Money definitely grows in the Garden State. New Jersey’s proximity to the financial markets of New York City, highly competitive corporate real estate rates, and a deep pool of financial services and information technology talent have made the state attractive for both headquarters and support operations for the financial services industry.
Leaders in Financial Services
Globally known industry leaders in the banking and financial services sector, including Prudential Financial, Dun & Bradstreet and Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, are among more than 12,300 financial services operations in New Jersey. And final services powerhouses such as Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have a major presence in the state, many of them in the financial services hub of Jersey City, known as "Wall Street West." Supporting the financial services industry is an extensive and sophisticated high-speed fiber-optic network that is helping to draw back-office operations and data centers that serve the financial industry.
Workforce Makes a Difference
Another of the state's most valuable resources is its people. New Jersey offers a deep talent pool from which companies eagerly draw. More than 257,000 people are employed in financial activities in the state, making up 6.6 percent of New Jersey’s total workforce in 2011. Chubb Group opened a New Jersey branch in Short Hills in 1968, and moved its world headquarters to Warren, N.J. in 1982. The company is the 11th-largest property and casualty insurance provider in the country, with a reported $50.9 billion in assets and $13.6 billion in annual revenues. “Exceptional talent is key to Chubb,” says Bev Luehs, senior vice president and global administrative services manager. “We hire well-educated people with financial savvy and a broad array of skills. New Jersey is in close proximity to some of our nation’s top schools, and we have been able to recruit some of the best people here. Bringing in the best people means we can provide the best service to customers, solid returns to shareholders and a terrific place to work to employees.” Luehs says New Jersey has much to offer from a recruitment perspective. “There is a lot here to whet the appetite,” she says. “Many of our employees live here, making for an easy commute. It’s a nice place to live, work and raise a family.”
Quality of Life Matters
The livability factor drew Fidelity Investments. The company, which came to the region in the early 1980s and expanded in Jersey City in 2002, opened a 185,000-square-foot regional facility in Jersey City's Newport Centre development in June 2012. The $30 million project will house 600 Fidelity workers. Maggie Serravalli, Fidelity executive vice president, says a number of factors prompted the opening of the location.
“[We look at] how the firm's real estate portfolio can support our business strategy in order to best serve clients while providing a positive working environment for our associates,” she says. “In addition to being a financial services hub with access to world-class talent, the Newport Centre site provides access to amenities such as public transportation, shopping, dining and hotels, as well as access to health, wellness and recreational facilities. The local business climate and Jersey City's focus on economic revitalization also made it an attractive choice, and we're appreciative of the support we've received from state and local officials.”
Local Investment and Benefits
In addition to providing services to consumer and corporate customers, members of the financial industry invest in the community. “Our employees are involved in a variety of causes here,” Luehs says. “Through business units and employee resource groups, they organize and help out at local events. And several of our senior executives sit on the boards of charitable organizations, such as Freedom House and Junior Achievement of New Jersey.” In addition to being where the money is, New Jersey offers a prime location. In proximity to New York City’s financial markets, the state's highly competitive corporate real estate rates and easy access to transportation infrastructure make it a lower-cost alternative for both headquarters and back-office operations. “Being located between New York and Philadelphia is a perk,” says John McWeeney, president of the New Jersey Bankers Association. “The transportation system is great, and there are major airports and shipping ports. New Jersey is a hub of commercial and industrial activity, and that draws banks [and financial institutions] that can provide services.”