It’s been a big year for Big Finance in the Big D.

Dallas saw three of Wall Street’s largest banks start on new campuses this year, cementing their bets on one of the fastest-growing metros in one of the fastest-growing states. The industry’s rapid Texas expansion since the onset of the pandemic means the area now has more finance workers than Chicago or Los Angeles, trailing only New York.

And it isn’t just the major banks. Asset managers of all sizes have been looking to cash in on the influx of wealth and people moving from the coasts to Dallas for cheaper housing and no state income tax. Fisher Investments relocated to suburban Plano from Washington state earlier this year, joining asset managers including Charles Schwab and Canyon Partners that arrived a few years before.

“Right now, the smart money is on Dallas,” Mayor Eric Johnson said at the groundbreaking ceremony in October for Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s 5,000-person campus in the trendy Victory Park neighborhood near downtown.

The bank build-outs are helping solidify the city’s status as the financial mecca of the South, overshadowing competitors like Atlanta and Miami. The rapid migration of people and businesses to Texas has led to a virtuous cycle of job creation in construction, restaurants and other industries without direct ties to banking.

Finance workers in Dallas, however, tend to be paid a lot less than those in New York, even for similar jobs. Financial and investment analysts, for example, average $102,000 a year in Dallas, almost 30% less than the going rate in New York.

Average salaries are also lower because of the types of jobs available. In Texas, a greater portion of the employee base is made up of back-office operations like engineering, customer service and loan processing.

And there are concerns that the state’s politics may slow the industry boom. In October, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office said it was reviewing whether 10 financial companies, including Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., violate a Republican-backed law that punishes firms for limiting work with the oil and gas industry because of climate change concerns. Officials have also probed financial firms over a 2021 law that restricts public contracts for companies that “discriminate” against gunmakers.

In an interview with Bloomberg News in November, JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said the laws risk undermining the state’s business-friendly reputation. Paxton has said the concern is overblown, and that all companies need to do to avoid the issue is keep away from politics.

For now, there are no signs of any slowdown in the Dallas financial sector. Wells Fargo & Co.’s new $500 million campus, which will hold 3,000 workers, is going up in the suburb of Irving. Last month, Bank of America held a groundbreaking ceremony for its 30-story high-rise less than a mile from Goldman’s new campus.

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