John Taft is CEO of RBC Wealth Management – U.S. (RBC WM – U.S.), the seventh largest full-service retail brokerage firm in the U.S., with nearly 2,000 financial advisers in 42 states and over $235 billion in assets under administration.
John is responsible for RBC’s wealth management growth strategy in the U.S., focusing on: helping clients achieve their financial objectives through full-service wealth management (investment management, retirement planning, cash management, credit and lending, insurance, trusts, estate planning, and other solutions); and, in so doing enhancing the productivity of financial advisers and relationship managers in RBC’s Private Client Group (PCG), Correspondent Services, Advisor Services, and U.S.-based international businesses.
John has been active in the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), the leading securities industry trade group representing securities firms, banks and asset managers in the U.S. He served as chairman-elect in 2010 and chairman in 2011. As a representative of SIFMA, John advocated for responsible financial reform and testified before Congress in support of a federal fiduciary standard of care for investment professionals who provide advice to individual clients.
John has worked in the financial services industry since 1981. Prior to leading RBC WM – U.S., John served as head of Asset Management and Products for RBC’s U.S. and international division. He served as chairman, president, and CEO of Voyageur Asset Management; president and CEO of Dougherty Summit Securities; a member of the board of directors of Segall, Bryant and Hamill, The Clifton Group and Vintage Mutual Funds; and a managing director at Piper, Jaffray & Hopwood. John was assistant to the mayor of the City of St. Paul, Minnesota, and has worked as a journalist.
An active diversity advocate around issues of gender identity, John serves as executive sponsor for RBC WM – U.S.’s Gay, Lesbian, Allied and Diverse Employees (GLADE) employee resource group. Under his leadership, RBC WM – U.S. received a 100% rating in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. In 2010, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) named John the “Outstanding Corporate Diversity Leader.”
John is the author of Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street. The book explores the importance of stewardship as a core principle — for John personally; for the financial services industry; for the global financial system; and for society. Readers selected the book as one of Amazon’s “top picks” for March 2012, and it was named “best book of spring” on Bloomberg radio, while Bloomberg TV cited it as an “absolute must-read book.”
John has been a guest host on CNBC’s Squawk Box and has been interviewed by other top news outlets, including FOX, FOX Business News, Bloomberg TV and radio, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times, Barron’s, Fortune, and Financial Times. He has also authored articles that appeared in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, and Forbes. John is a frequent presenter and speaker at various events across the country, including the Securities Industry Institute at the Wharton School and the Center for Ethical Business Cultures at the University of St. Thomas.
As a board of directors member and volunteer, John has served a wide range of not-for-profit and public service organizations. He is an active member of the boards of the Itasca Project, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Taft School and serves on the Minnesota Business Partnership Executive Committee. Previously, he served as a director of the Walker Art Center, Macalester College, Breck School, Northwest Area Foundation, Minnesota Public Radio, Twin Cities Public Television, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Illusion Theatre, and the Minnesota Film Board. He has also served on several public sector task forces, including the Mayor’s Council on Economic Development Finance, Blue Ribbon Commission on Pensions and the Mayor’s Working Group on Local Government Finance.
John graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and earned a master’s degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Organization and Management.