RBC wants to dedicate 40 percent of tech budget on innovation, move away from spending on legacy systems


RBC’s CEO Dave McKay says RBC wants to spend at least 40 percent of its overall tech budget on innovation, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, rather than maintaining old systems.

RBC CEO Dave McKay calls AI and blockchain some of the most transformative technologies in banking.

According to BNN, McKay said that a few years ago, more than 80 percent of RBC’s spending was on running the bank and sustaining traditional systems. Now, RBC’s goal is to “get down to at least 60 percent,” and McKay says it’s halfway there as he’s seen a rise in spending on new technology.

“We’ve been able to shift a huge amount of spend, over hundreds of millions of dollars, into growth and development,” said McKay.

In recent months, RBC has been increasing its support for initiatives focused on AI and blockchain research. In October last year, RBC announced that it would help establish the RBC Research in Machine Learning practice at the Banting Institute at the University of Toronto, an initiative led by co-founder and co-inventor of Nymi, Dr. Foteini Agrafioti.

Earlier this year, RBC announced that it will establish another AI research lab at the University of Alberta, with AI pioneer Dr. Richard Sutton leading as head academic advisor.

RBC has also been investing in innovation outside of its organization. LEAGUE announced that its first partner to underwrite its insurance products was RBC Insurance. At the time, LEAGUE founder Mike Serbinis said that other banks were too slow when he was looking for a partner, but RBC shared its vision and was willing to integrate into the LEAGUE platform.

McKay has flagged artificial intelligence and blockchain as some of the most transformative technologies in banking, and will likely continue investing in its advancement in coming years.


Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.

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