TORONTO (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Canada <RY.TO> will focus on expanding its U.S. asset management business now that it has sold its money-losing U.S. retail banking operations to PNC Financial Services Group Inc <PNC.N> for $3.45 billion in cash and stock.
Canada's biggest bank has no plans to reinvest in U.S. retail banking right now, choosing instead to focus on its wealth management and capital markets operations in the country, James Westlake, head of international banking and insurance at RBC, said in an interview on Monday.
"We would be interested in many pieces of wealth management, I think notably, asset management is an area that we have earmarked for growth in the United States," he said.
"It could be an acquisition, but it's just at the least increasing our capabilities from where we are."
Westlake said RBC is looking to build up its asset management presence in mainland Europe and Asia as well.
RBC will still offer banking services to high-net-worth clients though its U.S. broker-dealer, and to Canadians doing business in the United States.
Westlake said the deal with PNC, which is expected to close in March 2012, firms up RBC's balance sheet ahead of new international rules on capital requirements for banks, even though the RBC is already well-capitalized.
"The fact that it's going to take eight-and-a-half months to close, we may well have other thoughts that come up by then of good places to deploy capital."
(Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Frank McGurty)