ontario news watch

Finance committee calls for feds to block RBC-HSBC deal on competition concerns

OTTAWA — The finance committee of the House of Commons has called on the Finance Minister to block RBC’s $13.5-billion takeover of HSBC Canada over concerns it will hurt competition. 

The committee says in a report to Parliament that there are already very few financial institutions in the Canadian banking sector, so the removal of a competitor could raise bank fees that are already elevated.

The six committee members from the Conservative, Bloc Québécois and NDP parties voted in favour of the report, while Liberal members abstained.

The takeover has already been approved by the Competition Bureau, but still requires approval from Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

RBC spokesman Andrew McGrath said in a statement that the takeover is in the best interest of HSBC Canada’s 700,000 clients, and that the Competition Bureau’s review did not identify Competition Act concerns with the deal.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre in October called for the deal to be blocked, pointing to the Competition Bureau’s finding that the bank was a rate disrupter on mortgages so the loss of the bank could leave Canadians paying higher rates.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:RY)

The Canadian Press