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 financial services sector in Calgary experienced significant growth over the past 10 years (2006-2015), with 3,400 jobs created, an increase of 19.1 per cent in employment. Business services and finance, insurance and real estate experienced combined growth of 12.2 per cent over the past 10 years, with 17,646 job created.
Calgary was added to the list of cities eligible to be recognized in the Global Financial Centres Index in 2011. The list compares the competitiveness of global financial cities, and senior members of the global financial services sector vote for cities included in the index. In 2016, Calgary was ranked 28th among financial centres globally.
Calgary is home to the highest per capita number of corporate headquarters and small businesses in Canada. The city’s financial services sector boasts, among others, all six of Canada’s major banks, strong 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.
The success of the energy sector has resulted in most major of the Canadian financial institutions having a presence in Calgary in addition to the growing list of international financial groups with a presence here. With Calgary home to a large concentration of head offices, access to key decision makers provides Calgary with a unique competitive advantage among cities in North America.
Calgary’s strength and uniqueness lies in its knowledgeable experience and the sophistication of its workforce–particularly with regards to the sell-side of the transaction.
For Calgary, the energy sector represents an attractive market for firms in financial services. The Alberta Energy Regulator estimates the remaining established crude oil in Alberta to be 1.8 billion barrels, representing more than one-third of Canada’s remaining conventional reserves.
In 2015, Alberta produced approximately 80 per cent of the oil and 70 per cent of the natural gas in Canada. The province also has the world’s largest recoverable oil sands deposits.
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. With the high volume of mergers, acquisitions and asset sales historically in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, Calgary financial services companies are highly adept at dealing with large volumes of transactions, bringing sophistication and specialization to the sector.
Calgary is experiencing an increased diversification of industries supported by the financial services sector, with agriculture, information and communications technology and other sectors receiving unprecedented support from financial services organizations.
With high capital spending and the velocity of deal flow, Calgary is increasingly recognized as more than just Canada’s energy capital. It is also a recognized financial services centre, where local companies are at the forefront of financing development of world-scale natural resources, and foreign financial institutions are establishing their presence in the city. In addition to corporate activities, many of these banks serve retail customers in Calgary's diverse population.
Examples of foreign financial institutions operating in Calgary:
|Bank of America||Korea Exchange Bank|
|Bank of China||Macquarie|
|Barclays Capital||Merrill Lynch|
|Credit Suisse||Morgan Stanley|
|Deutsche Bank||Royal Bank of Scotland|
|Fidelity Investments||Société Générale|
|HSBC||United Overseas Bank|
|ICICI Bank||Wells Fargo|
|Industrial and Commercial Bank of China||Warburg Pincus|
Wealth management, private equity and asset management are thrived due to the concentration of private wealth in the city.
Calgary is one of the wealthiest communities in Canada, which is important to the financial services retail market. In 2015, Calgary had the highest personal income per capita in Canada at $63,517, and the second-highest average annual growth from 2005 to 2014 at 2.9 per cent of major metropolitan markets.
Personal income per capita - 2015 (Canadian CMAs)
Source: Conference Board of Canada
The buying power of individuals is another way to measure wealth. Among major Canadian cities, Calgary boasts the second highest total change in retail sales growth over the past 10 years (2005-2014) at 52.8 per cent. Calgary also has the third highest total growth in retail sales per capita over the past 10 years (2005-2014) at 18.2 per cent.
Among Canada’s six most populated Census Metropolitan Areas, Calgary ranks first in head office concentration. Calgary is home to approximately one in seven of Canada’s major corporate headquarters, making it Western Canada’s head office capital. It's not surprising that the majority (approximately 75 per cent) of these head office are focused in the energy sector. In addition, there are companies headquartered here, the financial services, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and retail sectors.
Specific to the financial services sector, key Calgary-based corporations include the Central Fund of Canada Limited, EnerVest Diversified Income Trust, First Calgary Financial, Mawer Investment Management, ARC Financial, Peters & Co. and FirstEnergy Capital.
Read more how Calgary's head office statistics compare with other major Canadian cities in Calgary Economic Development's Calgary head offices fact sheet.
The process of determining a head office location is complex. Factors in the decision-making process include: access to a qualified workforce and international markets; a well-developed and low-cost business environment with excellent infrastructure; and an innovative and entrepreneurial environment.
However, the impacts of head office presence can include: higher salaries for employees; proximity of high quality business, financial, creative and consulting service providers; the potential for greater retail spending; and increased charitable giving.
For company leaders, employees, investors and customers, the location of a corporation’s headquarters is an important element of its identity in terms of image, personality and positioning. Calgary offers the exceptional business environment and internationally renowned lifestyle that today’s companies seek.
Canada is recognized for having an exceptionally effective and transparent regulatory system that protects consumers and minimizes risk to the financial centre. Calgary is the headquarters for the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC), the regulatory association responsible for administrating Alberta’s securities laws. In own words, the commission "is entrusted to foster a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and to protect investors. As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets."
Click to learn more about the Alberta Securities Commission.
Regulatory systems are just one aspect of the overall business environment. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Business Environment Ranking, the other aspects needed for a strong business environment include: political and institutional environment; macroeconomic stability; market opportunities; policy towards private enterprise; policy towards foreign investment; foreign trade and exchange regime; tax system; financing the labour market; and, infrastructure. In 2015, Forbes ranked Canada as the 7th best country for business.
According to the Alberta Securities Commission, Alberta’s capital market is second only to Ontario’s in terms of aggregate public company market capital. The ASC regulates 667 Alberta-based reporting issuers representing a diverse range of industries. The oil and gas industry comprises the majority of reporting issuers, with 56 per cent of the total Alberta market capitalization.
In Alberta, there are two key exchanges and one capital program available:
In addition to the TMX, 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.
Learn more about the TSX Venture Exchange.
Calgary is the headquarters of NGX. Launched in 1994, the Natural Gas Exchange leads Canada in in electronic trading, central counterparty clearing and data services. Its AB-NIT (“AECO”) hub is one of the most one of the most liquid spot and forward energy markets in North America. In 2008, NGX and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) launched an operational alliance to provide clearing services for ICE’s US physical gas products.
NGX, wholly owned by TMX Group Limited, has more than 250 Contract Partners in Canada and the US with trading volume of over 1200 petajoules of energy equivalent of natural gas and electricity average per month.
Learn more about the NGX.
Learn more about the TMX Group.