As Western Canada’s head office capital, Calgary is an internationally recognized financial centre that serves all aspects of business, drives economic growth and supports prosperity.
Canada is known for having one of the soundest financial systems in the world with Calgary one of four leading financial centres in the country along with Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
With most of its financial services associated with the energy sector, Calgary is recognized for strong capabilities in investment banking, especially with mergers and acquisitions, facilitating foreign direct investment, private equity, wealth management and corporate banking.
The average deal size in Calgary is estimated to be $197M
Labour productivity in Calgary’s financial sector is 25% higher than the Canadian average
Although Calgary counts for just 4 per cent of Canada’s population, it has nearly double that share of Canadian headquarters, resulting in the highest concentration of head offices per capita in the country.
This head office concentration creates a unique competitive advantage. Head offices are highly desirable for any city in that they provide the base of corporate decision-making. This generates a significant benefit for financial services firms in terms deal volume, the employment profile as well as the economic benefits that accrue to businesses beyond just the head office.
Calgary’s robust business base has resulted in a strong presence for financial services firms. The city’s financial services sector boasts, among others, all six of Canada’s major banks, regional banks, international investment banks, and other financial investment firms. The location of these financial institutions is critical for energy and other industries that rely on the financial services sector for funding and investment assistance.
Growth of the financial services sector in Calgary has been a catalyst for the emergence of fintech firms with specializations including crowdfunding, small business lending, payment technology and debt collection.
Approximately 66 per cent of head offices in Calgary are focused in the energy and oil field services sectors.
The energy sector in Calgary represents an attractive market for financial services firms. The capital needed to finance growth in the energy sector, and the revenue it generates, cannot be overstated; no other sector in Canada requires the capital infusion comparable to that of the energy sector.
Driven mainly by robust mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity and the large underwriting requirements of energy projects, high capital spending and velocity of deal flow are the norm. The total value of completed deals in 2016 topped $85.6 billion, equivalent to more than one-third of all M&A activity across the country. In addition, the average deal size in Calgary is estimated to be $197 million, compared to $99 million in Toronto and $24 million in Vancouver.
Over the last five years (2012-2016) the city’s firms handled 9.5 per cent of the total number of energy-related deals across the world, and about 17 per cent of their total value. This is about four times higher than Alberta’s share of global energy production.
Wealth management, private equity and asset management services have thrived in Calgary due to the concentration of private wealth in the city.
Calgary has the most millionaires per capita and the highest average level of income of any metropolitan area in Canada, with per capita levels of disposable income exceeding the national average by nearly 60 per cent.
Calgary’s talent is highly educated, experienced and skilled. 76.6 per cent of Calgarians are aged 20 and older, with 47.7 per cent within the core working age group of 25 to 54. Calgary also has the second highest level of education attainment of major Canadian cities.
In the financial services sector, Calgary is the country’s fourth largest employer. In addition, professional services, such as legal, consulting, audit and tax, are abundant in Calgary relative to the size of its economy, offering proximity to services that are vital to the financial industry.
Calgary’s financial talent pool is not only talented, but productive. Labour productivity in the city’s financial services sector is 25 per cent higher than the Canadian average, and about 85 per cent higher than the average across all industries. Output per worker in the financial services industry was $186,000 in 2016, 4.9 per cent higher than the next Canadian city.
Prime office space in Calgary is readily available and more affordable than ever. The average lease for downtown commercial space in Calgary was only $19.59 per square foot at the end of 2016, compared to $27.98 in Toronto and $30.25 in Vancouver.
Calgary also has the lowest total effective tax rate in the financial services sector with a value of 46.1 per cent. Total indirect taxes in this Calgary are only 5 per cent, compared to 12 per cent in Vancouver and 13 per cent in Toronto.
Canada is recognized for having an exceptionally effective and transparent regulatory system that protects consumers and minimizes risk to financial centres. Calgary is the headquarters of the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC), the regulatory association responsible for administrating Alberta’s securities laws to protect investors and foster a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta.
The TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) also has a presence in Calgary. It provides access to capital for companies at the early stages of their growth, while offering investors a well-regulated market for making venture investments. The TSXV services target junior companies that may be too small to list on larger exchanges such as the Toronto Stock Exchange.
TSXV listed companies are active primarily in the mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, technology and financial services sectors. The TSXV offers an alternative form of capital to private funds and plays a major role in the success of small Canadian companies.
The Natural Gas Exchange (NGX), headquartered in Calgary, provides electronic trading, central counterparty clearing and data services to the North American natural gas and electricity markets. NGX has developed the AB-NIT (AECO) hub into one of the most liquid spot and forward energy markets in North America.