Over the past 10 years, Alberta’s financial services sector has experienced exceptional growth fuelled by high levels of capital investment in Alberta’s energy sector. Even during the 2015/2016 recession, Alberta’s financial services sector continued to grow.
Alberta's financial services sector includes six major Canadian banks with capabilities for research, sales, trading, investment banking and corporate banking. Alberta is home to headquarters of a number of regional financial institutions that offer similar services as the major Canadian banks. In addition, 75% of the top 20 global investment banks have branch offices in Alberta.
Alberta's financial services sector is strong, stable and on the rise
High concentration of capital-intensive industries
- Alberta has a capital-intensive oil and gas industry that creates demand for financial services.
- As a result, Calgary is regarded as one of Canada’s four global financial centres, with a cluster of over 1,400 financial services companies that employ more than 20,000 people.
A sound banking system
- Canada's banking system has consistently been ranked as one of the soundest in the world by the World Economic Forum. In 2018, two major Canadian banks were rated the top two safest commercial banks in the world.
Low cost of doing business
- Most competitive taxation system in Canada
- Prime, readily-available office space and low average commercial lease rates
Fastest growing in Canada
- Between 2008 and 2018, Alberta’s financial services sector GDP rose 38%, outpacing financial services sector GDP growth in all other provinces.
2nd most head offices per capita
- Calgary has the second-highest number of head offices per capita and 115 head offices listed on the Financial Post 500 ranking, behind Toronto's 276.
9.5% of the world's energy deals
- From 2012 to 2016, Calgary's firms handled 9.5% of the total number of energy-related deals across the world and about 17% of their total value.
Rapid growth in FinTech
- Alberta is forecasted to spend $1.1 billion in digital transformation of financial services by 2022.
Areas of Expertise
Alberta is a world leader in managing the way money moves through the energy sector – expertise that reaches well beyond Canada. The high rates for deal flow in the province’s oil and gas industry have transformed Alberta in a global leader in energy financing activities including:
- Asset Trading: approximately 8% of all assets in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin are traded, compared to an average of 1-2% in other jurisdictions
- Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A): Calgary is one of the world’s hubs of M&A activity in the energy sector, with an annual average of 12% of global M&A deal volume in the sector.
- Equity Issuance: Alberta holds about 3% of the world’s oil production and an average of 12-15% equity issuance in the global energy industry since 2010.
Edmonton is one of Canada’s leading centres for asset management and banking entrepreneurship. Four of Western Canada’s largest financial institutions are headquartered in Edmonton, including one of the country’s largest institutional investment fund managers and Western Canada's two largest banks.
Alberta has a number of strong anchor companies in the globally growing FinTech sector, providing technology-driven solutions that offer financial services at lower costs. Banks headquartered in Alberta have invested in local research partners in order to leverage the technologies to improve the way they do business. For example, ATB Financial has a 4-year partnership with the University of Alberta for research and innovation in artificial intelligence and machine learning, while RBC has partnered with Borealis AI to explore machine learning applications.
Research and Development - Fintech
University of Alberta: The U of A has been making significant investments into research and development of Fintech, bolstered by its cutting edge artificial intelligence and machine learning research.
Norquest College: As part of its business diploma, Norquest College offers courses examining the financial industry in Canada, including the exploration of the FinTech industry.
Research Success Stories
AltaML: Specializing in machine learning (ML) commercialization, AltaML has partnered with industry to co-develop products that combine their data and domain expertise with analytics and ML proficiency.
Crowdblink: Using their specialization in cryptography, Crowdblink created a platform for enabling secure payments while eliminating ticket scalping, fraud and bots. Crowdblink’s products serve venues, events, festivals, tradeshows, conferences, B2B, and personal mobile payments, and they have agreements with Mastercard, Global Payments, ATB Financial, and First Data.