Clark's Cone of Silence

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Inside Scoop: Why Personal Capital Chose Denver

In the past several years, Metro Denver has become a thriving hub for company expansions and headquarters relocations, with the most recent growth centered in the financial services industry.

Personal Capital, a California-based digital wealth management firm, has set its sights on Metro Denver, with a new office opened in August that will bring approximately 100 new finance jobs to the region over the next two years. The bulk of the company’s local hiring will take place over the next 12 months.  

Personal Capital is one of 16 companies we, along with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, welcomed to Metro Denver’s business community last evening at our annual Executive Welcome Reception. DaVita hosted the event at its global headquarters near Union Station.

Personal Capital develops free software and mobile applications that anyone can use to view and track all of their financial accounts in one secure place.  They’ve also got an advisory service, in which advisors manage money remotely on behalf of those users who are in search of wealth management solutions. The Denver office, located at 18th and Curtis streets in downtown, will be the center of operations for the firm’s financial advisory team and is the first major expansion after receiving a $25 million round of venture capital funding in June.

Why Metro Denver?

Last week we sat down with Jeff Davis, director of advisory sales for Personal Capital to get the inside scoop about why Personal Capital chose Denver for its big expansion.

According to Davis, Personal Capital selected Metro Denver largely in part because of its reputation as a financial services sector hub and availability of talent for an advisory services firm.

“Denver rises to the top as an example of the highest concentration of certified financial planners,” said Davis. “Not only is there an amazing existing talent pool to pull from, but the excellent collegiate system here allows us to hire at entry level.”

According our Financial Services Industry Cluster Study, 6.5 percent of Metro Denver’s workforce is in financial services and that number is continuing to grow.

Personal Capital’s CEO Bill Harris, former CEO of PayPal and Intuit, added that another reason he chose Denver was because of its central location between the East and West coasts and ability to offer convenient business hours across the nation.

“We’re delighted to be executing on our long-term expansion plans with the new office in Denver, which we chose as the site for our advisory hub primarily because of great access to financial talent to serve our clients nationwide,” said Harris.

Metro Denver’s Financial Services Hub

Personal Capital’s story is just one example of how the financial services sector has made a strong comeback in our region over the past year. By December 2012, financial services providers were adding jobs at 5.6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the beginning of this year, state economic-development officials announced four company expansions to Metro Denver with the potential to bring nearly 2,000 additional financial-sector jobs to the region over the next several years:

  1. Redwood Trust – The San Francisco-based real estate investment trust plans to bring 552 jobs to Douglas County over five years.
  2. Fidelity Investments – The Boston-based investment giant plans to create 500 jobs, after already bringing 200 jobs with its new service center that opened in Greenwood Village in July.
  3. Charles Schwab – the company consolidated its 2,000 Denver-area employees into a $230 million, 930,000-square-foot campus at RidgeGate in Lone Tree. Charles Schwab expects to add another 480 local jobs over five years.
  4. Visa Inc. – the credit card company plans to add 406 jobs over the next five years to a new 66,000-square-foot Global Technology Center in Douglas County.

Just like Personal Capital, all four companies point to Metro Denver’s highly educated workforce, pool of financial expertise, and business-friendly climate as reason they chose to add jobs in the region and all are looking to grow here.

“We have ambitious growth plans and that revolves around our success in Denver,” said Davis. “It has a great overall atmosphere that allows for personal growth, and the environment throughout all of Colorado makes it very desirable for us to be here.”

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About Tom Clark

Tom has over 30 years of economic development experience at the state, regional, and local levels, spanning from Illinois to Colorado. He is known both for his quips and his candor. Often quoted in the local and national press on Metro Denver’s economy, his iPhone is his most valued possession next to his Les Paul guitar. He is also famous for writing parody songs, maintaining an orderly office, and funding the office swear jar. Tom says that if wasn’t an economic developer, his dream would be to work in a chocolate factory.

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About The Cone of Silence

Invented by Professor Cone from TV’s "Get Smart," the Cone of Silence was designed to protect the most secret of conversations by enshrouding its users within a transparent sound-proof shield. Unfortunately, from experience, we have also learned that it never works properly. This blog offers those outside our “Cone of Silence” a unique look at economic development in the region.

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