It’s time for Canadians to make their final RRSP contributions for the 2015 tax year.
1. Strong earnings
The Canadian banks are facing some economic headwinds, but Royal Bank continues to deliver solid results.
Net income for fiscal Q4 2015 rose by 11% compared with the same period in 2014. In those three months the bank earned just under $2.6 billion, and for all of 2015 Royal Bank pulled in a cool $10 billion.
That’s some serious cash.
The strong performance can be attributed to the company’s balanced revenue stream. Royal bank gets 52% of its income from the personal and commercial banking operations, 24% from its capital markets division, 11% from the wealth management group, 7% from the insurance business, and 6% from its investor and treasury services segment.
This is important for investors because a weak quarter in one pillar of the business is often offset by a strong performance in another.
2. Investments for future growth
Royal Bank recently completed its US$5 billion acquisition of California-based City National Corp., a private and commercial bank focused on high-net-worth clients.
The timing of the deal looks to be spot on, as rising U.S. interest rates should boost the group’s earnings. The big move in the value of the American dollar against the loonie will also help now that every dollar earned south of the border is worth more than CAD$1.40.
3. Investments for survival
Royal Bank is investing to ensure it remains relevant in a rapidly changing environment. The emergence of mobile payment competitors poses a real long-term threat to traditional banks, and Royal Bank is spending the money needed to get ahead of the curve.
The company is investing in new technologies, partnering with FinTech start-ups, and negotiating agreements with some of the top players in the digital space.
As an example, Royal Bank recently signed agreements with Uber Canada and Airbnb Canada. Under those deals, customers of the services will receive RBC Rewards points for using their Royal Bank credit cards to pay for purchases.
The bank has also rolled out tap and mobile wallet technology for its customers.
Investors should view the partnerships and investments as a sign that management is moving in the right direction on the emerging trends.
4. Dividend growth
Royal Bank raised its dividend by 8% in 2015. The quarterly payment of $0.79 per share yields about 4.6%. Investors might see the pace of the hikes slow a bit, but the payout should continue to grow.