Tampa FL Becoming a ‘New City of Finance’

By: Business Observer

November 18, 2016

Tampa is among 10 emerging U.S. cities where financial services firms are expanding and hiring, according to a new report by commercial real estate services firm CBRE Inc.

Pushed by heightened regulation and a need for skilled labor with technology prowess, banks and other financial-leaning companies are choosing Tampa, Jacksonville and other secondary markets for shared services offices, risk and compliance departments and IT divisions.

San Antonio, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Salt Lake City, Utah; Richmond, Va.; Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; and Charlotte, N.C. also were cited by CBRE in its inaugural report on the financial services industry as less expensive, “active” markets.

Each has posted significant growth in its financial services sector since 2010, CBRE found.

“New economic realities, continued regulatory pressure and the threat of technology disruption are unrelenting forces driving changes in the financial services industry,” says Julie Whelan, CBRE’s head of occupier research in the Americas. “Firms are shaping their real estate strategy in response to these trends and a number of new cities of finance are emerging across the U.S.”

Chase Pattillo, CBRE’s market leader for Tampa and Florida, says affordable rental rates, the availability of labor and a “pro-business climate” have attracted financial services firms to Tampa.

In addition to Citigroup, Raymond James Financial and others that have called the Tampa Bay area home for years, more companies are relocating to the city.

Earlier this year, CBRE helped consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson open a new North American global services headquarters in four floors of the Hidden River Corporate Center, at 8800 Grand Oak Circle in the Westshore business district.

Today, the maker of Tylenol and Band Aid bandages employs roughly 240 at the facility; ultimately it intends to have more than 500 procurement, IT, accounting and human resources workers in Tampa. Previously, the company’s global services operated alongside Johnson & Johnson world headquarters in New Jersey.

Pattillo contends other companies are likely to announce similar moves in the near future.

CBRE examined the availability of skilled labor, labor and real estate costs, education levels and other factors in determining which cities were emerging as financial services centers.

In addition to Tampa, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio, are considered the best secondary markets for so-called “shared services” jobs, which include accounting, human resources, legal and finance departments.

“Financial services companies are continuing to seek out new and emerging locations that provide them with access to talent at affordable rates,” says Kristen Sexton, CBRE’s managing director of labor analytics. “Labor is the driving force behind the growth of the financial services industry in these smaller, active markets.”

Johnson & Johnson officials, for instance, told the Business Observer earlier this year that attracting and retaining talent was its primary goal in establishing Tampa as a global services center.