A 150-year old Canadian bank is muscling in on Wall Street

Business Insider spoke with Blair Fleming, head of RBC Capital Markets US, about dealmaking and the Canadian bank’s US growth plans.
Fleming: “We have a very deliberate and straightforward strategy to grow our investment bank here in the US.”
On hiring: “We will continue to add the right people to the platform. Things are still in play and we will keep going.”
Blair Fleming is a man with many job titles.

He’s head of RBC Capital Markets in the US and the head of US investment banking for the Canadian bank. He’s also CEO of RBC USA Holdco Corp., RBC’s US intermediate holding company. It’s so many titles that he has two business cards.

He oversees a business that ranked 10th in investment-banking fees in the US in 2016, according to data provider Dealogic, with $979 million in fees. The bank had a 2.8% market share in the US, according to Dealogic, up 0.5 percentage points. It posted big gains in US debt capital markets revenue, US syndicated loan revenue, and global financial sponsor revenue.

It’s a striking change for a bank that has roots north of the border stretching back to 1864, before the confederation of Canada in 1867. It started out offering credit to merchants in Halifax, winning a government charter five years later in 1869. But while RBC stands for Royal Bank of Canada, Fleming insists that the bank is now “American as you can get” when it comes to investment banking.

We talked to Fleming about dealmaking and hiring — and winning business with Facebook.

Matt Turner: How’s business?

Blair Fleming: Two thousand seventeen has definitely been off to a better start than 2016.

If you look at what’s driving business now, the election helped. You’re seeing a little bit of caution about tax reform, and so that seems to be dampening things a bit, but overall if you look at the origination business, clients are engaged in a lot more activity. M&A is up. Debt markets are strong. There is an equity market. You are starting to see a fair number of IPOs get priced.

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