OTTAWA, Sept. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Toronto should focus on improving its transportation infrastructure, including roads and transit, if it wants to keep growing as a centre for financial services headquarters, according to a Conference Board of Canada report released today.
Toronto is well known as Canada's corporate headquarters hub, and has the highest concentration of financial services headquarters in Canada. With approximately 30 per cent of all financial services headquarters in Canada, Toronto has by far the highest concentration; Vancouver is second at 13.2 per cent. The financial services sector is also Toronto's third largest source of corporate headquarters employment. Forty-three per cent of Canada's financial services headquarters employees can be found in the metro area, more than triple its closest competitor Montreal.
"Given the significant presence in Toronto of headquarters in general and financial services headquarters in particular, it's important to understand what makes the city appealing and what needs improvement," said Michael Burt, Director, Industrial Economic Trends.
In order to do this, the Conference Board of Canada conducted a survey of financial executives in Toronto to solicit their views about Toronto's attractiveness as a headquarters location. Most of them rated Toronto as being equally or more attractive than most of the top 12 global financial centres for financial services headquarters. Domestically, Toronto was viewed as the most attractive metro area in Canada for establishing a headquarters.
Survey respondents identified six key factors in attracting and retaining financial services headquarters:
- political stability and regulatory certainty;
- good transportation infrastructure;
- proximity to other financial institutions and headquarters;
- telecommunications infrastructure;
- availability of skilled people; and
- access to financial expertise and leadership.
"Toronto compares favourably to other Canadian and international cities for most of the factors that attract corporate headquarters. However, transportation infrastructure stands out as the one important area needing improvement," said Burt.
In particular, respondents indicated that improved road infrastructure and mass transit links for commuting purposes were important to improving Toronto's competitiveness. Access to efficient and affordable air travel was also cited as an area for improvement.
The report, A Head for Finance: Growing Financial Services Headquarters in Toronto, was funded by the Toronto Financial Services Alliance.
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
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