**Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank & Trust to begin operations in The Bahamas and Barbados**
**Fidelity Bank & Trust International Limited** and **Royal Bank of Canada** have signed a definitive joint venture agreement, under which RBC will acquire a 50% interest in Fidelity’s wholly owned Bahamas-based subsidiary, Fidelity Merchant Bank & Trust Limited. A release from Fidelity today indicated that the transaction is subject to normal closing conditions, including receipt of all necessary regulatory approval, and is expected to be completed within the next three months.
The joint venture is intended to be called **Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank & Trust Limited.** Royal Fidelity will provide corporate finance and advisory, investment management, stock brokerage, share registrar and transfer agency, pension and mutual fund administration services to existing and new clients throughout the Caribbean.
RBC will transfer its Barbados investment management and trust business to a Barbados subsidiary of Royal Fidelity upon receipt of local approvals and licenses. Upon closing, Royal Fidelity will operate in The Bahamas and Barbados with assets under management and administration in excess of US$1 billion, with plans to open offices elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Michael Anderson, president of Fidelity Merchant Bank & Trust, will be President of Royal Fidelity. Both RBC and Fidelity will continue to operate their current retail banking and other businesses in the region under their respective brands.
Anwer Sunderji, chairman and CEO of Fidelity, said, *“This transaction validates our strategy in deploying resources to build our merchant bank subsidiary, which has established itself as the leading investment advisor and wealth management institution in The Bahamas. Innovative products, solid advice and unparalleled service have been key to Fidelity’s success. Through this transforming partnership with Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Fidelity will gain access to significant financial and technical resources that will enable it to grow rapidly within and outside The Bahamas.”*
*“This transaction extends RBC’s growing financial services platform in the Caribbean, giving even greater access to the fast growing merchant banking and corporate advisory sector in the region,”* said Ross McDonald, head of Caribbean banking, RBC. *“We are impressed with Fidelity’s merchant banking operations and view this transaction to be strategically important to our expansion plans in the Caribbean.”*
Royal Fidelity will be well positioned to take advantage of the growing number of investment and financing opportunities arising across the Caribbean.* “The Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados have been centres of several large mergers, acquisitions and related capital markets transactions in recent months and the expectations are that this trend will continue,”* Anderson said.
The combination of RBC and Fidelity establishes a one-stop solution for medium to large-sized corporate finance engagements. Royal Fidelity clients will now be able to obtain corporate finance services as well as corporate banking products, such as bridge loans, project finance, and term loans, along with wealth management and fiduciary services.
“Clients of the new Royal Fidelity joint venture will benefit from RBC’s financial strength and extensive experience and capabilities in global capital markets and Fidelity’s innovative corporate finance and successful wealth management experience,” Mr. Anderson said.
Headquartered in The Bahamas, Fidelity Bank & Trust International Limited heads a financial services group offering a comprehensive range of both domestic and international banking, insurance and other financial products and services in The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands through 10 financial centres, served by over 200 employees.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name of RBC. It is Canada’s largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization and one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. The company provides personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. Its corporate support team enables business growth with expert professional advice and state-of-the art processes and technology. RBC employs approximately 70,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 14 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients throughout offices in North America and 34 countries around the world.
Royal Bank of Canada has a longstanding presence in The Bahamas, with operations dating back to 1908. Today, it boasts a retail network of 23 branches throughout New Providence and the Family Islands, a commercial banking business centre, and 37 automated banking machines. Royal Bank of Canada currently operates 42 branches, four business centers and 68 automated banking machines in eight Caribbean countries, with more than 1300 employees across the region, including The Bahamas.