Royal Bank of Canada raised its dividend as it reported a first-quarter profit of $3.5 billion.
The bank says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of $1.08 per share, up from its previous payment to shareholders of $1.05 per share.
RBC’s profit amounted to $2.40 per diluted share for the quarter compared with a profit of nearly $3.2 billion or $2.15 per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier.
The bank said its adjusted diluted cash earnings per share for the quarter amounted to $2.44.
Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit $2.31 per share, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
RBC attributed those results to record earnings in capital markets as well as strong earnings growth in its personal and commercial banking operations. It also saw growth in wealth management and insurance, partially offset by lower results in investor and treasury services.
Net income for RBC’s wealth management division reached $623 million in the quarter — up 4% from a year ago.
“We had a great start to the year, delivering record quarterly earnings…We reported record results in Canadian banking and capital markets and very strong results in wealth capital management, despite interest rate headwinds, and a good quarter in insurance,” RBC chief executive Dave McKay says. “Our results were driven by strong volume growth across our leading client franchises, lower provision for credit loss and prudent expense management.”
SIA Wealth Management Inc.’s chief market strategist Colin Cieszynski said in a note to investors that he took such results as a sign that “Canadian bank earnings season is off to a positive start.”
RBC was the first of Canada’s big banks to report their earnings. TD Canada Trust, the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the National Bank of Canada will follow next week.