RBC signs deal to buy British wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin for $2.6 billion

RBC signs deal to buy British wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin for $2.6 billion

TORONTO — Royal Bank of Canada is growing its wealth management business in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with a deal Thursday to buy British wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin Holdings PLC for about $2.6 billion.

Under the deal, RBC has agreed to pay 515 pence per share for the company which has a network of more than 30 offices and 59 billion pounds in assets under management.

RBC said the deal positions the bank’s wealth management arm as a market leader in the U.K. and Ireland.

“The U.K. is a key growth market for RBC, and Brewin Dolphin provides us with an exceptional platform to significantly transform our wealth management business in the region,” said Doug Guzman, group head of RBC Wealth Management.

“By combining two highly complementary businesses, we will increase the depth and breadth of our services and position the combined business as a premier integrated wealth management provider to private and institutional clients.”

RBC said the acquisition will grow adjusted earnings-per-share by about one per cent in the first year.

The agreement is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals and Brewin Dolphin shareholder approval.

The bank said it expects to close the deal by the end of the third quarter.

Cormark Securities analyst Lemar Persaud said the deal is “a nice bolt-on,” but thought a deal was more likely to have been in the United States.

“The price appears reasonable given the (high-net-worth) nature of the assets,” he wrote in a note. “It’s on strategy with the bank’s expansion of the wealth management franchise.”

Veritas Investment Research has a ‘sell’ rating on RBC, but also sees this proposed acquisition as a positive.

“Overall, we view the geographic expansion and scale-up of (RBC’s) wealth business in the U.K. and Ireland favourably,” said Veritas analyst Nigel D’Souza in a note.

Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian banks are flush with capital and Harris Douglas Asset Management’s Paul Harris said RBC is in a good position to make more acquisitions.

“I think there’s an opportunity to become bigger and grab scale and to do these things where they feel like they have a competitive advantage,” Harris said. “I think RBC feels like they have a competitive advantage in asset management.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2022.

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Adena Ali, The Canadian Press

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