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Biggest Canadian bank comes to India

Tuesday, 05 February 2008, 05:53 Hrs
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Toronto: The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the country's biggest, has become the second Canadian bank to enter India by opening a representative office in Mumbai.

This is the first foray into Asia for the bank, which has little operations outside North America. Akhauri Sinha will head its India operations.

Bank president and CEO Gordon Nixon opened the office in India's commercial capital Friday. He said the strong Indian economy presented huge opportunities for RBC.

Since the bank had embarked on expansion outside North America, India "is a natural choice" for their strategy in Asia, he said.

"India is showing an increasing demand for areas in which RBC has competitive strengths - infrastructure and project finance, energy, metals and mining, structured products, currency and bond trading, and wealth management services," Nixon said.

Dipendarra J. Singh will head the bank's wealth management business in India. Vikas Jambotkar will look after RBC services to Indian financial institutions, RBC media director Beja Rodeck told IANS.

She said the representative office was the first step in entering India at a later stage.

"Right now we have no plans for retail presence there. With our representative office, we will focus on providing capital markets products and services to Indian banks and corporations, wealth management services for high net worth individuals and correspondent banking and trade finance services to Indian financial institutions," Rodeck said.

Nixon said the bank would help the huge Indian diaspora in Canada to invest in India's booming economy.

"Indo-Canadians have made and continue to make a huge contribution to the fabric of Canadian life. Their presence and cosmopolitan imprint on our cities, especially Toronto and Vancouver, have been profound. They form an important, indeed critical, link between India and Canada," he added.

Meanwhile, Scotiabank, the second largest Canadian bank, which has five offices in India, has sought permission from the Indian government to allow it to open more offices.

"The Indian government still has stiff restrictions on foreign banks. They don't allow you to open more offices. They don't allow you to buy more than five percent of a bank. How can you do business there?" a senior Scotiabank executive asked while speaking to IANS.
Source: IANS
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