Local financial-services firm to build new Cornelius HQ as part of $22.5M investment
Financial Independence Group LLC is moving its headquarters to a new site in Cornelius as part of a $22.5 million investment.
FIG, a financial services conglomerate, is moving to a 5-acre campus at 8715 Westmoreland Road. Its current headquarters is at West Catawba Avenue and Jetton Road. The new site will be home to FIG and its affiliates, Independent Property and Casualty Group, Alphastar Capital Management and Barnabas Capital.
Mecklenburg County and the town of Cornelius are supporting FIG’s investment through a Business Investment Program grant. The project is expected to create 20 new jobs in Cornelius over the next five years. The grant amount could be up to $461,237, if conditions are met, including $339,179 from the county and $122,058 from Cornelius. No state incentives were involved, said Clay Andrews, Existing Industry program manager.
“The focus a lot of times is on the new companies that move to an area,” Andrews said. “Historically, most of the new investment in the community from the business community is made by companies already there.”
The project will add a range of jobs, including financial-advising consulting, IT and marketing, said Brian Williams, co-CEO at FIG. The average salary is $55,547 a year, ranging from just under $49,000 to $112,000, according to a county presentation. The county estimates FIG’s investment would create another 15 permanent jobs and bring $177,692 in additional sales tax revenue in a five-year period, Andrews said.
FIG was founded in 1976 by Bill and Ericka Cain. It works with independent financial advisers and insurance companies on annuities, long-term care and life insurance products.The firm is led by co-CEOs Williams, Jim Cooper and Mike Mullan. It has 160 employees.
Construction is scheduled to begin later this year or in early 2023. It is slated for completion by November 2023.
“We have a national footprint, and while we work with a good number of financial advisers in the Charlotte area, our services stretch throughout all 50 states,” Williams said. “When you look at the growth potential in terms of the company and the jobs and that sort of thing, I think it parallels into the need for sound financial advice that a lot of our financial advisers provide for the end consumer.”
Westmoreland Project LLC, an entity affiliated with FIG, purchased the site for $1.425 million from Georgia-based GW Investments Cornelius LLC in late December, according to Mecklenburg County real estate records. In January, Westmoreland Project also purchased an acre lot at 8623 Westmoreland Road for $430,000 from KRT Properties LLC of Huntersville, according to real estate records.
Williams said FIG will create one continuous tract for the new headquarters. Preliminary plans call for one main building, potentially as much as 70,000 or 80,000 square feet, to house all four operations, he said. FIG is in a design phase that will likely last through the fall, Williams said. It is working with EDIFICE on general contracting and RBA on architecture.
FIG considered surrounding counties for its new headquarters. It also considered Scottsdale, Arizona, where it has a smaller office. That municipality offered $250,000 in incentives and grants, Andrews said.
However, Cornelius was FIG’s first choice, Williams said. It has been based there since 1998.
“It’s nice to be in the Cornelius-Mecklenburg County area neighboring Charlotte, just for the ease for people to get in and out of (a) major airport, that we can get out to go see our advisers. They can come in to see us as well,” Williams said.
Mecklenburg County commissioners unanimously approved the FIG project at its regular meeting tonight. Commissioners Pat Cotham, Mark Jerrell and Elaine Powell noted the Cains’ community impact, such as a $5 million donation to fund construction of the Cain Center for the Arts in downtown Cornelius. FIG is also the largest employer in Cornelius and hosts up to 1,000 visitors annually.
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By Caroline Hudson Banking and Finance Editor, Charlotte Business Journal