GARY Wing, business manager for the Royal Bank of Canada Global Securities Services, is sure of one thing - the bank is determined to remain a player in the custody market. 'Custody is very much viewed as a core business,' he said, which was based on a solid bedrock of a strong home base in Canada. Last month, the bank bought out the Bank of Nova Scotia Montreal Trust, while, in July last year, it acquired the custody business of Toronto Dominion Bank and Trust. These moves brought about C$47 billion (about HK$258.5 billion) of client assets under administration into the Royal Bank of Canada's fold. As Toronto Dominion Bank senior vice-president Charles Macfarlane said at the time: 'We did not feel we could grow our market share enough to justify the substantial ongoing technological investment in this very competitive, finely priced business.' So, what makes Mr Wing so sure his bank can survive in the business while many of its competitors have thrown in the towel? He said consolidation in the market had seen the growth of some giant United States-based players, three of which had more than US$10 trillion of assets in custody. While this gave big firms the advantage of the kind of critical mass that translated into economies of scale, there were some advantages in being a smaller player. 'I still think there's a lot of consolidation to go,' Mr Wing said, adding that there was a distinct possibility a 'huge US super-power' would appear in the industry but, from the RBC's point of view, even that might not be a bad thing. The bank's strategy was to focus on building business and attracting small- to-medium players that had growth potential. 'Our aim is to service that market right now. Then, in five years, what is a US$25 million portfolio could easily be $1 billion or $2 billion,' Mr Wing said. That strategy made Asia an ideal region for the kind of business the bank wished to generate. For a global custodian, Asia was very much a waiting game - it took time for markets to develop the kind of cross-border flows that were their bread and butter, Mr Wing said. 'First, you have to satisfy the domestic capital requirement, then you look around the region at places where you are comfortable doing business, then you look at globalisation.' And Royal Bank of Canada aims to be at hand for when Asia's investors do just that.