Look at the numbers: Winnipeg’s financial services sector is one of the largest in the country. It employs more than 20,000 workers and contributes over $2.9 billion annually to the provincial GDP. It encompasses banking, leasing, insurance, securities, mutual funds and venture financing. Some of the biggest names in the business are headquartered here, and Winnipeg’s pioneering spirit has given rise to important advances in this sector that are now commonplace across the country.
First in Canada to develop electronic bill payments—eliminating the need for traditional paper cheques—Winnipeg-based Telpay was founded in 1985 as the R&D division of payroll innovator Comcheq Services, itself a Winnipeg institution launched by local entrepreneur Bill Loewen, who would eventually sell Comcheq to one of Canada’s Big Six banks (while retaining Telpay). Telpay has since evolved into Canada’s biggest independent electronic bill payment company, processing transactions worth over $14 billion annually. A similar Winnipeg success story with a growing national presence is Payworks. Co-founder Barb Gamey spent 15 years at Comcheq before starting her own firm in 2001.
Investors Group, one of the largest mutual fund distributors in Canada, is also based here. And so is Great-West Lifeco, an international financial services holding company. Its Canadian operating companies, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, serve the financial security needs of more than a third of all Canadians and employ over 3,000 people in the province.
If you have a focus on commerce, opportunities grow richer in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg is one of just seven cities in Canada with a competitive financial services sector. And as one of North America’s most cost-effective cities for financial services operations, Winnipeg is an ideal location for financial services firms looking for a location from which to serve the world.
Canada is one of the world’s leading centres for offshoring and nearshoring of back-office operations and Winnipeg has been ranked the third most cost-competitive location for contact centres and back office outsourcing in Canada. Winnipeg’s financial services firms operate extensive contact centre and back-office financial services functions in Winnipeg.
- All of the ‘big six’ Canadian banks have significant operations in Winnipeg. These institutions manage combined assets of $4.3 trillion.
- The four largest non-bank financial services firms in Winnipeg manage combined assets of more than $400 billion.
- Great-West Lifeco Inc., Canada’s largest insurer, operates subsidiaries in Canada, the U.S. and Europe and manages more than $201 billion in combined assets.
- Finance and insurance services generate 8.4 per cent of Winnipeg’s GDP.
- There more than 4,100 financial services establishments active in Winnipeg.
- The insurance industry represents the largest financial services employer in Winnipeg, employing 10,500 workers or 51 per cent of the sector's labour force.