BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

July 29, 2014 06:00 ET

Two-Thirds of Canadian Business Owners Consider Professional Services an Attractive Investment Opportunity: BMO Survey

- Professional services sector comprised of specially trained professionals: pharmacists, veterinarians, architects, engineers and lawyers

- Investing in the professional services industry most attractive to business owners aged 18-39

- BMO Economics: Professional services sectors has grown at a rate of 3.1 per cent over the past 15 years, a full percentage point faster than rest of the economy

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 29, 2014) - According to a BMO Bank of Montreal survey released today, two-thirds of Canadian entrepreneurs (63 per cent) report the professional services sector is an attractive investment opportunity for business owners.

Professional services are defined as professions that require specialized training, such as veterinarians, architects, engineers and lawyers. According to industry data, the sector achieved the largest increase in job growth last year, with an increase of 85,000; it is now the fourth-largest sector by employment in Canada. Average earnings for the sector are $1,300 a week, compared with a national average of $927 a week for all sectors.

Professional services within the health care sector are also attracting attention. Pharmacies, in particular, represent an area of interest - especially given the sale of Dell Pharmacies to Rexall a few years ago and the recent acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart by Loblaws. According to the Canadian Pharmacists Association, there are 33,000 licensed pharmacists in Canada compared to 10 years ago when there were fewer than 25,000. About 60 per cent of pharmacists are women, with the annual income ranging between $80,000 to $95,000.

Doug Porter, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group, noted, "Over the past 15 years, the professional services group of industries has grown at an average yearly pace of 3.1 per cent after inflation, or nearly a full percentage point faster than the rest of economy over that period."

"Overall, the professional services sector represents an area of growth. We are seeing interest among business owners to make targeted investments in order to start up or acquire a professional service business," said Mark Shoniker, Head, Professional Services, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, also revealed:

  • Nearly half of Canadian business owners (45 per cent) believe that the professional services industry is poised for growth over the next five years.
  • Those who currently operate a business in the sector are more optimistic for growth than those who do not (60 per cent vs. 40 per cent, respectively).
  • Investing in the professional services industry tends to be most attractive to business owners between the ages of 18 and 39.

Regional Breakdowns

Overall ATL QC ON Prairies AB B.C.
Attractiveness of Professional Services as a Business Investment 63 % 65 % 64 % 61 % 63 % 69 % 60 %

Mr. Shoniker noted that small business owners can take advantage of BMO's specialized suite of products and services customized to suit the unique demands of their professional service business.

Results cited above come from a Pollara telephone survey with 502 Canadian business owners, conducted between March 7 and March 24, 2014. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Results have been weighted by region and business size, according to the most recent Census figures, to reflect Canadian businesses.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets of $582 billion and more than 45,500 employees at April 30, 2014.

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