Report: Vancouver stands out as wealth management center

A report discussing Canada’s four financial centers elaborates Vancouver’s strengths as a leader in financial services

A recent report by the Conference Board of Canada has revealed that Vancouver stands out among Canadian cities as a center for wealth management activity, exceeding any of the city’s other financial activities.

While the report discusses four internationally recognized financial centers—Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver—several key strengths were identified in the British Columbian city. These include wealth management, facilitating foreign direct investment, trade finance and settlement, retail and corporate banking, investment banking, mortgage brokers, and venture capital.

Vancouver’s identity as one of Canada’s most ethnically diverse cities is reflected in the degree to which it facilitates financial services for foreigners and immigrants. A strong inflow of wealthy Asian immigrants has helped the city develop its full-service wealth management firms. Facilitating foreign direct investment is the second-highest rated activity in the city after wealth management, according to survey respondents. Foreign-owned subsidiaries or branches of foreign banks, many of which specialize in corporate banking, are also common in Vancouver.

Aside from foreign financial factors, the region also has a couple of other aces up its sleeve. As a center of bond trading activity and a hotbed for alternative investments, the city accounts for a higher-than-average share of fund management activity. There is also strong growth contributed by a strong credit union system and venture capital for financial technology (FinTech) startups, which are enabled by strong high-tech infrastructure. Finally, Vancouver also has a history of supporting equity financing for small cap businesses, particularly those in mining.

"Canada has a great story to tell when it comes to the strengths of our financial services sector,” explains Colin Hansen, AdvantageBC CEO and former BC Finance Minister. “This report shows how the strengths of Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal complement each other. Our challenge now is to get that message out to the rest of the world."

The comprehensive report, entitled Stronger Together: The Strengths of Canada's Four Global Financial Centres, was co-funded by AdvantageBC, Calgary Economic Development, Toronto Financial Services Alliance and Finance Montreal. The four organizations are cooperating to establish Canada’s reputation as a global financial service leader.

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