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Canada’s robust, agile and innovative banking system an asset to foreign businesses

June 10, 2019

Foreign subsidiaries locating in Montréal need to access a number of services, including banking services. In today’s increasingly competitive global marketplace, service providers must deliver more than just basic solutions to stay ahead of the game. Yan Liao, Vice-President, Commercial Financial Services, at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), shares his vision of 21st-century banking and talks about the key features of the Canadian banking system.

A cross-sector approach and a diverse range of services

“Just recently, my team had the opportunity to assist a European tourism company in successfully launching its Canadian operations. Our role was to connect the organization with potential partners. We also provided access to a network of consulting firms that could guide the organization through its expansion journey,” said Yan Liao.

Over the years, finance professionals have acquired a high level of financial engineering expertise to meet the increasingly complex needs of their clients. They help businesses develop financing packages by approaching specialized government or semi-public institutions such as the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Investissement Québec (IQ).

The advantages of the Canadian banking system

The Canadian banking system has all the advantages of a consolidated industry with six big banks that provide integrated services (e.g., personal and commercial credit, wealth management, capital markets products, issue of shares, insurance). This system is very different from the more fragmented environment in the United States and Europe.

The Canadian banking sector has become one of the most modern in the world and has invested heavily in its digital transformation over the past few years. “At RBC, for instance, we’ve spent $3 billion on IT. While cheques are still popular in the U.S., virtually everything is automated in Canada,” explained Mr. Liao.

High capital ratios

Canada has a reputation for strong institutions. The Canadian banking system, for instance, showed great resilience during the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent recession. Canadian regulators that oversee financial institutions require banks to maintain some of the highest capital ratios in the world—proof that Canada has a healthy business climate. What’s more, Canada offers economic and political stability and an environment where interest rates and inflation are held in check.

A culturally diverse workforce for increased global reach

Foreign businesses looking to hire in Greater Montréal can choose from a pool of bilingual and trilingual candidates. That is something they cannot do in other parts of North America. Montréal is the perfect gateway for Asian and European companies interested in entering the North American market. “Relying on RBC, whose employees speak multiple languages, is certainly an advantage for companies looking to move to Montréal,” said Mr. Liao, who has been with RBC for 20 years.

All that aside, the region’s financial institutions boast agile, high-calibre experts, who recognize the value of Montréal’s diverse and innovative business environment.

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