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A bill of exchange or negotiable instrument drawn by the borrower for payment at maturity and accepted by a bank. The acceptance constitutes a guarantee of payment by the bank and can be traded in the money market. The bank earns a “stamping fee” for providing this guarantee.

Advanced Internal Ratings Based Approach (AIRB)
A measurement of credit risk under Basel II that uses risk weights determined from internal risk parameters, including probability of default, loss given default and exposure at default.

Allowance for credit losses
The amount deemed adequate by management to absorb identified credit losses as well as losses that have been incurred but are not yet identifiable as at the balance sheet date. This allowance is established to cover the lending portfolio including loans, acceptances, guarantees, letters of credit, and unfunded commitments. The allowance is increased by the provision for credit losses, which is charged to income and decreased by the amount of write-offs, net of recoveries in the period.

Alt-A assets
A term used in the U.S. to describe assets (mainly mortgages) with a borrower risk profile between the prime and subprime categorizations. Categorization of assets as Alt-A (as opposed to prime) varies, such as limited verification or documentation of borrowers’ income or a limited credit history.

Asset-backed securities (ABS)
Securities created through the securitization of a pool of assets, for example auto loans or credit card loans.

Assets-to-capital multiple
Total assets plus specified off-balance sheet items, as defined by OSFI, divided by total regulatory capital.

Assets under administration (AUA)
Assets administered by us, which are beneficially owned by clients, as at October 31, unless otherwise noted. Services provided in respect of assets under administration are of an administrative nature, including safekeeping, collecting investment income, settling purchase and sale transactions, and record keeping.  

Assets under management (AUM)
Assets managed by us, which are beneficially owned by clients, as at October 31, unless otherwise noted. Services provided in respect of assets under management include the selection of investments and the provision of investment advice. We have assets under management that are also administered by us and included in assets under administration.

Auction rate securities (ARS)
Securities issued through special purpose entities that hold long-term assets funded with long-term debt, with an interest rate reset every week to 35 days via auctions managed by participating financial institutions. In the U.S., these securities are issued by sponsors such as municipalities, student loan authorities or other sponsors through bank-managed auctions.
Bank-owned life insurance contracts (BOLI)
Our U.S. Insurance and Pension solutions business provides banks with BOLI stable value agreements (“wraps”), which insure the life insurance policy’s cash surrender value from market fluctuations on the underlying investments, thereby guaranteeing a minimum tax-exempt return to the counterparty. These wraps allow us to account for the underlying assets on an accrual basis instead of a mark-to-market basis.

Basis point (bp)
One one-hundredth of a percentage point (.01%).
Canadian GAAP
Canadian generally accepted accounting principles.

Capital adequacy
The level of capital that is sufficient to underpin risk and accommodate potential unexpected
increases in risk within specified regulatory targets while maintaining our business plans. This includes risks for which minimum regulatory capital requirements may not be specified.

Capital position
Measures the extent to which illiquid (longterm) assets are funded by short-term liabilities and represents a formula-based measure of mismatches in effective maturity between assets and liabilities including both comparative and directional structural liquidity risk.

Assets pledged as security for a loan or other obligation. Collateral can take many forms, such as cash, highly rated securities, property, inventory, equipment and receivables.

Collateralized debt obligation (CDO)
Securities with multiple tranches that are issued by special purpose entities and collateralized by debt obligations including bonds and loans. Each tranche offers a varying degree of risk and return so as to meet investor demand.

Collateralized loan obligation (CLO)
Securities that are backed by a pool of commercial or personal loans, structured so that there are several classes of bonds with varying maturities, called tranches.

Commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS)
Securities created through the securitization of commercial mortgages.

Commitments to extend credit
Unutilized amount of credit facilities available to clients either in the form of loans, bankers’ acceptances and other on-balance sheet financing, or through off-balance sheet products such as guarantees and letters of credit.

Covered bonds
Full recourse on-balance sheet obligations issued by banks and credit institutions that are also fully collateralized by assets over which investors enjoy a priority claim in the event of an issuer’s insolvency.

Credit default swaps (CDS)
A derivative contract that provides the purchaser with a one-time payment should the referenced entity/entities default (or a similar triggering event occur).
A contract between two parties, which requires little or no initial investment and where payments between the parties are dependent upon the movements in price of an underlying instrument, index or financial rate. Examples of derivatives include swaps, options, forward rate agreements and futures. The notional amount of the derivative is the contract amount used as a reference point to calculate the payments to be exchanged between the two parties, and the notional amount itself is generally not exchanged by the parties.

Dividend payout ratio
Common dividends as a percentage of net income after preferred share dividends.

Dividend yield
Dividends per common share divided by the average of the high and low share prices in the relevant period.
Earnings per share (EPS), basic
Calculated as net income less preferred share dividends divided by the average number of shares outstanding.

Earnings per share (EPS), diluted
Calculated as net income less preferred share dividends divided by the average number of shares outstanding adjusted for the dilutive effects of stock options and other convertible securities.

