1. The EDC and the Commonwealth Host Financial Services Roundtable

    Yesterday the EDC organized a roundtable for Boston site
    selectors and brokers with a focus on the Financial Services industry. This was
    another step in the initiative announced by Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and
    Economic Development Greg Bialecki at last year’s Chamber Super 60 event.
    Secretary Bialecki has an ambitious goal of talking to 50 companies this year about
    locating shared service centers, call centers and other back office space in
    western Mass. While the initiative is focused on business functions (customer
    service, legal, HR, etc) more than on one industry, large financial services
    firms are the most likely candidates to move these functions from high labor
    cost to lower cost regions.

    The EDC worked with the Mass Office of Business Development ("MOBD")
    to hone the value proposition for our region and Secretary Bialecki made a
    cogent presentation to the consultants yesterday. Boston and New York are our
    top target markets because we add the advantage of management proximity to our
    core upside of a productive workforce at substantial cost savings compared to
    those markets. We had an excellent give-and-take conversation with the site
    selectors about maximizing the opportunity for their clients to open a facility
    in our region.

    We all learned from each other. One interesting opportunity
    that came to light is that several firms headquartered in California are
    fleeing the state because the CEO’s are facing a combined headline personal
    income tax rate (Federal and State) in excess of 50%. While the Sun Belt will
    provide stiff competition for those firms, key executives who will consider the
    northeast could be targets to locate, at minimum, their back office functions
    in our region. One key site selector told me in a follow-up exchange that “You put Western MA
    top of mind for me” and that, of course, was the point.

    The EDC was fortunate to be joined by our colleagues from MOBD, the City
    of Springfield, Develop Springfield and MassEcon yesterday.
    For more information about this initiative, please contact Mike Graney

    at 413-755-1300 or m.graney@westernmassedc.com.

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