Joining us for your questions are George Lewis, Head of Wealth Management; Doug McGregor, Chairman and Co-CEO, Capital Markets; Dave McKay, Head of Canadian Banking; Mark Standish, President and Co-CEO, Capital Markets; Jim Westlake, Head of International Banking and Insurance; and Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer.As noted on slide two, our comments may contain forward-looking statements which involve applying assumptions and have inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from these statements. I will now turn the call over to Gord Nixon. Gordon Nixon Thank you very much, Amy, and good morning everyone. I am sure you are all very tired given the active days of yesterday and today. But it’s a pleasure to be here this morning. We reported our results, as you are aware, in the third quarter with earnings of over $2.2 billion which is an increase of 73% compared to last year. Excluding certain favorable items this quarter, we had earnings of $2 billion, which again very strong, driven by exceptional growth in our Canadian retail franchise as well as strong capital markets and insurance results. We also have record results year-to-date with earnings of $5.7 billion and based on our performance we expect to meet our medium term financial objectives in 2012. These results clearly demonstrate the earnings power of RBC and the strength of our diversified business model, with the right mix of retail and wholesale as we highlight on slide six. I am also very pleased to report that today we announced a $0.03 or 5% increase to our dividend, bringing the quarterly dividend to $0.60 a share. This is our third dividend increase in the past 15 months. As shown on slide seven, our capital ratios remain strong. Our tier one capital ratio stands at 13%, reflecting solid retained earnings growth and risk weighted asset management, offset somewhat by the impact of our acquisition of the 50% stake in RBC Dexia, which we are very excited about and we closed at the end of the quarter.
As we noted in Q2, based on our current interpretation of the rules which is yet to be finalized, we already meet or exceed the Basel III capital requirements that become effective in the first quarter of 2013. Currently, our estimated Basel III pro forma tier one common equity ratio is 8.3%.Turning to the performance of our business segments. Overall, we are extremely pleased with the strong momentum in Canadian banking and we are also proud that these results were achieved while simultaneously reaching new heights in customer loyalty measures. Canadian banking had a record quarter with earnings of over $1 billion accounting for half of our total earnings. Even in a slowing environment, volume growth was strong at 8% and we continue to leverage our size and scale to take disproportionate share of industry growth and profitability and to gain market share. Once more we achieved these results while demonstrating relative margin stability. As part of our enterprise wide cost management program, Canadian banking is focused on eliminating cost and reinvesting in the future. This quarter Canadian banking delivered strong operating leverage ahead of schedule and an efficiency ratio of under 45%. Moving to wealth management, as you know we have an ambitious growth objective to this segment and while we are behind schedule as a result of the uncertain markets and low interest rates, we are well positioned and have good leverage to benefit from market stability. Notwithstanding the current environment, which I should say has improved over the last month or so, we continue to extend our number one position in Canada in both wealth and asset management and are investing to strengthen our competitive position outside of our domestic market during a period of challenging industry conditions. We are confident that we are investing in a foundation that will provide strong future growth, particularly as markets begin to stabilize and client activities increase. Turing to insurance. We had another strong quarter. This business continues to make a consistent contribution and complements our overall retail offering, providing innovative, client focused solutions through our multichannel distribution network. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com