After working at a number of different firms -- including Merrill Lynch and Fidelity Investments -- Tom Florence decided that he wanted to spend the rest of his career focusing on the entrepreneurial side of things. That is when he started 361 Capital, an alternative investment firm.
"[Denver] was a natural place to be because that's where we were living," Florence told StreetID. "Another reason to be in Denver -- which I think gives us a big advantage -- is that it's a really easy place to attract people. The cost of living is good. The weather -- we get 300 days of sunshine here. Anyone that comes to Denver and then lives in Denver generally does not want to leave Denver."
Florence said that while his firm is not currently hiring, he has "no shortage of resumes." Some of them come from people who want to leave New York or Chicago because they "love Denver."
"It's a quality of life decision, really," he said.
That said, Denver has endured the same economic troubles that have impacted everyone else in the financial sector.
"Over the past few years you've had firms like Invesco leave Denver," said Florence. "We had Janus, which has had its challenges and lost employees. They let employees go. In general, Denver used to be a pretty thriving financial services community. Over the last 5+ years it has downsized quite a bit."
Now that the worst is over, Florence said that Denver will "absolutely" make a comeback.
"You're already seeing that," he said. "Fidelity is locating its ETF group here. It's kind of hush-hush as to what they're doing, but they're locating them here in Denver. You've got Charles Schwab, and they're continuing to commit and add to what they're doing here in Denver at their service center. Oppenheimer has their whole service center here and some of their investment management. I think Janus is trying to make a rebound, and they're still here and very much a part of Denver."
Florence said that Denver is especially good for companies that want to diversify.
"If you're located in New York, you don't want to have all of your operations in one area," he said. "The cost of living in Denver is certainly a lot better than it is in New York, so people locating service centers here and different things makes a lot of sense. The weather, again, is a key reason as to why Denver would be attractive. Like I said -- 300+ days of sunshine. We get some snow, but it's not nearly what people think. You don't have to deal with a lot of the bad weather, which would impact an employee getting to work and hours of operation. We just don't deal with that."
Jesse Marrus is president of Street ID