The Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest bank, plans to boost its presence in Europe by acquiring an investment banking boutique in London, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Doug McGregor, co-head of RBC Capital Markets, is leading the effort. The paper said he spent last week in London meeting potential acquisition targets.

Although the discussions are so far only exploratory, the bank believes that the strategy could allow it to accelerate its expansion, which has been hampered by an increasingly competitive market for investment bankers, the FT said.

However the bank continues to recruit for its European capital markets, sales and trading business. Nick Fothergill, formerly of Nomura, is expected to be named European head of equities.

So far this year RBC Capital Markets has hired more than 530 staff around the world, including 140 in Europe. The paper said the company aims to hire an additional 50 to 75 people in research, investment banking advisory and sales.

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