A leader in the Royal Bank of Canada’s global digital strategies is joining the bank’s U.S. wealth management unit and filling a new executive role.
RBC announced Wednesday that Amit Sahasrabudhe would be the new head of strategy and technology. Prior to the new position, Sahasrabudhe was the head of wealth management strategy and digital solutions, which he described as a role more global in nature and intersecting with other businesses, such as asset management. He was hired by RBC almost three years ago and consulted for banks and wealth managers for Deloitte before then.
In the new position, Sahasrabudhe has been tasked with gathering the bank’s resources to leverage strategies and improve technology at RBC Wealth Management U.S. He will be part of the executive leadership and report directly to CEO Michael Armstrong.
Until now, Sahasrabudhe’s responsibilities were shared amongst other leadership and groups at the bank. He said the new position will help better define strategies and give them a spearhead in an important market where RBC sees opportunity to grow. The U.S. wealth unit is larger than the bank’s Canadian unit and revenue grew from $685 million to $881 million over the past year, according to RBC’s first quarter earnings.
“It’s an exciting time for this business and there is a lot of momentum behind it,” Sahasrabudhe said.
He added that the unit won’t be investing in technology “for technology’s sake.” Sahasrabudhe will be evaluating the unit, then planning and determining where to go from there in the coming months.
Sahasrabudhe is still living in Canada and has not yet moved to Minneapolis, where RBC Wealth Management U.S. is headquartered.
It’s been said within the wealth management industry that most new technology has benefitted advisors more than clients, which Sahasrabudhe said he agreed with. But he added that while improving the client experience will become increasingly important, there are still many opportunities to use technology to better advisors.
“You want to make sure that you invest in the advisor in at least the same pace you are investing the client,” he said.
That could mean any number of developments including the use of “data insights” to evaluate an advisor’s book of business, generate leads or better facilitate goals-based planning. Sahasrabudhe said the entire business life cycle will be taken into consideration.
For clients, he would like to see better access to more information and simplification to go along with that. They “don’t want to make it complicated,” but what that will look like exactly remains to be seen.
The source of improved strategies and developments is also up for consideration, Sahasrabudhe said. Developing technology in-house gives unparalleled customization and control over a product, which might be highly valuable. But leveraging external tools, such as the firm's partnership with MoneyGuidePro financial planning software, are also valuable and up for consideration, he said.
He also didn’t rule out the possibility of acquisitions in the financial technology space.