In “places like … Raleigh, you see a real concentration of brain power. You have a lot of smart people living in the same place. That will drive the economy”, Steven P. Rosenthal, Northland Investment Corp.
And so will tax incentives.
The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill combined statistical area (CSA), with over 2 million people, is the second largest metro area in North Carolina following Charlotte to the south. It is home to 3 major universities: Duke, University of North Carolina (UNC) and North Carolina State. Duke and UNC form two of the vertices of the “Research Triangle,” an area known for a high concentration of corporate operations and research companies and startups, especially in life sciences. The third vertex is formed by North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
The Raleigh metro area was number two on the 2015 Forbes list of the best place for businesses and careers. Durham ranked number 20 while Charlotte was 14th. Companies located in the Raleigh-Durham area include heavy hitters like IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Cisco, SAS Institute and Lenovo.
As one of the largest research parks in the world, Research Triangle Park (RTP), sits mostly within the Durham-Chapel Hill metro area. RTP employs nearly 50,000 “high-tech” workers and is home to over 250 companies including Credit Suisse, Dell, EMC and Fidelity Investments. None of these are tobacco companies.
North Carolina has been very aggressive in wooing companies to locate in the state. Lucrative incentives have been offered including outright grants, rebates of employee withholding taxes and sales tax refunds. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill has directly benefited from these incentive programs as has the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metro area.
So, what does this have to do with Fintech?
Two million people and a healthy economy means there’s a lot of money that needs good advice. And a healthy program incentivizing companies to locate in the state doesn’t hurt. This combination has pushed the Durham-Chapel Hill Metro to #6 in our ranking of the Top 15 List of Fintech Securities & Investments Markets on a per employee basis in 2015.
Securities & Investments sector in Durham-Chapel Hill
What does the Securities & Investments sector look like in Durham-Chapel Hill, NC? To start, as shown below, over 50% of the 2015 addressable Fintech market is due to securities brokerage. Another 27% is due to portfolio management. This is generally consistent with the South Atlantic regional average of 45% and 28% that we saw in an earlier post.
Again, our analysis uses ZIP Pointe Market Sizer. Market Sizer is our Tableau-based market sizing tool based on ZIP Code-level Census data on over 7 million private sector business locations.
In terms of business location size by sub-sector, over 70% of the locations are small (1 to 4 payroll employees). There are only 7 locations with 100 or more employees. A bit over 40% of these locations are involved with securities brokerage, another 28% are portfolio management and 19% are investment advice (see below). With respect to “hot spots” of potential Fintech spend per employee, several business locations classified as Miscellaneous Intermediation (e.g. venture capital) have the highest Fintech spend per employee of around $12,000. In the chart below we have circled the largest locations.
Another way to drill into this market is by ZIP code. The following map shows the ZIP codes in the metro area color coded for addressable market size per employee. At the ZIP Code level, addressable Fintech market size ranges from $1k to $6k per employee.
According to Wealthminder.com, the largest financial advisory firms (in terms of assets under management) are located in ZIP Codes 22701 (Amundi Smith Breeden and Verity Asset Management), 27713 (Piedmont Investment Advisors), 27703 (Gordon Asset Management) and 27707 (NCM Capital Management Group).
ZIP Code 27709
So, on a per business location basis as well as a total basis, there is a very heavy concentration of potential Fintech spend in ZIP Code 27709. Focusing on the distribution of sites in this ZIP Code we see that the largest locations in the metro area are also in this ZIP Code (see the chart above with the red circle). Since this ZIP Code partially covers Research Triangle Park (RTP), these large locations are likely Credit Suisse and Fidelity Investments (see the RTP company directory).
Note: The US Census source used by Market Sizer tracks only payroll employees. Independent contractors are not reflected in these numbers. Hence, the actual employment level can be higher, possibly much higher, in sectors that make extensive use of contract labor.
Fidelity Investments and JIDGs
Fidelity is one of the larger employers in the Durham-Chapel Hill metro area. Fidelity first began to operate in North Carolina in 2002 “when it acquired an employee benefits business. Four years later, the firm designated North Carolina as a regional technology center, added a data center and a customer contact center and based Fidelity Charitable in the Triangle.” wral.com
Fidelity, as well as other business, was likely incentivized to locate and expand in North Carolina by Job Investment Development Grants or JIDGs. These state grants are a
“performance-based, discretionary incentive program that provides cash grants directly to new and expanding companies to help offset the cost of locating or expanding a facility in the state. The amount of the grant is based on a percentage of the personal income tax withholdings associated with the new jobs.” Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
Companies can use JIDG funds for any purpose.
As these grants are performance-based, companies receive the full incentive only after meeting certain benchmarks. These requirements can be in the form of a certain number of jobs created and retained, generation of a targeted $ amount of gross state product and/or the generation of a certain positive net revenue amount over the life of the grant.
Recently, North Carolina has “sweetened the pot” of these incentives, with an eye towards “transformative projects”, those that invest at least $4 billion and create 5,000+ jobs (ahem…listening Amazon?).
All states have some type of incentive program to entice businesses to locate and expand in their states. North Carolina appears to be one of the more aggressive ones. And this definitely was a contributing factor to why the Durham-Chapel Hill, NC metro area is #6 on our list. #2 Omaha powered its way there more organically it seems.
All regions are different. And Fintech companies looking to successfully disrupt these segments will need to be able to take these differences into account.