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RBC Closes on Purchase of JP Morgan's RIA Custody Business

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As expected, Royal Bank of Canada announced Tuesday, June 15, that it has closed on its acquisition of JP Morgan IAS, the high-end RIA custody and clearing business that JP Morgan picked up at the time it acquired Bear Stearns in March 2008.

The IAS RIA business will become part of RBC Advisor Services, a new RIA custodian set up by Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. unit, RBC U.S. Wealth Management. It will be overseen by Mike Kavanagh, chief administrative officer and head of Independent Business Channels at RBC Wealth in Minneapolis. Leonard Palmer, who had been running the New York-based RIA customer service business for both Bear and Morgan, joins RBC as director of RBC Advisor Services.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

In a prepared statement accompanying the announcement, RBC US Wealth Management CEO John Taft, the incoming head of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), said the “acquisition marks a significant step forward in our mission to be the premier custody and brokerage partner of choice for third-party advisors at the high end of the marketplace.”

In the same statement, Kavanagh said the deal “reflects RBC’s commitment to helping third-party RIAs deliver the sophisticated solutions that their high-net-worth clients expect. RBC Advisor Services is a trusted custodian with the strength and stability that clients seek for their assets, with a legacy of serving the complex needs of high end clientele.”

In a separate interview, Kavanagh said RBC’s intent was to become the “gold standard for custodians,” and that the acquisition was part of a broader RBC Wealth plan to “focus on the same elite ‘advisor,’ whether in the employee space, the correspondent broker/dealer space, or the RIA space.”


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