RBC I&TS eyes global data lake in enhanced digital move

RBC is one of the many global custodians that are digitally transforming their business, with an emphasis on data management and data analytics tools.
By Joe Parsons

Since RBC Investor and Treasury Services (RBC I&TS) hired Francis Jackson from JP Morgan almost three years ago, it has been on a steady path to digitally transform its business model.

Jackson runs the global client coverage business where he is responsible for developing RBC I&TS’ client relationships, focusing on client experience and global business development.

Since joining the Canadian bank, he has brought on a host of his former JP Morgan colleagues, including England Rugby international Pat Sanderson as head of global client coverage for the UK, and Aneet Shah as head of global client experience.

A lot of these appointments have focused on boosting client interactions and client experience, tying into Jackson’s plans to transform RBC I&TS’ front- and back-end technology offering.

“We are two years into a four-year programme where we are largely transforming our back-end technology and digitising the front-end experience for clients,” Jackson told Global Custodian.

“We have completed this process for our Australia business, and are fully digitising the front-end - initially for our Canadian clients.”

RBC is one of the many global custodians that are digitally transforming their custody and fund services business, with an emphasis on data management and data analytics tools. The adoption of cloud technologies, and the development of private data lakes, has been one way global custodians are digitising their services.

For RBC I&TS and its network of data platforms around the world, the goal is to merge these onto one global data lake.

“We are also in the process of integrating all of our data onto one global data lake. The industry is ingesting billions of terabytes of data into these data lakes, in which service providers process and make the data accessible through APIs, or hold on to it. The future is to use these data lakes to win clients and grow the business,” said Jackson.

Jackson highlighted the bank is also leveraging its network with Canadian universities to harness artificial intelligence (AI) and develop data tools that help its asset manager clients make investment decisions.

“We are applying data analysis tools and using artificial intelligence to help drive data decisions for clients.  Canada is a centre of excellence for AI and RBC has several links to universities that are producing data scientists that we can leverage for our business and provide insights into how to use the data,” he said.

As well as improving its global data capabilities, RBC I&TS has sought to digitise transfer agency services, one of its core offerings in Europe.

In October last year, it hired Geert Pick in a new global product management role where he would be responsible for setting the strategic direction of the custodian’s transfer agency product and aligning it with client demands.

Peek joined RBC from Genpact where he led digital transformation initiatives for strategic capital markets clients.

“We are seeing increasingly complex distribution strategies from our asset management clients, who are in turn bringing a more complex set of demands for transfer agency. This is something that some global custodians have shied away from, however we are finding that our clients are willing to pay for it and this is something we have expertise in,” added Jackson.