DSM USA is a Global Financial Services Hub
In 2016, the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s regional economic development team coordinated 35 prospect visits, responded to 42 qualified inquiries and presented 162 sites and buildings to prospects. The team conducted eight recruitment trips, had 120 appointments with corporations and site selection consultants, attended and/or exhibited at 23 targeted industry and corporate real estate trade shows, including the American Council of Life Insurers and Property Casualty Insurers annual conferences, and hosted three national site selectors from the Site Selectors Guild.
What Makes Greater Des Moines (DSM) a Global Financial Services Hub?
One of The Partnership’s key economic development strategies ingrained throughout these activities is to market Des Moines as a global financial services hub. We highlight the fact that 81 insurance companies are headquartered in Des Moines and that our region has the highest concentration of insurance employment among U.S. metros — three times more than the national average. We make sure they know that the cost of doing business is 18 percent below the U.S. average and office rent is 29 percent below the U.S. average. We invite them to the Global Insurance Symposium and provide information on the Global Insurance Accelerator, two initiatives that The Partnership helped launch. We also talk about our multiple colleges and universities that graduate highly skilled talented people to work in the industry.
We share that insurance and financial services companies including American Enterprise Group Inc., ARAG, Delta Dental of Iowa, EMC Insurance Companies, Federal Home Loan Bank, Holmes Murphy & Associates Inc., The IMT Group, Merchants Bonding Company, Principal, Voya Financial, Wells Fargo & Company and others have recently made or are currently making major investments in their office space environments. We mention that Athene completed a $1 billion IPO, and that Fidelity & Guaranty Life and Symetra Life recently redomesticated and opened offices in Des Moines. We talk about the strong presence of Accordia Life, American Equity Investment, Continental Western Group, DLL Financial Solutions Partner, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa, FBL Financial Group, Inc., Grinnell Mutual, GuideOne Insurance, Homesteaders Life Company, John Deere Financial, Mercer, MetLife, Nationwide, NCMIC, Rain and Hail, Sammons Financial Group, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa and a long list of other insurance and financial services companies.
Wells Fargo's Leadership
We also always mention that Wells Fargo & Company has approximately 14,500 team members in Des Moines, our largest employer and Wells Fargo’s third-largest employment center, and that Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is headquartered here. More often than not, this is a jaw dropper for site selectors and prospects alike.
That being said, those of us in Des Moines are very much aware of Wells Fargo’s strong presence here and the company’s rich history of community leadership. From the Financial Center, to Wells Fargo Arena, to being the presenting sponsor for The Principal Charity Classic, to supporting a very long list of community nonprofits and projects across Des Moines throughout the years, Wells Fargo has played a critical role in making Des Moines into what it is today. Thanks in part to Wells Fargo’s presence, our community regularly appears in a wide variety of top lists and that has outperformed its Midwest peers in population, GDP and job growth over the past decade.
Wells Fargo Community Investments
Adding to its already long list of community investments, Wells Fargo recently opened its newest Wells Fargo History Museum on Walnut Street in Downtown Des Moines, the 12th such museum in the country. This world-class facility is expected to attract more than 25,000 visitors annually – and so far, the museum is in competition with the Los Angeles-based museum for most visitors this year.
Building on its past community support and philanthropy, Wells Fargo and its team members donated $9.1 million to Iowa nonprofits and volunteered 178,000 hours in 2016, and its current leaders continue to step-up as high profile leaders in the Des Moines community. Don Pearson, Wells Fargo Regional President, currently serves as Chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and in other high profile community leadership positions. Franklin Codel, Senior Executive Vice President, who leads Wells Fargo’s nationwide Consumer Lending businesses, serves on the Boards of Directors of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and the United Way of Central Iowa. There is a long list of other Wells Fargo leaders throughout Des Moines who are highly engaged leaders in a wide range of other community organizations, projects and initiatives.
To maximize Des Moines’ current momentum, it is critically important that Wells Fargo and the long list of other highly engaged Des Moines companies continue to step up as community leaders and make strategic investments in our region. By continuing to work together, we can and we will build on the assets that make Des Moines a global financial services hub and a best in class region.