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.

Allowance for credit losses (ACL)

The amount deemed adequate by management to absorb expected credit losses as at the balance sheet date. The allowance is established for all financial assets subject to impairment assessment, including certain loans, debt securities, customers’ liability under acceptances, financial guarantees, and undrawn loan commitments. The allowance is changed by the amount of provision for credit losses recorded, which is charged to income, and decreased by the amount of write-offs net of recoveries in the period.

Asset-backed securities (ABS)

Securities created through the securitization of a pool of assets, for example auto loans or credit card loans.

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.

Attributed capital

Attributed capital is based on the Basel III regulatory capital requirements and economic capital.

Auction rate securities (ARS)

Debt securities whose interest rates are regularly reset through an auction process.

Average earning assets

Average earning assets include interest-bearing deposits with other banks, securities, net of applicable allowance, assets purchased under reverse repurchase agreements and securities borrowed, loans, net of allowance, cash collateral and margin deposits. Insurance assets, and all other assets not specified are excluded. The averages are based on the daily balances for the period.

Basis point (bp)

One one-hundredth of a percentage point (.01%).


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 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 available to common shareholders.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

IFRS are principles-based standards, interpretations and the framework adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board.

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 RBC Homeline Plan® product divided by the value of the related residential property.

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 (on average earning assets, net)

Calculated as net interest income divided by average earning assets, net.

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.

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 provisions on performing and impaired financial assets.

RBC Homeline Plan® products

The amount charged to income necessary to bring the allowance for credit losses to a level determined appropriate by management. This includes provisions on performing and impaired financial assets.

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.

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.

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.

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 riskweight 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 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.

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, limited recourse capital notes 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 riskweighted 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.

Unattributed capital

Unattributed capital represents common equity in excess of common equity attributed to our business segments and is reported in the Corporate Support segment.

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.