Review of RBC Wealth Management 2021

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Updated on Monday, September 20, 2021

RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, is one of the largest wealth management firms in the U.S. by assets under management. The company is the investment management arm of the Royal Bank of Canada, a global financial institution that offers commercial and consumer banking. RBC Wealth Management offers a full range of investment strategies for individual clients as well as retirement plans, businesses and other entities.

The bottom line: RBC Wealth Management, one of the country’s largest wealth managers, offers financial planning and portfolio management to individual and institutional investors.

  • Wide variety of services, including for executives
  • Impact investing solutions available
  • Fees can vary depending on the advisor, among other factors
Assets under management (AUM): $146,593,034,210
Minimum investment: Varies by program, starting at $2,500
Individual investor to advisor ratio: 102:1
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, fixed fees
Headquarters: 3 World Financial Center
New York, NY 10281
Website:www.rbcwealthmanagement.com
Phone: 212-858-7000

All information included in this profile is accurate as of September 10, 2021. For more information, please consult RBC Wealth Management’s website.

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Overview of RBC Wealth Management

RBC Wealth Management has operated under its current name since 2008. Before being acquired by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in 2001, a bank that was founded in 1864, the firm operated as Dain Rauscher. RBC Wealth Management is a division of RBC Capital Markets, a limited liability corporation that is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.

In addition to investment services provided through RBC Wealth Management, RBC Capital Markets also offers brokerage services. RBC Capital Markets has close to 8,000 employees overall, with almost 6,000 serving as broker-dealers and nearly 2,000 in investment advisory and research roles. Additionally, over 2,300 employees are also licensed insurance agents.

RBC Wealth Management’s pros

  • Low minimum investment requirement: With the barrier to entry set at $2,500 for the firm’s Unified Portfolio, RBC Wealth Management’s services are available to a broad audience. Some programs do require higher minimums, ranging up to $250,000, though this is still more modest than many firms that can require minimums in the millions.
  • Large array of services: Because the company is part of a global bank and has a network of thousands of advisors, clients have the opportunity to use RBC Wealth Management as a one-stop shop for investment and wealth management as well as financial planning services.
  • National recognition: The firm has received recognition both for its services and its workplace environment. Most recently, in 2021, it won the Best Innovative Client Solution award from Family Wealth Report. It was also named a best place to work for LGBTQ equality by the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index 2021.

RBC Wealth Management’s cons

  • Fee range not transparent for portfolio management: The firm’s current brochure does not provide a clear fee schedule for its portfolio management services, so you may not have a clear idea of how much you’ll pay until you discuss your financial situation and preferred program with an advisor. This can make comparison shopping more difficult. RBC Wealth Management does mention that fees are open to negotiation between the client and advisor.
  • Potential conflict of interest related to sweep accounts: When client cash is kept in RBC and affiliated banks, RBC Wealth Management will receive economic benefits in addition to program fees. The higher the cash balance, the greater the conflict of interest may be, even though it can be to the client’s benefit to have some of their assets kept in cash. This potential conflict is mitigated by disclosing to the client that they do not have to use RBC Bank or its affiliates.
  • Large number of disclosures: The firm has a long list of fines and disciplinary actions (see more on that below). While not necessarily ncommon at large firms, potential clients should be aware of it.

What types of clients does RBC Wealth Management serve?

The vast majority of RBC Wealth Management’s clients are individuals who are not considered high net worth, which the SEC defines as having at least $750,000 under management or a net worth believed to be at least $1.5 million. However, the firm also works with a number of high net worth individuals as well as various entities. Programs are available for both non-retirement plans and retirement accounts, including IRAs.

Minimum investment requirements at the firm vary by program, starting at $2,500 and ranging up to $250,000:

  • RBC Unified Portfolio: $2,500
  • RBC Advisor: $25,000
  • Portfolio Focus: $50,000
  • MAP: $100,000 or the investment managers’ minimum, whichever is greater
  • Consulting Solutions: $100,000, or $250,000 for fixed income accounts

Services offered by RBC Wealth Management

RBC Wealth Management offers an extensive menu of services for both individual and family investors as well as business owners and corporations. Individuals can choose from a comprehensive list of financial planning services and a variety of investment options.

Businesses owners can use RBC Wealth Management services for employee retirement plans and employee stock options, among other services.

Here is a full list of services offered by RBC Wealth Management:

  • Portfolio management
    • Rebalancing
    • Dollar cost averaging
    • Tax management services
    • Environment, social and governance (ESG) and socially responsible investing
  • Financial planning
    • Cash and credit solutions
    • Client risk prevention
    • Trust services
    • Insurance solutions
    • Retirement income planning
    • Education funding
    • Gifting and philanthropic solutions
  • Pension and institutional consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors
  • Educational seminars and workshops
  • Employee retirement plans
  • Corporate and executive services
    • Investment banking services
    • Employee stock options
    • Directed share programs
    • Corporate share repurchases
    • Equity risk management
    • Affiliate trading programs
    • Insurance planning
    • Lending
    • Restricted stock transactions
    • Pre/post-IPO planning

How RBC Wealth Management invests your money

If you invest with RBC Wealth Management, your advisor will recommend styles and strategies for your portfolio based on your risk profile. Your risk profile is determined by your financial situation, investment goals and your risk tolerance, among other factors. Client funds can be managed in either a discretionary manner, where advisors make all trading decisions without needing to consult the client, and on a non-discretionary basis, in which the client must sign off on all investment decisions.

