Barely a week after Charles Schwab, the U.S. discount broker, made its first Canadian acquisition, Royal Bank of Canada announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Bull and Bear Securities Inc., a New York-based discount broker.

Royal said in a release that it will spend about $6 million for the U.S. company. The bank added that the acquisition will give Royal an entry point into the U.S. market and help expand its asset management operations across North America.

Royal already runs the second-largest discount broker in Canada after Toronto-Dominion. The bank is also the first Canadian institution to resume expanding aggressively since Finance Minister Paul Martin last week ruled against mergers among the country's Big Five banks.

Royal chairman John Cleghorn had repeatedly cited the threat of growing competition from U.S. financial companies as one of the main reasons behind efforts to create bigger Canadian banks.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.