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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

RBC's Appelstein Preps for 2014 Sales Push

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

For Matthew Appelstein, RBC Global Asset Management's head of distribution, 2014 will be a year for aggressively reaching out to the retail market, but with an institutional touch.

Case-in-point, RBC has hired two sales veterans to both serve as managing directors of institutional sales for RBC.

They are Bill Irvine and Donald Sanya.

"We are building out our capabilities as we channelize the U.S. market. These two executives will help us grow out our institutional business. This is really important. basically we are going to have someone on the sub-advised space, and one to focus on the platforms," he recently told MFWire.

Both are heavy-hitters.
Irvine will be responsible for developing and managing institutional relationships in the northeastern United States. Before joining RBC, he was responsible for institutional business development at Dimensional Fund Advisors, Eaton Vance/Parametric and State Street Research and Management, according to RBC.

Meanwhile, Sanya is responsible for developing institutional relationships and distributing investment solutions to clients in the southeastern United States. Previously, Sanya was a vice-president within the Client Business Group at BlackRock Asset Management where he assisted institutional clients with investment solutions across traditional and alternative asset classes, according to RBC.

"I believe the market is becoming more institutionally orientated. We are bringing in people who understand the clients. We are trying to align our folks with the various channels. You have to understand what your client needs," he said.

Appelstein's serious about the whole education thing. Both either hires can sell a single product, they are required to spend at least two weeks in Europe getting trained on the products marketed over there.

"They are just working now to understand our product set. How are you going to solve people's investment issues unless you understand the products?" he said.

To learn more about how RBC trains its sales folk, read this MFWire story.

These hirings are just the latest in Appelstein's push to grow RBC's sales force. For example, he hired seven additional distribution and investment executives.

"There are specific issues when you deal with a retail market place. We want people to understand that. We are organizing ourselves to understand the clients' needs and have a consultative sale, not just push products. You need people who can take a deep dive into the products," he said.

Moreover, in addition to Irvine and Sanya, Eric Autio was hired on the investment side to serve as senior equity analyst for the capacity-constrained equity strategies team in Boston.

The new distribution hires will have plenty to pitch in the coming months. Appelstein said that RBC plans to open up between two to four new funds on the alts side in the U.S., thanks to its alts shop BlueBay Asset Management.

Another product that will be heavily promoted by Appelstein's team is the Access Capital Community Investment Fund, a socially responsible '40 Act group that actually allows investors to decide where their money gets invested. Say an investor wants his or her money to go into affordable housing in Detroit, or education in upstate New York, or minority small businesses in Baltimore, fund manager Ronald Homer will direct the money into these target areas within three to six months.

Appelstein says there has been a booming demand for such investments from high net worth clients and platforms.

"With this product you can have a double bottom-line, you can give back tot he community and get a market rate of return," he said. 

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