of information since a large component of sales comes from the retail level, especially since customers want to know what are the benefits and limitations as opposed to other providers in the same industry.
Customers do not face any direct costs in switching category preferences due to the nature of the competitive market
Individual consumers are highly sensitive to borrowing interest rates
      1. The threat of substitute:
+There are no real substitutes for customers within the domestic and global industry, and the only real threat comes from organizations that initially were not offering financial support but has of late ventured into the business. But that has not hindered RBC to command its business across the globe considering the huge amount of assets it has invested into.
+Customers are not likely to substitute. It would be unlikely for most of its customers to shift their attention and join other competitors considering the services and customer relations, as well as the increased services on offer which are on the rise each day as they are constantly modified to become favorable to their clients.
      1. Bargaining Power of Suppliers:
+strong distribution network and high capital coupled with a strong brand name that affects the entire globe has enabled RBC to command its bargaining power for the past years that it has been operating
Customers have been loyal to this brand and hence enabled it to achieve its current growth trend; high sunk costs have also been linked to limiting the available market competition. Though this has been partly contributed to by geographical factors.
      1. The Intensity of Rivalry among Competitors:
The industry is not growing rapidly as it once was. In the last decade, in both the domestic and global market, Policy sales in insurance have slowly gone down, which makes the competition even fiercer.
Overall industry is highly competitive and the market is becoming saturated with increase financial providers. Other organizations that initially did not consider offering financial services have now fully integrated into the industry. This has since made competition to scale up. This effect has been reflected in the company’s financial fiscal years report as a decline.

The analysis by Porter’s Five Forces indicates that the financial industry is moderately favorable to moderate. After further inspections, we believe that it is moderately unfavorable. Although the threat of new entrants is low and substitutes are low (other institutions that were initially not offering financial services but are now involved in the business). This is because of the intensity of rival competitors which is very strong and the fact that mechanisms laid down by RBC are in an extremely strong position as financial providers across the globe. Also, more and more customers are concerned with the price as the main factor in purchasing their policies.

Key Success Factors

  • They have offered health and life insurance for the last year, as well as travel insurance and annuities to their clients across the United States. Health and Life products include indexed universal life, terms, critical illness protection, accidental death, and whole life. They have also offered not only fixed-indexed but traditional fixed annuities, and Travel insurance products like emergency medical coverage, trip cancellation, and interruption insurance.
  • Since October 2010, RBC has announced their intention to sell Liberty Life. This is referred from notes 11 and 31 to their 2010 Annual Consolidated Financial Statements. While they grew their U.S. life insurance, business under their brand name lacks the scale required to build and maintain a significant portfolio of insurance products in a very competitive marketplace…
  • Continuation to strengthen their operating performance by improving products and distribution capabilities to deliver a differentiated client experience and value proposition.
  • Actively managed capital to maintain strong capital ratios and high ratings while providing high returns to our shareholders.
  • Their improvement in global capital markets contributes to higher mutual fund revenue from overall capital appreciation and net sales of long-term funds as retail investor confidence returned.
  • Deepen their high and ultra-high-net-worth client relationships, ensuring they deliver the full range of wealth management solutions including investments, trusts, banking and credit, and insurance solutions.
  • Continuing to improve client satisfaction from already high levels, will drive the productivity of their client-facing advisors in the U.S., Canada, and globally, and improve financial performance in their wealth distribution businesses.
  • Focus on key areas with the greatest potential including (i) growing the industry-leading share of high net worth client assets in Canada; (ii) expanding the


Table showing the total income after taxation

2010 2009 2008
Total income and other taxes $ 2455 $ 2339 $ 2080
Net income before income taxes $ 6,968 $ 5526 $ 6005

Key financial trends

  • An increase in mutual fund distribution fees reflected capital appreciation and net long- term fund sales.
  • Factors partially offset by a favorable adjustment to credit card customer loyalty reward program in the prior year.
  • Net interest margin remained flat from the past year reflecting the continued low-interest-rate environment and higher mortgage breakage costs, which was partially offset by favorable reprising.
  • PCL decreased to $84 million, or 7%, due to lower provisions in our business lending, personal and small business portfolios reflecting improving economic conditions.

Conclusion on Financial Analysis

The company that often maintains good customer relations and keeps its need at heart has often moved miles ahead. RBC has also been steadily balanced in ensuring they have good and properly functioning customer relations. As stated before, it is essential that the banking and financial sector keep as many costs down as possible since profit margins are thin in the industry. Companies with low days in inventory benefit from low costs because of the assets acquired. RBC did a great job at this, leading the industry for successive years.

