Computershare Makes Strategic Move to Louisville

Computershare, the largest stock transfer agent in the U.S. and the world, is moving most of its core U.S. operations from Canton, Massachusetts (a suburb of Boston) to Louisville, Kentucky.  While it is a step driven largely, and logically, by the desire to reduce cost, it also enables Computershare to tap into a well-educated and highly motivated labor pool, and reflects how technology and telecommunications make it no longer necessary to headquarter sophisticated financial services in money center locations.

The downtown Louisville location Computershare chose is smart:  the Meidinger Tower (eventually up to five floors) near entertainment complex “4th Street Live,” the Kentucky International Convention Center, many local and tourist attractions like the Hard Rock Café and plenty of major hotels like the Hyatt Regency.  The Ohio River and its Riverwalk are also just five blocks away.  While this presence offers limited value for Computershare’s business development and retention efforts, since only a few large listed public companies are located in the region, we do think a sizable staff re-population into a dynamic and, yes, fun place is important for Computershare’s employee morale – which can translate into better operating performance and customer service.  There is also a potential marketing benefit to moving Computershare’s largest U.S. operating presence closer to the center of the U.S., where Kentucky is.  The employee total we are talking about will soon exceed 300 of Computershare’s 1,400 U.S. staff.  The remainder, while the majority of the people, are spread across numerous client liaison and shareholder communications offices around the country.

Regarding the financial incentive for the move, Computershare will receive up to $2.5 million in tax credits from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, in return for Computershare’s $12 million investment in facilities and people and the associated meeting of hiring quotas.  We gather substantial additional benefits will be offered on an ongoing basis by Greater Louisville Inc., the city’s chamber of commerce.  So there seems to be no question this deal package is vastly superior to what Computershare could have renegotiated when its Boston area leases soon expire.

We therefore applaud the move, and point out to those who might question why Computershare made such a significant transition to America’s 30th largest city, that the firm has not captured half the market share in U.S. stock transfer – indeed global industry dominance – by making anything other than wise decisions of this kind.