Your investing experience will be shaped by which investment program you choose to use. The firm sponsors the following customized advisory programs:

  • RBC Unified Portfolio: This program has the lowest minimum investment requirement — $2,500— and is managed by an overlay manager or third-party manager. Investments used typically include a mix of mutual funds, ETPs and model portfolios.
  • RBC Advisor: Your financial advisor provides non-discretionary advice for investing in eligible securities with this program, which means that you will need to approve each trade made in your account. Investment recommendations may include eligible securities, such as mutual funds. The minimum is $25,000 for this service.
  • Portfolio Focus: The minimum for this program is $50,000. A financial advisor will work with you to determine your investment objectives and needs. Investments may include eligible equity securities (foreign and domestic), bond wrap-eligible mutual funds and ETPs.
  • Managed Account Program (MAP): This program requires a minimum investment of $100,000 or the investment managers’ minimum, whichever is greater. You select an investment manager (unverified by RBC) and RBC Wealth Management does not review or negotiate the advisory agreement between you and that manager. This program allows you to choose your own investment manager while still receiving brokerage and possible other services from RBC Wealth Management.
  • Consulting Solutions: With this service, you select an eligible investment manager that participates in the program as well as an investment strategy. You need a minimum of $100,000, or $250,000 for a fixed-income account.

Assets the firm typically uses in client portfolios may include:

Funds used may include those managed by RBC. The firm also offers impact investing solutions for those who want to align their investments with their values.

Fees RBC Wealth Management charges for its services

Investment management fees: Investment advisory clients of RBC Wealth Management pay a program fee that’s calculated based on a percentage of assets under management. The maximum fee is 2.50% of assets under management if you invest less than $25 million. For portfolios of greater value, the maximum advice fee is negotiable.

RBC Wealth Management Advice Fee Schedule
Account valueMaximum advice fee
Up to $24,999,9992.50%
$25,000,000 and aboveNegotiable

While these are the maximum rates you’ll pay, fees vary, and you can negotiate them with your financial advisor when you enroll in an investment program. Your rate is determined based on a number of factors, including the size of your account, the amount of time you have had an account at RBC Wealth Management, the combined value of all of your accounts with RBC Wealth Management, the types of securities and services provided and other relevant criteria.

Fees are payable in advance on a quarterly basis. Keep in mind that the program fee does not include a number of fees and expenses, such as bid-ask spreads, odd-lot differentials, exchange fees, certain taxes, short-term trading charges and various other investment-related charges.

Financial planning fees: For financial planning services, clients will pay a separate fixed fee. The fee starts at a minimum of $1,000 and tops out at $10,000 in most cases, though in certain circumstances a higher fee may be negotiated.

RBC Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

Similar to most massive wealth management firms, RBC Capital Management has a number of disclosures. As RBC Wealth Management is a division of RBC Capital Management, these disclosures, which are mostly violations of various Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulations, are reported on RBC Wealth Management’s SEC filings. For reference, the SEC requires all registered investment advisory firms to detail any legal and disciplinary events within the last 10 years in their Form ADV filings.

Most recently, in 2021, it was alleged that RBC Capital Market’s risk management and supervisory protocols did not prevent the entry of erroneous orders; reject orders that exceed appropriate price or size parameters; or reject duplicative orders. Without admitting fault, the firm was censured and fined.

Also in 2021, the Massachusetts Securities Division alleged that RBC Capital Markets failed to adequately supervise its representatives in regards to the use of master limited partnership energy and telecom positions in client accounts. The firm settled the matter without admitting to fault, agreeing to pay sanctions and fines.

Beyond these most recent events, a number of the fines levied by FINRA against the firm are for allegations related to the firm’s failure to put in place supervisory systems and procedures designed to ensure compliance with certain laws and regulations, between 2008 and 2016.

For more information on the firm and further details on its complete disciplinary history, you can visit its IAPD page.

RBC Wealth Management onboarding process

To get started with RBC Wealth Management, you have a few options:

  • Call the firm: You can reach out at 1-800-759-4029.
  • Fill out a contact form: You’ll be asked to provide your name, address, email, phone number and state of residence, and select if you prefer to be contacted via phone or email.
  • Respond to a brief survey to get connected with an advisor: The survey gathers information including whether you’re a retiree, business owner or professional; what your financial goals are; and what personal finance concerns keep you up at night. RBC Wealth Management will then summarize available solutions and provide links to relevant articles. You’ll also be asked to fill in your contact details so you can get matched with an advisor.

As one of the largest financial advisor firms in the U.S. with affiliate advisors across the country, there isn’t one standard method for onboarding or client interaction at RBC Wealth Management. Your interactions with your advisor will depend on how they run their business. Most financial advisors start by gathering details about your current financial state and financial goals and then recommending possible solutions.

In terms of communications, you typically can expect monthly statements and trade confirmations, as well as quarterly reports listing securities in custody held in the account.

Where RBC Wealth Management is located

RBC Wealth Management’s Form ADV lists locations in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Additionally, the firm is registered to do business in most states, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, even if there aren’t necessarily offices in those locations.

Is RBC Wealth Management right for you?

RBC Wealth Management may be a good choice if you’re an investor who has multiple personal and business needs that align with RBC Wealth Management’s services and RBC’s banking offerings. Since fees are negotiable and can depend on factors like how much total business the client has at RBC Wealth Management, an investor with multiple uses for the company will likely pay less in fees than an individual who is solely interested in one service.

While the company does have a low minimum investment requirement for one of its investment programs, you’ll have to work with your individual advisor to determine how much you’ll pay for their services. The firm’s fee structure isn’t transparent and may depend on which affiliated advisor you choose. Before you make your decision, be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right advisor for you.

The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.