Investment firm says Charlottetown best city in Canada to do business

Dave Stewart
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Adam Runge

The senior officer with a global investment management firm says there is no better place to do business than Charlottetown.

Adam Runge with Invesco Ltd. says he agrees wholeheartedly with a recent study by KPMG International that named the P.E.I. capital city the best city for business costs in Canada when it comes to corporate services.

Invesco opened an office on Queen Street in Charlottetown in 2007 during the city's ongoing efforts to reignite the downtown core.

"We've been in the market now since 2007 and our growth has been amazing,'' Runge said in an interview. "We started with 24 people and we're now at 270 and looking to grow more.''

He believed in the Charlottetown market so much that Runge packed up his wife and two young children and moved to the city from Toronto.

KPMG's bi-annual study — Competitive Alternatives - Guide to International Business Location Costs for 2014, also ranked Charlottetown as the lowest cost capital city in Canada and the fourth most cost-effective city studied in all of North America for overall business costs. The study comprised of 10 countries and more than 130 cities.

The study measured 26 key cost components for doing business, looking at wages and salaries, government pension plans, medical plans, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, private health insurance, office leasing, factory leasing, industrial land, transportation costs, utility costs, the cost of capital, taxes other than income and income taxes.

Mayor Clifford Lee said the study is further proof that Charlottetown is solid as an investment.

"This is validation of the work that so many people in our community have put into making Charlottetown a great location for investment,'' Lee said. "That said, it's important to note that we do not rest on any laurels. We will continue to improve the business environment here and we will work to make our city even more attractive to potential investors.''

Runge said empirical studies like the KPMG report are great but even after numbers are crunched and data is gathered the bottom line for companies like Invesco is people.

"There's no doubt about it. You can be told all these different things but until you're in the market and you're dealing with the people that are committed to your business (you find) that they are loyal, they are smart and they are talented.

"We've been able to do more things with P.E.I. just through the labour force and (workers') dedication than we ever thought we would do.''

Invesco deals with high-end customer service for financial services which is where it started when the Charlottetown office opened. Now the company has 50 employees working in technology and IT roles.

Runge acknowledges Charlottetown is small and that it presents issues when it comes to the labour force but that small size also works to Invesco's advantage.

It enables companies like that to foster stronger partnerships with the city and the provincial government.

"Being able to reach out to the head of Innovation P.E.I. or, quite frankly, being able to talk to the minister of innovation or the premier if you have to and have them engaged in your business is important. It's very unique. Traditionally, doing business with governments could be difficult but in P.E.I., all along the way, it's been nothing but support for us.''

Runge said the local culture, the friendliness of the people, the desire to help out, the customer service orientation sets Charlottetown and P.E.I. apart from other locations.

"I've made it my passion to grow the organization out here. We've found a great niche in that marketplace. We took a risk going into a small market and it has paid off, big time.''

Organizations: Invesco Ltd., KPMG International

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Canada, Queen Street Toronto North America

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Recent comments

  • don
    June 01, 2014 - 19:34

    i wonder how long they would stay if the tax payers stops donating to them like tax breaks, helping with money for wages, and God knows what else.

  • Right On
    May 30, 2014 - 09:54

    "Being able to reach out to the head of Innovation P.E.I. or, quite frankly, being able to talk to the minister of innovation or the premier if you have to and have them engaged in your business is important . Yes I agree , they are the free taxpayers money tree to be plucked . Why wouldn't this be the best place , no one else is this easy to pluck . Us Islanders just love being fleeced .

  • Tell the Whole Story
    May 30, 2014 - 08:31

    Sure it is a great place to do business when you can get away with paying sweatshop wages.

    • Joe
      May 30, 2014 - 12:43

      Do you know what people make there? For entry level positions they make good wages that are comparable to other positions in the island and they apparently have a great benefits package, plus 4 weeks vacation. Don't be so quick to judge before you know the facts.

    • Tell The Whole Story
      May 30, 2014 - 20:14

      I do know the facts and I know their pay scale is NOT comparable to other companies . If you are happy earning entry level wages you are welcome to it but that doesn't make it right.

    • D
      May 31, 2014 - 04:06

      I work there and the pay is very competitive especially in today's industry so stop talking about what you don't know anything about!!!

    • D Minus
      May 31, 2014 - 10:03

      A Little Sensitive? We work in a glorified call centre. As I said before If you are happy earning entry level wages you are welcome to it but that doesn't make it right. Oh, and repeatedly telling others they don't know what they are talking about when obviously they do doesn't do anything to support your argument.

    • Lazy?
      June 01, 2014 - 08:33

      You'll make entry level wages when you do an entry level job. If you do in fact work there like you say you'd know that there is plenty of room for advancement. Maybe stop whining about how much money you make and start doing more than a sub par job? I've been there three years and make 40% more than I did when I started.

