Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A
Acceptances
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.
Acquired Credit Impaired (ACI) loans
Loans identified as impaired on the acquisition date based on specific risk characteristics such as indications that the borrower is experiencing significant financial difficulty, probability of bankruptcy or other financial reorganization, payment status and economic conditions that correlate with defaults.
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 (ACM)
Total assets plus specified off-balance sheet items, as defined by OSFI, divided by total regulatory capital on a transitional basis. ACM has been replaced in 2015 by the Basel III Leverage Ratio.
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 structured entities that hold long-term assets funded with long-term debt. In the U.S., these securities are issued by sponsors such as municipalities, student loan authorities or other sponsors through bank-managed auctions.
Average earning assets
Average earning assets include interest-bearing deposits with other banks including certain components of cash and due from banks, securities, assets purchased under reverse repurchase agreements and securities borrowed, loans, and excludes segregated fund net assets and other assets. The averages are based on the daily balances for the period.
B
Bank-owned life insurance contracts (BOLI)
Our legacy portfolio includes BOLI where we provided 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 allowing us to guarantee 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%).
C
Collateral
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 structured 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.
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.
Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) capital
A regulatory Basel III capital measure comprised mainly of common shareholders’ equity less regulatory deductions and adjustments for goodwill and intangibles, defined benefit pension fund assets, shortfall in allowances and other specified items.
Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio
A risk-based capital measure calculated as CET1 capital divided by risk-weighted assets.
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).
D
Derivative
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 available to common shareholders.
E
Earnings per share (EPS), basic
Calculated as net income available to common shareholders divided by the average number of shares outstanding.
Earnings per share (EPS), diluted
Calculated as net income available to common shareholders 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.
Expected credit losses
The difference between the contractual cash flows due to us in accordance with the relevant contractual terms and the cash flows that we expect to receive, discounted to the balance sheet date.
F
Fair value
Fair value of a financial instrument is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
An independent U.S. government agency that aims to preserve and promote public confidence in the U.S. financial system by insuring deposits in banks and thrift institutions; identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to these deposits; and limiting the effect on the economic and financial system when a bank or thrift institution fails.
Funding Valuation Adjustment
Funding valuation adjustments are calculated to incorporate cost and benefit of funding in the valuation of uncollateralized and undercollateralized OTC derivatives. Future expected cash flows of these derivatives are discounted to reflect the cost and benefit of funding the derivatives by using a funding curve, implied volatilities and correlations as inputs.
G
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. Commencing Q1/15, the Asset-to-capital multiple and GAA have been replaced with the leverage ratio and leverage ratio exposure respectively.
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.
H
Hedge
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.
High-quality liquid assets (HQLA)
Assets are considered to be HQLA if they can be easily and immediately converted into cash at little or no loss of value during a time of stress.
Home equity products
This is comprised of residential mortgages and secured personal loans whereby the borrower pledges real estate as collateral.
I
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
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 structured entities, 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 structured entities: RBC Capital Trust, RBC Capital Trust II and RBC Subordinated Notes Trust. As per OSFI Basel III guidelines, non-qualifying innovative capital instruments treated as additional Tier 1 capital are subject to phase out over a ten year period beginning on January 1, 2013.
L  
Leverage Ratio
A Basel III regulatory measure, the ratio divides Tier 1 capital by the sum of total assets plus specified off-balance sheet items.
Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR)
The Liquidity Coverage Ratio is a Basel III metric that measures the sufficiency of HQLA available to meet net short-term financial obligations over a thirty day period in an acute stress scenario.
Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio
Calculated based on the total facility amount for the residential mortgage and homeline product divided by the value of the related residential property.
M
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.
N
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.
Net interest margin (on average earning assets)
Calculated as net interest income divided by average earning 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.
O
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.
Options
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.
P
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 provisions on impaired loans and loans not yet identified as impaired.
R 
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 available to common shareholders, 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.
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 risk-weighted, but deducted from capital. The calculation is defined by guidelines issued by OSFI. For more details, refer to the Capital management section.
S
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.
Securitization
The process by which various financial assets are packaged into newly issued securities backed by these assets.
Structured entities
A structured entity is an entity in which voting or similar rights are not the dominant factor in deciding who controls the entity, such as when the activities that significantly affect the entity’s returns are directed by means of contractual arrangements. Structured entities often have restricted activities, narrow and well defined objectives, insufficient equity to finance their activities, and financing in the form of multiple contractually-linked instruments.
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 vehicle
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.
T
Taxable equivalent basis (teb)
Income from certain specified tax advantaged sources (eligible Canadian taxable corporate dividends) 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
Tier 1 capital comprises predominantly of CET1 capital, with additional Tier 1 items such as preferred shares, innovative instruments and non-controlling interests in subsidiaries Tier 1 instruments.
Tier 2 capital
Tier 2 capital consists mainly of subordinated debentures that meet certain criteria, certain loan loss allowances and non-controlling interests in subsidiaries’ Tier 2 instruments.
Total capital and total capital ratio
Total capital is defined as the total of Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital. The total capital ratio is calculated by dividing total capital by risk-weighted assets.
Tranche
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 structured entities RBC Capital Trust or RBC Capital Trust II for the purpose of raising innovative Tier 1 capital.
U     
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.