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RBC picks Jefferies exec as new CEO

RBC Wealth Management-U.S. named Michael Armstrong, who has been serving as Global Head of Wealth Management at Jefferies, as a replacement for retiring CEO John Taft, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Armstrong's appointment represents the latest transformation at RBC. Earlier this year, Tom Sagissor was appointed president, a new created position to lead the firm's private client group. And last year, RBC completed the acquisition of City National, a Los Angeles-based bank that serves ultrawealthy clients.

Armstrong will report to Russell Goldsmith, CEO of City National.

"I believe the business needs both a CEO and a president to take on the many challenges and opportunities ahead," Goldsmith wrote in an internal memo sent to advisers. "With Michael and Tom leading together, the company will be able to enhance its capabilities for clients and colleagues and achieve even greater success."

Armstrong, who did not return calls seeking comment, will start his new position at an undetermined date this summer, according to the memo.

Goldsmith said that Armstrong's experience and track record in financial services made him the right person to lead RBC's wealth management business in the U.S.
Armstrong had been at Jefferies since 2014, according to the memo. Previously he held executive positions at Morgan Stanley, in both wealth management and capital markets. His work experience also took him overseas; at one point he worked in Hong Kong as a regional chief operating officer.

A spokesman for Jefferies did not return calls seeking comment.

Taft, RBC's long-serving wealth management CEO, announced his retirement at the start of the year. In an exclusive interview with On Wall Street, Taft said that his successor's biggest challenge would be adjusting to the new regulatory environment, particularly the Labor Department's new fiduciary rule.

"That will be an all-hands-on-deck challenge to make sure we comply with the new regulations and that client relationships aren't disrupted by the new regulations," Taft said.

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