    • Lazy? I don't Think So
      June 01, 2014 - 16:48

      Im not lazy, I just know that the job you were promoted to might be 40% more than what you started at but it is still 40% less than what other employers pay for comparable jobs. Is that to complicated for a call centre worker to understand?

  • parking
    May 29, 2014 - 20:02

    Good to see they employ so many people. The major issue is the location of this business. It should be out of down town to allow parking. There are to many businesses with no parking. Also a company around the corner called ceridian should meet with these guys on how to treat the staff. Maybe then they wouldnt go through so many staff and could actually expand

    • anon
      May 29, 2014 - 20:57

      I do believe they lease a number of spaces for staff in the Fitzgerald St parkade.

    • D
      May 29, 2014 - 21:59

      As well as queen street if need be there is also on site parking

    May 29, 2014 - 19:59

    You Got To Be Joking ! Target Store Losing Money Big Time. Have You Walk Through The Charlottetown Mall It Looks Like a Ghost Town. The Whole Retail Thing What a Joke. Trying to Hired TFW Workers Behind Peoples Back By Putting Job Posting on The Job Bank And Only Looking For Cheap Labor TFW. Wake Up PEI All Employers Are Pulling The Wool Down Over Your Eyes. Have You Seen The Price of Cars $2000 to $5000 More Here Than NB and NS. Wake UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 29, 2014 - 21:29

      I'd suggest investing $100 to travel to either NB or NS to pick up a car. You'll save a total of $1900 - $4900 respectively. Grade 1 Math class, homies. Also, you might want to work on your English studies. It's very difficult to read what you're trying to say when every word is capitalized.

    • Let it go
      May 30, 2014 - 11:44

      If you knew how to type- you might be taken a 'tad' seriously.

  • Nick
    May 29, 2014 - 19:45

    Obviously it's great, government handouts to investors, low pay relative to the rest of Canada and a high unemployment rate are wonderful for business and those at the top. For the rest of us, it means low pay, high taxes and bad working conditions.

    • Employee
      May 30, 2014 - 08:13

      So you've worked for Invesco? Because if you did you'd know that none of the jobs at Invesco are low paying jobs and the working conditions are probably the best in PEI and I'm not even mentioning the amazing benefis. Go aim at your comment at a company that doesn't have such high standards.

  • Gagan
    May 29, 2014 - 14:11

    Of course the cost to do business is low here coz the avg salaries here are the lowest in Canada.

    May 29, 2014 - 13:33

    Of course it is a great place to do business when the layers of government build you a facility. I will give them big credit for sticking around though

    • D
      May 29, 2014 - 22:02

      The facility is rented by Invesco and they Also have many other locations globally not everything is about the government some things are about success within the industry stop trying to take something so positive and make into something negative it's disheartening

    • Success at What Price
      May 30, 2014 - 12:55

      That still doesn't change the fact that they/you pay (at least on PEI) far below industry standards for comparable work. Invesco salaries in PEI are more in line with what call centres pay.

    • Call Center
      May 30, 2014 - 14:06

      I don't know many call centers with acheivable and meaningful performance pay increases, annual pay increases, incentives, vaction, health benefits, sick time, regular growth and promotion opportunities... PEI could use a few more places like Invesco if you ask me.

    • D
      May 31, 2014 - 04:12

      If the pay was so terrible people would've left Invesco wouldn't of retained it's employees and be expanding. Aside from the odd black sheep no one complains and everyone is very happy to be working there. It's very hard to find another place like it on PEi. If you are also and employee like me then feel free to leave and stop trying to taint it for others

    • Yes Call Centre
      May 31, 2014 - 10:30

      You don't know of any call centres with vacation, health benefits, sick time? No wonder you think Invesco is such a great place. You have set the bar pretty low. Excuse me Mr. Bank Manager, I would like to deposit achievable in my chequing account and meaningful in my savings account.

    • Call Center
      June 01, 2014 - 19:05

      Yes that's right. I don't know of many (or indeed any) Island call centers with a comparable compensation and benefits package. In fact the 3 major contact centers on the island don't come close in terms of paid sick time, health benefits, paid vacation, educational benefits, RSP matching, growth and salary opportunities. Your quip about putting achievable and meaningful in the bank just makes you sound entitled. Too entitled to work a year or so to get those promotions.

  • voter
    May 29, 2014 - 13:00

    people work for less here and foreign workers are in abundance no shortage of labour

    • My opinion
      June 01, 2014 - 08:50

      I work for government and my sister works at Investco and I am in envy of her :-) there they are treated terrific as humans and have all the perks that I have. There health insurance pays 100% compaired to our 80% and we pay for ours and they don't. It seems like a terrific place to work, happy employee happy life. :-)

    • Your Opinion is Correct
      June 01, 2014 - 18:04

      It is a great place to work. You should join us. The company is always hiring. The pay is a little low but other than that it is terrific.