60-second interview with Leanne Kaufman

Leanne Kaufman, 6/1/2020

Leanne Kaufman TEP is President and CEO, RBC Royal Trust in Toronto, Canada.

What does your firm do?

RBC Royal Trust is a domestic private client trust company in Canada, founded in 1899. We provide individuals, families and businesses with estate, trust and incapacity services, tailored to their specific needs.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

We in Canada are incredibly reliant on STEP as a key education partner. It also serves as a wonderful international and domestic networking partner, helping us connect with colleagues professionally and on matters of a substantive or industry nature as well.

You were recently given a Founder’s Award. What does this mean to you?

I was overwhelmed, feeling grateful, honoured and humbled when I learned that I was receiving this award. This is very special recognition from people I respect tremendously.

How and why did you get involved with STEP?

I began working actively with STEP as part of RBC’s 20-plus year platinum sponsorship of the STEP Canada national conference. I served on the national board as a member-at-large, chaired the national Membership Committee, and most recently served as a Canadian judge for the Private Client Awards. I wanted to be involved for my ongoing personal education, but also to represent the perspective and needs of the trust company industry within the organisation. We also made it a priority for Royal Trust to become a Platinum Employer Partner under the Employer Partnership Programme (EPP) – and we were the first in Canada to do so.

What benefits has it brought you?

RBC’s association with STEP is long and deep, and as a firm we have benefited greatly from the organisation’s role as the primary educator of our employees. STEP Canada’s CETA programme, and the TEP designation are required components of our Trust Officer Accreditation programmes at Royal Trust.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your branch or region at the moment, and how are you planning to deal with them?

The whole industry worldwide is struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of digital change. Whether that is keeping delivery of services current with the expectations of members or the public, or dealing with something more substantive like digital assets, it is difficult to move fast enough as an organisation or industry to keep up. Our own focus is on digitally transforming our business so that employees are better enable to focus on our clients.

What do you most like about your job?

My job lets me cross paths with incredibly interesting people, in incredibly interesting situations. I am honoured to be invited into clients’ lives, and at the same time, I have the great privilege to work with very intelligent, capable and warm colleagues, both within RBC and across STEP. I am so very fortunate.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

If we can help educate a client on the things they need to be considering when planning their estate, and give them peace of mind that we can help the loved ones they are leaving behind, then we have achieved a very worthwhile goal.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

I don’t think that there has ever been a better time to consider a career in this industry! The demographic realities across the globe make this a very compelling destination, and they will never be bored!

Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?

We know in the Canadian context that there is huge growth opportunity in the estate settlement field. Statistics Canada projects that the number of deaths in Canada will increase from around 277,000 in 2017 to 487,000 by 2050. Jurisdictionally, emerging economies will need to be observed closely as their wealth increases.

Which social media channels do you use and why?

I operate primarily on LinkedIn but also dabble in Twitter (@LeanneDKaufman).

Leanne Kaufman TEP is President and CEO of Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company. She is responsible for the strategy and overall management of the business which provides wealth protection and transfer solutions across generations to high net wealth Canadian families. A lawyer by profession, Leanne brings over 20 years of experience, knowledge and a client-centric focus to the business.