In 2019, international global financial services firm Morgan Stanley spent more than $1 billion buying a Calgary-based company that built a successful business providing equity administration, financial reporting and compliance services. The acquisition of Solium Capital (now called Shareworks by Morgan Stanley) made headlines around the world and brought attention to something Albertans already knew – the province’s financial system is strong, stable, safe and filled with innovative entrepreneurs.
By the Numbers
- 39% & 34% Average percentage of household income required to cover ownership costs in Calgary and Edmonton, respectively, which are lowest of Canada’s five largest cities
- 8% The corporate tax rate in Alberta, which is the lowest in Canada, and Alberta also has no payroll taxes, sales taxes or capital taxes
- 75% Number of the top 20 global investment banks with branches in Alberta
- 38% Increase in Alberta’s financial services sector GDP between 2008 and 2018, the highest of fall provinces in Canada
Source: Government of Alberta, Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Over the past 10 years, Alberta’s financial services sector has experienced exceptional growth fueled by high levels of capital investment. This sector includes six major Canadian banks, headquarters of several regional financial institutions and branches of the world’s top investment banks. Combined with prudent regulatory oversight, this stable, diversified and well-funded base means significant growth opportunities for Albertans. Institutional finance and investment have been key to Alberta’s success in the past, and combined with a low tax jurisdiction, provides residents with an opportunity to maximize their financial situations.
ATB Financial Goes Digital with New Banking App
ATB Financial introduced a free app – called Brightside – in 2020 that offers customers a way to save more of their money without switching banks since it connects directly to wherever Albertans already do their day-to-day banking.
“At a time when people are doing more of their business remotely on their phones and online, ATB is supporting them by rolling out this new app, giving them more convenience and control over their money,” says John Tarnowski, executive vice-president at ATB Financial, an Alberta-based bank and Crown Corporation wholly owned by the provincial government, serving more than 770,000 Alberta residents and businesses in 245 communities.
The Brightside app also includes a spend card, which enables customers to earn cash back rewards and, in the future, additional savings for using the card at select local businesses.
FinTech Company Boosts Board and Secures Funding
Calgary-based ZayZoon – a startup focused on developing employee financial health services technology – bolstered its board of directors by adding two FinTech veterans and subsequently raised capital to fund growth.
Marcos Lopez, managing director and head of Shareworks by Morgan Stanley (and former CEO of Calgary-based Solium Capital, where Lopez was the original architect of the technology and a member of the executive team for almost two decades), and Ryan King, co-founder and CTO of Chime, a San Francisco-based challenger bank with more than 8 million accounts, joined the company’s independent board of directors.
The $3.5 million private placement is earmarked to help ZayZoon continue its mission of improving employee health through products that give employees access to their wages as they earn them, rather than regularly scheduled paydays.
Credit Union Continues Award Streak
Connect First Credit Union (Connect First) was named to a list of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2020, marking 21 consecutive years the Calgary-based institution has achieved this status.
“For Connect First to be named a Best Managed Company for over two decades truly is a testament to our amazing employees who show up every day with a commitment to deliver on the highest standard of business performance and corporate success,” says Paul Kelly, CEO of Connect First.
Connect First is one of Canada’s largest credit unions with over $6 billion in assets under administration, and employs over 700 Albertans that serve 125,000 members through more than 40 locations in central and southern Alberta under the regional brands and divisions: Chinook Financial, First Calgary Financial, Mountain View Financial and Legacy Financial.