Economic Capital
An estimate of the amount of equity capital required to underpin risks. It is calculated by estimating the level of capital that is necessary to support our various businesses, given their risks, consistent with our desired solvency standard and credit ratings. The identified risks for which we calculate Economic Capital are credit, market (trading and non-trading), operational, business, fixed asset, and insurance. Additionally, Economic Capital includes goodwill and intangibles, and allows for diversification benefits across risks and business segments.

A group of 17 European Union member states that have adopted the euro currency as their sole legal tender, which include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Fair value
The amount of consideration that would be agreed upon in an arm’s length transaction between knowledgeable, willing parties who are under no compulsion to act.
Gross adjusted assets (GAA)
GAA are used in the calculation of the Assets-to-capital multiple. They represent our total assets including specified off-balance sheet items and net of prescribed deductions. Off balance sheet items for this calculation are direct credit substitutes, including letters of credit and guarantees, transaction-related contingencies, trade-related contingencies and sale and repurchase agreements.

Guarantees and standby letters of credit
These primarily represent irrevocable assurances that a bank will make payments in the event that its client cannot meet its financial obligations to third parties. Certain other guarantees, such as bid and performance bonds, represent non-financial undertakings.
Harmonized sales tax (HST)
The HST is a Canadian sales tax that replaced the federal goods and services tax (GST) and the provincial sales tax (PST) in five of the ten Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia. It is charged on most goods and services purchased in those provinces.

A risk management technique used to mitigate exposure from market, interest rate or foreign currency exchange risk arising from normal banking operations. The elimination or reduction of such exposure is accomplished by establishing offsetting positions. For example, assets denominated in foreign currencies can be offset with liabilities in the same currencies or through the use of foreign exchange hedging instruments such as futures, options or foreign exchange contracts.

Hedge funds
A type of investment fund, marketed to accredited high net worth investors, that is subject to limited regulation and restrictions on its investments compared to retail mutual funds, and that often utilize aggressive strategies such as selling short, leverage, program trading, swaps, arbitrage and derivatives.

Home equity products
This is comprised of residential mortgages and secured personal loans whereby the borrower pledges real estate as collateral.
International Financial Reporting Standards
IFRS are principles-based standards, interpretations and the framework adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board.

Impaired loans
Loans are classified as impaired when there has been a deterioration of credit quality to the extent that management no longer has reasonable assurance of timely collection of the full amount of principal and interest in accordance with the contractual terms of the loan agreement. Credit card balances are not classified as impaired as they are directly written off after payments are 180 days past due.

Innovative capital instruments
Innovative capital instruments are capital instruments issued by Special Purpose Entities (SPEs), whose primary purpose is to raise capital. We previously issued innovative capital instruments, RBC Trust Capital Securities (RBC TruCS) and RBC Trust Subordinated Notes (RBC TSNs), through three SPEs: RBC Capital Trust, RBC Capital Trust II and RBC Capital Trust III. As per OSFI guidelines, innovative capital can comprise up to 15% of net Tier 1 capital with an additional 5% eligible for Tier 2 capital.
Master netting agreement
An agreement between us and a counterparty designed to reduce the credit risk of multiple derivative transactions through the creation of a legal right of offset of exposure in the event of a default.
Net interest income
The difference between what is earned on assets such as loans and securities and what is paid on liabilities such as deposits and subordinated debentures.

Net interest margin (average assets)
Net interest income as a percentage of total average assets.

Normal course issuer bid (NCIB)
A program for the repurchase of our own shares for cancellation through a stock exchange that is subject to the various rules of the relevant stock exchange and securities commission.

Notional amount
The contract amount used as a reference point to calculate payments for derivatives.
Off-balance sheet financial instruments
A variety of arrangements offered to clients, which include credit derivatives, written put options, backstop liquidity facilities, stable value products, financial standby letters of credit, performance guarantees, credit enhancements, mortgage loans sold with recourse, commitments to extend credit, securities lending, documentary and commercial letters of credit, note issuances and revolving underwriting facilities, securities lending indemnifications and indemnifications.

Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI)
The primary regulator of federally chartered financial institutions and federally administered pension plans in Canada. OSFI’s mission is to safeguard policyholders, depositors and pension plan members from undue loss.

Operating leverage
The difference between our revenue growth rate and non-interest expense growth rate.

A contract or a provision of a contract that gives one party (the option holder) the right, but not the obligation, to perform a specified transaction with another party (the option issuer or option writer) according to specified terms.
Prepaid pension benefit cost
The cumulative excess of amounts contributed to a pension fund over the amounts recorded as pension expense.

Primary dealer
A formal designation provided to a bank or securities broker-dealer permitted to trade directly with a country’s central bank. Primary dealers participate in open market operations, act as market-makers of government debt and provide market information and analysis to assist with monetary policy.

Provision for credit losses (PCL)
The amount charged to income necessary to bring the allowance for credit losses to a level determined appropriate by management. This includes both specific and general provisions.
Repurchase agreements
These involve the sale of securities for cash and the simultaneous repurchase of the securities for value at a later date. These transactions normally do not constitute economic sales and therefore are treated as collateralized financing transactions.

Residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS)
Securities created through the securitization of residential mortgage loans.

Return on common equity (ROE)
Net income less preferred share dividends, expressed as a percentage of average common equity.

Reverse repurchase agreements
These involve the purchase of securities for cash and the simultaneous sale of the securities for value at a later date. These transactions normally do not constitute economic sales and therefore are treated as collateralized financing transactions.

Financial institutions face a number of different risks that expose them to possible losses. These risks include credit risk, market risk, liquidity and funding risk, operational risk, legal and regulatory compliance risk, reputation risk, insurance risk, and strategic risk.

Risk-weighted assets (RWA)
Assets adjusted by a regulatory risk-weight factor to reflect the riskiness of on and off-balance sheet exposures. Certain assets are not weighted, but deducted from capital. The calculation is defined by guidelines issued by OSFI based on Basel II, effective November 1, 2007. For more details, refer to the Capital management section.
Securities lending
Transactions in which the owner of a security agrees to lend it under the terms of a prearranged contract to a borrower for a fee. The borrower must collateralize the security loan at all times. An intermediary such as a bank often acts as agent for the owner of the security. There are two types of securities lending arrangements: lending with and without credit or market risk indemnification. In securities lending without indemnification, the bank bears no risk of loss. For transactions in which the bank provides an indemnification, it bears the risk of loss if the borrower defaults and the value of the collateral declines concurrently.

Securities sold short
A transaction in which the seller sells securities and then borrows the securities in order to deliver them to the purchaser upon settlement. At a later date, the seller buys identical securities in the market to replace the borrowed securities.

The process by which various financial assets are packaged into newly issued securities backed by these assets.

Special purpose entities (SPEs)
Special purpose entities, which may take the form of a corporation, trust, partnership or unincorporated entity, typically are created to accomplish a narrow and well-defined objective with legal arrangements that impose strict limits on the decision-making powers of their governing board, trustee or management over its operations. Frequently these provisions specify that the policy guiding the ongoing activities of the SPEs cannot be modified, other than perhaps by its creator or sponsor.

Standardized Approach
Risk weights prescribed by OSFI are used to calculate risk-weighted assets for the credit risk exposures. Credit assessments by OSFI-recognized external credit rating agencies of S&P, Moody’s, Fitch and DBRS are used to risk-weight our Sovereign and Bank exposures based on the standards and guidelines issued by OSFI. For our Business and Retail exposures, we use the standard risk weights prescribed by OSFI.

Structured investment vehicles
Managed investment vehicle that holds mainly highly rated asset-backed securities and funds itself using the short-term commercial paper market as well as the medium-term note (MTN) market.

Subprime loans
Subprime lending is the practice of making loans to borrowers who do not qualify for the best market interest rates because of their deficient credit history. Subprime lending carries more risk for lenders due to the combination of higher interest rates for the borrowers, poorer credit histories, and adverse financial situations usually associated with subprime applicants.
Taxable equivalent basis (teb)
Income from certain specified tax advantaged sources is increased to a level that would make it comparable to income from taxable sources. There is an offsetting adjustment in the tax provision, thereby generating the same after-tax net income.

Tier 1 capital and Tier 1 capital ratio
Tier 1 capital comprises the more permanent components of capital and consists primarily of common shareholders’ equity, non-cumulative preferred shares, the majority of which do not have conversion features into common shares, and the eligible amount of innovative capital instruments. In addition, goodwill and other items as prescribed by OSFI are deducted from Tier 1 capital to determine adjusted net Tier 1 capital. The Tier 1 capital ratio is calculated by dividing the adjusted net Tier 1 capital by risk-weighted assets.

Tier 2 capital
Tier 2 capital consists mainly of subordinated debentures, trust subordinated notes, the eligible amount of innovative capital instruments that could not be included in Tier 1 capital, and an eligible portion of the total general allowance for credit losses, less OSFI-prescribed deductions.

Total capital and total capital ratio
Total capital is defined as the total of net Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital. The total capital ratio is calculated by dividing total capital by risk-weighted assets.

A security class created whereby the risks and returns associated with a pool of assets are packaged into several classes of securities offering different risk and return profiles from those of the underlying asset pool. Tranches are typically rated by ratings agencies, and reflect both the credit quality of underlying collateral as well as the level of protection based on the tranches’ relative subordination.

Trust Capital Securities (RBC TruCS)
Transferable trust units issued by special purpose entities RBC Capital Trust or RBC Capital Trust II for the purpose of raising innovative Tier 1 capital.

Trust Subordinated Notes (RBC TSNs)
Transferable trust units issued by RBC Subordinated Notes Trust for the purpose of raising innovative Tier 2 capital.
Value-at-Risk (VaR)
A generally accepted risk-measurement concept that uses statistical models based on historical information to estimate within a given level of confidence the maximum loss in market value we would experience in our trading portfolio from an adverse one-day movement in market rates and prices.

Variable interest entity (VIE)
An entity that either does not have sufficient equity at risk to finance its activities without additional subordinated financial support, or where the holders of the equity at risk lack the characteristics of a controlling financial interest.