Why Conquest partnership is a 'one-two punch' for RBC's digital advice strategy

Leaders at Big Six bank and wealth tech giant unpack thinking behind collaboration

Why Conquest partnership is a 'one-two punch' for RBC's digital advice strategy

Several weeks after Conquest Planning’s Series A funding round – which raised $24 million from several investors including RBC – the Big Six bank is taking the first steps towards implementing Conquest’s next-generation financial planning software across its enterprise.

Under the new partnership, RBC will use Conquest’s AI-powered planning solution to complement the advice clients receive from its advisors. That experience will be provided in parallel with MyAdvisor, a digital advice platform that RBC has enabled between advisors and clients across the retail and mass-affluent space.

“We developed MyAdvisor to let clients track their goals, and the progress they’ve made to achieve them. Currently, we have 3.5 million clients on the platform,” says Michael Walker, vice president and head of Mutual Funds Distribution and RBC Financial Planning (pictured above, left). “Once we marry Conquest’s capability with MyAdvisor, we very much see it as a one-two punch for our digital advice strategy going forward.”

For Dr. Mark Evans, the founder and CEO of Conquest, this partnership has been a long time coming. His professional relationship with Walker goes back 25 years; at the time, RBC became the first major bank to adopt Naviplan, the first financial-planning software platform Evans and his team developed. When Conquest was incorporated in 2018, Walker was the first person to reach out.

“We met with Michael to talk about what our vision was and what we wanted to do. And it married up nicely with what RBC was looking to do as well,” says Evans (above, right). “Since then, we’ve been very close to Michael’s team, as well as Keith Wilson and others at the bank about how we can best work together.”

Aside from that history, Evans says the experience Walker’s team has in effectively leveraging technology to provide advice at scale makes them ideal partners for Conquest. Beyond that, he sees RBC’s backbone of technology, retail banking presence, and high-net-worth planning capability as the ideal infrastructure to provide advice across all consumer segments.

“Traditionally, financial planning has been up against the mass affluent and high-net-worth space,” Walker says. “The new capability that Conquest brings, and the collaboration that’s built within the platform, will allow us to bring planning to a broader audience of Canadians.”

According to Walker, RBC will continue to manage ongoing client relationships and interactions through MyAdvisor, while Conquest’s engine will be used to drive more in-depth planning. The bank is also in the process of launching a new CRM capability through Salesforce, Client360, across all its advisors and businesses.

“With MyAdvisor, the Client360 Salesforce technology, and the Conquest integration, we’ll be able to push our advice capabilities across all consumer segments from mass retail to the ultra-high-net-worth,” Evans says.

As the first leg of its implementation, RBC expects to replace its existing financial planning software and launch the Conquest platform to its retail financial planning team – which includes upwards of 3,000 financial planners – in the fall; the rollout for high-net-worth clients will happen before the end of the year. Beyond 2023, he says the Conquest implementation will be extended to include self-serve capabilities and additional client segments.

In time, Walker says RBC may leverage the MyAdvisor platform beyond its retail business and into its other investment channels. Because Conquest’s planning engine will power calculations for clients throughout, they can expect a seamless experience as they progress through RBC’s different financial service channels.

“We can have a path for someone to start as a self-directed investor, then determine when they need to be moved up to the mass-affluent level for more in-depth advice, and then to high-net-worth for a one-one-one advisor relationship,” Evans says. “The ability to do that in a very efficient fashion across the technology platform is going to be key.”

“In the past, you may have had a lot of financial plans that were created and left sitting on the shelf,” Walker says. “With this software, we can collaborate with the client to develop and actually implement their financial plans … the ability to drive those choices and outcomes at scale, I think, is what really makes the difference.”