A Royal Bank of Canada sign is shown in the financial district in Toronto. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

RBC fires head of U.S. capital markets over workplace relationship

TORONTO — The Royal Bank of Canada has fired the head of its U.S. capital markets division for violating its policies about relationships with fellow employees.

“Blair Fleming did not comply with our disclosure and conflict of interest policies relating to workplace relationships,” spokeswoman Gillian McArdle wrote in an email.

“When the matter was brought forward, we investigated and acted promptly.”

Fleming was the American CEO of RBC Capital Markets and US head of investment banking and oversaw all the division’s businesses in the U.S., says his LinkedIn page.

Fleming, 56, began his career with Royal Bank in 1986 in London, Ont., and moved to New York City in 2009, where he and his wife live with their four daughters.

The announcement of Fleming’s departure earlier in the week generated employee questions, Douglas McGregor, the bank’s group head of capital markets, said in an employee memo.

“We want to be clear that inappropriate behaviour at RBC is unacceptable and in breach of our Code of Conduct and Respectful Workplace Policies,” he wrote.

“RBC is committed to maintaining a professional workplace. It is only by acting with integrity that we can continue to build the trust of our people, clients, and the community.”

In its 20-page code of conduct, the bank says working relationships could cause conflicts of interest if they can “favourably impact compensation, work conditions or promotion prospects of a close friend or family member.”

It says there is no substitute for good judgment and common sense and says employees should speak to a manager if they have doubts about a relationship.

The policy also says employees have a responsibility to speak up if they witness or experience inappropriate behaviour. They can raise it with their manager or through the bank’s confidential human resources resolution hotline.

Global responsibility for investment banking is being assumed by Derek Neldner, head of Canadian and Asia Pacific investment banking.

Jim Wolfe, head of leveraged finance, and Matthew Stopnik, co-head of financial sponsors, have been appointed co-heads of U.S. Investment Banking.

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