TAMPA — About 150 jobs are expected to be eliminated and 220 or more Tampa employees could be looking at a move to Maryland or Colorado next year when T. Rowe Price closes its office in the West Shore business district.
The Baltimore investment management giant announced plans late Wednesday not to renew its lease and to close its Tampa operations center at 4211 W Boy Scout Blvd., in June 2019.
It will consolidate that operation into existing campuses in Owings Mills, Md., and Colorado Springs, Colo. Tampa employees were told of the decision Wednesday, which the company said was driven by its clients' growing desire to handle their business online or by mobile app instead of over the phone.
"This strategic business decision was difficult because of the significant impact it will have on our Tampa associates," T. Rowe Price president and CEO William J. Stromberg said in a statement. "We are grateful for the many contributions they have made to our clients, the firm, and the community. By sharing this news well in advance we hope to provide them with ample opportunity and support to plan for the transition."
T. Rowe Price has had a Tampa operations center since 1994 in various locations, most recently in the Corporate Center Two building at International Plaza.
Most of its 400 employees work in phone support and other client service roles. The company said it decided to close the office in response to a "growing client preference to engage" online or by mobile phone, areas where the company says its is becoming more efficient and successful.
T. Rowe Price had a little more than $1 trillion in assets under management as of April 30.
"While our balance sheet has never been stronger and demand for our approach to active management remains robust, we also need to thoughtfully manage our resources in an increasingly competitive environment," Stromberg said. "Enhancing our operational efficiency so that we can continue investing in our strategic priorities will enable us to further improve the client experience and grow the business for years to come."
About 30 Tampa employees with assigned client relationships, including regional relationship managers and members of the retirement plan employee meeting team, will remain in the area working remotely.
Everyone else is being encouraged to consider moving to the other sites, where T. Rowe Price is hiring. It expects to transfer about 220 positions to those locations.
"If it turned out that more than 220 people pursued roles" at the other operations centers, "there could be more" positions available, T. Rowe Price head of corporate public relations and communications Brian Lewbart told the Tampa Bay Times.
About 150 positions are not expected to be replaced.
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"Our individual investor and retirement plan services businesses continue to do well, and we are making this change from a position of strength," said Scott David, the company's head of individual and retirement plan services.
While "our associates remain critical to meeting those needs," David said "we have the opportunity to simplify our operating model" as the company adapts to "changes in investor preferences and accelerate our digital transformation efforts."
In 2009, T. Rowe Price considered moving and expanding its Tampa operations to Pasco County, which had secured $30 million in state and local incentives to sweeten an offer that was expected to bring 1,600 jobs. It even bought 72 acres on State Road 54 for an expanded Florida operation, but dropped the idea in 2014.
"We still own the land," Lewbart said. "It is on the market and has been for the past several years."
Contact Richard Danielson at email@example.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times