Halifax, Nova Scotia, has quietly become a top global financial center in the last five years, fueled by the work of Nova Scotia Business Inc., a public-private partnership that focuses on business development.
A KPMG report stated Halifax is the fastest-growing hedge fund administration center in Canada. Steven Lund, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Business, said Halifax is No. 1 in Canada and the U.S. for having the lowest overall cost of international financial services.
“Halifax was not that well known,” Mr. Lund said as his organization just started targeting financial institutions in 2006. “Once companies come and kick the tires, we've been extremely successful in getting businesses.”
Mr. Lund cited skill, scale and cost models for the province's rapid growth as a financial center. The province has 11 universities and 13 community colleges, college programs designed toward financial careers and “virtually zero turnover” of employees, Mr. Lund said. He said companies in Halifax rode out the 2008-'09 financial crisis without losing employees and are now “ramping up” their businesses. “We've focused on a few key sectors to really build our economy,” Mr. Lund said. “... We believe it's (Halifax) a bit of a hidden gem.”
Companies that have set up offices in Halifax in the last few years include Citco Fund Services, Meridian Fund Services LLC, Admiral Administration Ltd. Butterfield Fulcrum Fund Administration and Enterprise Castle Hall Alternatives Inc.