September 2015 Business History: RBC Wealth Management

A century of service

Clockwise from above: Clients make their way to RBC Wealth Management’s new Watertown branch office during an open house last month. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Clockwise from above: Clients make their way to RBC Wealth Management’s new Watertown branch office during an open house last month. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Watertown investment firm traces roots to 1915

NNY Business

RBC Wealth Management’s Watertown branch traces its roots to October 1915 when the Wall Street brokerage firm Foster & Adams opened an office in the city. It is the oldest, continuously operating investment advisory firm in Watertown.

Last month, the firm cut the ribbon on a new freestanding office building atop Washington Street in the fast-growing Washington Street Business Park. The $1.1-million investment marks a renewed commitment to Watertown and the north country by the global financial management firm whose U.S. headquarters is in Minneapolis. The opening of a new branch office drew a visit from RBC Wealth Management-U.S. CEO John G. Taft, great-grandson of former U.S. President William Howard Taft.

The firm’s Watertown history is well documented in the Watertown Daily Times. On the occasion of its 100-year anniversary, a timeline of significant events in its history was constructed from the archives of the Watertown Daily Times and local branch staff.

1915 — Foster & Adams, established in 1903 by Howard Crosby Foster and Daniel Adams, open a Watertown office in October after Floyd L. Carlisle, then president of Northern New York Trust Co., and later, president of the St. Regis Paper Co., persuades the Wall Street brokerage firm to come to the north country. “Mr. Carlisle, a close personal friend of Mr. Adams, was gravely concerned at the increasing infiltration of ‘bucket shops.’ He offered support of the banking community, as well as other friends and contacts in the north country, if Foster & Adams would extend their wire services from Utica to Watertown.”

1962 — Foster and Adams negotiate ground-floor space with the trustees of the YMCA after the Northern New York Trust Co.Bank building is slated for demolition. The firm’s first office was located in the old Flower building on Arsenal Street, moved to the second floor of the Woolworth Building, then
to the Northern New York Trust Co.

1967 — George Cornelius, Foster & Adams office manager since 1919, retires. In large measure, the success of the brokerage service in its early years and throughout the Great Depression is attributed to Mr. Cornelius. “His contributions to the growth of the firm in the north country and the ‘image’ of Foster & Adams, which he has created are too well known to all to need restatement.”

1968 — Senior partner Henry P. Foster, son of founder Howard Crosby Foster, assigns his son, Everett G. “Rett” Foster, to Watertown in January to co-manage the office, after the local staff of Foster & Adams resigns. Rett quickly signs Charles H. Stone Jr. and Patrick Killorin as advisors. William W. “Sandy” Conde III, Rett’s former college roommate at Colgate University, joins the firm in August. Mr. Conde and Rett co-manage the form for many years. Much like the predecessor, Mr. Cornelius, the two are instrumental in the firm’s growth and success in the north country.

1977 — After 61 years of service to the north country as Foster & Adams, Wall Street investment firm Tucker, Anthony & R.L. Day Co. buys Foster & Adams. “The staff and management of Foster and Adams are extremely pleased with the new arrangement as Tucker, Anthony & R.L. Day Co. offers a broader range of investment products and alternatives for their clients. They will be able to offer stocks, corporate, government and municipal bonds, insurance, annuities, options and total investment and financial planning.”

1982 — Lu Green is hired as an administrative assistant. Ms. Green continues
with the firm today and has held many positions in the firm in her 33 years, including branch service manager.

1998 — Cyril Mouaikel is hired as a financial advisor, followed by William Tremont and Donald Musnicki, who join the firm in 2001.

2002 — Tucker Anthony and RBC Dain Rauscher merge. Soon after, Rett Foster and Mr. Conde pass the branch management reins to Mr. Mouaikel, who continues to manage the office today.

2008 — RBC Dain Rauscher becomes RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets. The integration with RBC Capital Markets includes a migration to a new technology platform, which provides clients with extensive global resources while maintaining a small-firm feel. Mr. Mouaikel is named to the Chairman’s Council for the first time.

2010 — The Watertown branch loses a mentor and friend in February when Rett Foster dies. “Rett was a respected financial advisor, a remarkable steward of endowment funds, a courageous volunteer board member who never avoided a tough decision to right an organization, a generous benefactor, an enthusiastic citizen of Clayton and a trusted friend if so many Northern New Yorkers and north country institutions. He leaves a legacy of success and a better community. The new branch manager’s office is dedicated in memory of Rett Foster.

2011 — Christine Cisco and Patrick Signor join the firm. For 47 years, Sandy Conde remains a constant in the office. Mr. Conde serves as a steady guide for clients during the market declines of the early ’70s, the high interest rates of the ’80s, the tech bubble of the late ’90s, Y2K, Sept. 11, 2001, and the near financial collapse of 2008. “His ability to offer historical perspective and insight has proven to be a valuable resource to fellow advisors.”

2015 — The Watertown branch celebrates 100 years of service, employing six financial advisors and six support staff who serve 2,500 households across Central and Northern New York. The Watertown office also serves clients in more than 30 states, Canada and the United Kingdom, managing an asset portfolio that totals more than $1 billion. Mr. Mouaikel and Mr. Conde mark several years on the President’s Council of RBC, and Mr. Mouaikel his seventh consecutive year on the Chairman’s Council. Mr. Mouaikel is named managing director for the Watertown branch office.

Business history is a monthly feature from the archives of the Watertown Daily Times. Visit to access digital archives since 1988, or stop by the Times, 260 Washington St., Watertown to research materials in our library that date back to the 1800s.