Value Chain: Primary Activities & Secondary Activities

RBC Value Chain has revolutionized banking industry standards by using the insurance policy and mortgage. The following is how RBC’s value chain works.

For inbound logistics, RBC is very efficient; they can minimize borrowing risks by working very closely with their clients, especially those who have a strong financial history. This leads to a competitive advantage as they lend to their client considerable amounts than their competitors. For operations, RBC has well technical and gifted young men and women who dedicate their services to their clients. For sales and marketing, RBC have a good marketing strategy that has since seen it capture many clients, they also have an Inventor section to promote this The support activities (general administration, R&D, human resources) generally facilitate and enhance the performance of primary activities by allowing RBC to function as a profitable organization and focus its efforts on building value for its customers. The company that often maintains good customer relations and keeps its need at heart has often moved miles ahead. RBC has also been steadily balanced in ensuring they have good and properly functioning customer relations. As stated before, it is essential that the banking and financial sector keep as many costs down as possible since profit margins are thin in the industry. Companies with low days in inventory benefit from low costs because of the assets acquired.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • They have had the largest market share in the domestic market and now globally.
  • Reclassified certain amounts in Corporate Support which were previously reported in trading revenue to the other revenue to better reflect the nature of the amounts.
  • Includes securities brokerage commissions, investment management and custodial fees, and mutual funds.
  • Includes premiums, investment, and fee income. Investment income includes the change in fair value of investments backing policyholder liabilities and is largely offset in PBCAE.
  • Includes service charges, foreign exchange revenue other than trading, card service revenue, and credit fees.
  • Includes other non-interest income, net gain (loss) on available-for-sale (AFS) securities (other-than-temporary impairment and realized gain/loss), fair value adjustments on certain RBC debt designated as HFT, the change in fair value of certain derivatives related to economic hedges, and securitization revenue.
  • Total trading revenue comprises trading-related revenue recorded in the Net interest income and Non-interest income.
  • Company surveys showed there was a lack of confidence in the company’s leadership
  • Customer satisfaction has been slowly declining over the past few years
  • Though it has a large number of assets RBC has been losing market share over the last 5 years, both domestically and internationally.
  • Operating cash flow has been decreasing over the last decade, with the company incurring losses year after year
  • Research and development funding as a percentage of revenue has been diminishing (more so in the policy sector, the life insurance segment.
  • Indirect selling to retailers has never been successful RBC, though it has a mechanism for recruiting vendors.
  • RBC is focusing on large businesses when the individual customer’s segment is the biggest (46%)
  • Customer service is tiered this benefited the large businesses as they received the best care for paying more.
Opportunities Threats
  • The worldwide market has been growing as more people could afford and accept the importance of life policies.
  • Increased diversification can be achieved because there are many new technological products within the banking sector. By venturing into these new advances RBC won’t realize the losing trend it has witnessed in the past few years
  • Individual customer’s segment is the biggest and fasting growing market
  • Need for better customer service for individual consumers.
  • Retailers are the fast-growing distribution channel in the financial industry.
  • Government intervention lowers the pressure on the stock, it also increases risks.
  • Other financial services companies, such as insurance companies and non-financial companies, are increasingly offering services traditionally provided by banks. Such competition has also reduced net interest income, fee revenue and adversely affects their earnings
  • The total market size in terms of dollars has been decreasingdue to unstable and fluctuation of the dollar.
  • Competitive rivalry in the financial industry, domestically as well as internationally, is high.This has made RBC remodel its services to stand unique amongst its competitors.
  • Competitors who have entered the financial segments, who initially were not offering banking services, particularly pose a big challenge due to their terms on offer which are considered lower
  • Competitor’s market share relative to RBC has been increasing domestically and internationally
  • The large business Segment has been declining over the last 12 years, this is evidenced by the downward trend in the financial fiscal year reports.

Through an analysis based on SWOT, it is seen that the Threats and Weaknesses are outweighing their strengths and opportunities; RBC has managed to survive against major odds in the financial segment by ensuring it keeps its brand name and assets acquisition across the globe. However, an urgent measure needs to be put in place, to level all those weaknesses and ensure their threats have also been turned into a strength, thus, to regain its market share it should otherwise be enjoying. If this is not addressed, it can pose a lot of problems for its future financial mainstreams. As this chart shows, there are major concerns, such as declining customer service and declining market share. Also, the competitive pressure and the decline of the large business market pose threats. Their major strength of global assets has allowed them to prosper in the past and continue to stay afloat in the present, but as the SWOT shows, there are more negatives than positives for RBC in the financial industry.


ICMR. (2004). Corporate Governance at Royal Bank of Canada. Web.

RBC. (2008). Web.

RBC. (2011). Web.

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