Gold Rush 2.0: Denver's Financial Services Industry Booming

Visa and Fidelity Investments are two of the most recent expansions to the Wall Street of the West

Feb 07, 2013, 08:00 ET from Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation

DENVER, Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In the first three weeks of 2013, four major financial services companies announced significant expansions in Douglas County, south of Denver. Fidelity Investments, Visa, Northwestern Mutual, and Redwood Trust Financial will cumulatively bring almost 2,000 jobs to the area in the next five years.

The announcements are indicative of a trend surrounding financial services companies expanding or relocating to Metro Denver, the major financial center between Los Angeles and Chicago.

"Colorado's momentum continues in both recruiting and growing globally recognized companies and adding highly-skilled jobs," said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. "Last month, Colorado added 2,000 jobs in the financial services industry. This news helps demonstrate that Colorado's innovative ecosystem and strong technology base is a state where business grows and thrives."

In fact, in the past five years, employment in the investments subcluster has grown 4.4 percent in the Metro Denver region compared to a 4.7 percent decline in jobs nationally.

In total, the region's financial services industry employs more than 87,750 workers at nearly 13,020 companies.  

"Across the nation, the financial services industry continued to recover in 2012," said Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC). "What we're seeing though, is that the growth isn't happening on the coasts, but in places such as Metro Denver where there's a low cost to doing business, unmatched talent pool, and a solid quality of life." 

Brett Nichols, president of Redwood Trust, a real estate investment firm that specializes in packaging jumbo mortgages and other commercial loans and selling them to third parties, agreed with Clark.

"We looked at a number of locations outside of California for our new financial services operations center and determined that Colorado's pro-business environment and deep mortgage-lending and financial talent pool would be the best to support our company's business growth," said Nichols.

Other companies echo Nichols' sentiment citing the region's highly educated workforce, the moderate cost of doing business, central location, and reputation as a global commercial gateway as reasons for investing in Colorado.

Given the region's low corporate tax rate of 4.63 percent and higher-than-average concentration of employment in business and financial operations occupations (about 6.5 percent of the region's labor force is employed in these occupations, compared with 4.7 percent nationally); the Metro Denver EDC expects the industry to grow by 2 percent this year.

The growth can be attributed to the recent announcements as well those made in 2012 by Charles Schwab, National Bank Holdings Corp., IMA Financial Group, Great West Financial, and other leading financial firms, creating an additional 1,400 jobs in the next five years.  

In January, Charles Schwab announced plans to relocate its 2,000 employees based in throughout Metro Denver to a consolidated $230 million campus at RidgeGate in Lone Tree.

"We opened our first Colorado branch in Denver in 1978 and our service center in 1991, so we've been in Denver for a long time," said Sherri Kroonenberg, senior vice president, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. "Denver is an important location for us, and one of our major employment centers. We value the predictable business climate and the ability to recruit from among a well-educated and talented pool of potential job candidates."

Charles Schwab plans to start construction on the new campus this month and expects to add 480 new jobs over the next five years.

The company will be eligible to participate in Colorado's Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit, a performance-based program that provides state-income tax credits based on the number of jobs created that are above the average wage for that area. Redwood Trust and Visa, both planning expansions in Douglas County, are also eligible for the incentive. 

"Denver South's public and private leaders have created a stable and predictable environment where businesses can expand and prosper," said Mike Fitzgerald, president and CEO of Denver South Economic Development Partnership. "The area includes premier business parks, vibrant retail centers, a light rail system, and a highly educated and technically skilled workforce. Colorado is one of the highest quality living environments anywhere."

And while the financial services industry historically has had its ups and downs, Clark remains optimistic for the industry's future in the state.

"As home to one of only six U.S. Mints, the financial services industry has always been a part of the Metro Denver economy," said Clark. "These announcements reinforce why our region really is the 'Wall Street of the West.'"

For more information on Metro Denver's financial services industry or the Metro DenverEDC, visit

Press Contact: Janet Fritz, 303.620.8039

SOURCE Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation