Opus Fund Services finds itself at home in Nova Scotia
With operations in Europe, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and throughout North America, it was a significant moment in 2018 when Opus Fund Services, a global fund administrator, chose Halifax for its very first Canadian office.
“When our team looked at Nova Scotia as a potential site for our expansion into Canada, we were immediately impressed by the elements already in place to support a financial services company such as ourselves,” says Mark Atkinson, Regional COO. “Halifax presents surprising technological advantages. There are helpful government incentives paired with low operating costs, and perhaps most important, the availability of a talented workforce.” It’s true — Halifax is among the fastest growing cities in the country.
Individuals choose Nova Scotia for many reasons — including for its post-secondary education possibilities, challenging new career opportunities, or affordable lifestyle options. Whether renting an apartment or buying a property, prices are considerably lower than key cities in Canada and well below the national average. This mix creates a unique work/life balance that is a not-so-secret benefit for Nova Scotians, and a treasured change for anyone new to the province.
“A lot of our 22 employees are from Nova Scotia, and we see a culture here of place-appreciation that’s quite unique, in our experience,” said Atkinson. “Some of our Halifax employees lived away at one point or another, but they’ve been drawn home. We’re pleased for them, and happy to provide opportunities to work in their chosen fields.”
One such employee is Jennifer VanSickle, Client Solutions Specialist. “I’m so fortunate to call Nova Scotia my home. I love exploring our regions and consider myself lucky to do so during the four distinct seasons we experience. Opus supports and values a healthy work/life balance, which means I can continue to enjoy playing tourist in my free time.”
Opus describes itself as a company that values teamwork. This collaborative spirit drives the company’s productivity, and ultimately, innovation is a key factor contributing to success. Perhaps more than in other locations around the world, Nova Scotia’s particular business culture and overall provincial ethos are in sync with Opus Fund Services’ foundational pillars.
On the theme of innovation, the company demonstrates a willingness to try new approaches, specifically when it comes to hiring the very best employees.
“Our venture in Nova Scotia started with the hiring of Katie Murphy,” explains Atkinson. “We were initially looking for an accounting-focused senior hire, but Katie’s skillset was very appealing as she had both the operational knowledge and very strong tech skills – this gave birth to the idea of an Innovation Team that sits between operations and our developers.”
Since joining the company, Murphy has helped grow the Innovation Team to six employees, responsible for overseeing Opus’s global digital infrastructure, including its proprietary suite of powerful client-facing tools.
“The Innovation Team supports our company’s operations around the world from right here in Halifax,” says Murphy. “We may be a small group, but these people are some of the best in the industry and it’s a pleasure to see the level of service they provide and the innovative solutions we’re able to develop in support of every aspect of daily business.”
Halifax is positioned very well geographically to service the North American marketplace – the Atlantic time zone puts Opus an hour ahead of larger centers such as New York and Toronto, which allows them to provide clients with what they need at the start of their day.
Over the past year the team in Halifax has nearly doubled, and this growth represents 50% of Opus’s global hires during the same period. The team in Halifax is set to continue growing, with plans to have staff members who represent every function across the company – from senior management to account, fund and portfolio managers, developers, members in operations, and supervisors.
This strategic way of growing helps Opus remain agile, which is particularly important more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the company first established itself in Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Business Inc. assisted with a payroll rebate. This support from the Province of Nova Scotia helped Opus to grow, continually seeking new and talented individuals to join their ranks. Opus aims to hire people already in the province, as well as those who want to make Nova Scotia their new home. They’re also supportive of remote work situations where new employees can maintain residence elsewhere; about 90% of Opus’s Nova Scotia workforce is virtual.
Nova Scotia’s unique mix of enviable lifestyle and business ecosystem is working for Opus. Can it work for you? Current employment openings can be found at OpusFundServices.com.