STAMFORD — The employees of HealthCare Royalty Partners can see the directions of their firm’s growth by looking out their sixth-floor offices at 300 Atlantic St.
Looking east, they would face Boston, where their company is opening a new office this summer. By turning to the west, they would cast their gaze toward San Francisco, where they established their main West Coast foothold in 2015.
The proliferation of emerging firms like Health Care Royalty Partners and the growth of their employee rosters has helped Stamford and other communities in the financial-services corridor in Fairfield County to offset major downsizing at big firms such as Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS. Enterprises like HCR face their own challenges, but their steady development offers promise for a sector that has grappled with cuts and instability since the last recession.
“We’ve seen a significant amount of opportunity for us in the last 18 months,” HealthCare Royalty Co-Founder and Managing Partner Clarke Futch said in an interview last week. “We’ve been able to take advantage of that and put some capital to work.”
An evolving industry
Two of HCR’s neighbors a couple of blocks away face a less auspicious outlook.
RBS and UBS’ offices in the approximately 400,000-square-foot complex at 600 Washington Blvd. reflect their recent retrenchment. RBS has laid off some 550 Stamford-based employees in the past two years, while the sharp decline in UBS’ trading led to its departure last year from its former Stamford base at 677 Washington Blvd., home to the reputed largest trading floor in the world.
“RBS and UBS are important,” said Joe McGee, vice president of public policy for The Business Council of Fairfield County. “But they’re not going to determine the future of the financial services sector in Stamford.”
Amid those multinationals’ cutbacks, employment in financial services has grown modestly in the area in the past few years. About 42,600 people were working in December in financial activities in the Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford labor market area, compared with a post-recession low of 40,200 in February 2014, according to data from the state Department of Labor. The total still trails the 45,600…