Baird says its Charlotte employment could triple

Financial services firm Robert W. Baird & Co. could triple its Charlotte-area headcount over the next five years, boosting the figure to 150, its chief executive said.

The firm employs has about 50 people spread across an office in SouthPark and an office in Davidson. Charlotte is an important hub for the firm, which plans to continue expanding here, CEO Paul Purcell told the Observer this week during a visit to Charlotte.

Purcell said Charlotte Douglas International, which he called "a world class airport," and a "good and improving" business climate in North and South Carolina are among the key reasons Robert W. Baird has offices in the Carolinas.

"We think Charlotte's going to be one of the top five growth areas in the country for the next 20 years," he said. "We're going to grow with it."

The SouthPark office opened in 2010. The Davidson office opened last year.

In Charlotte, the company has private wealth management, investment banking and fixed-income operations. The company's co-head of global investment banking, Brian McDonagh, is also based in Charlotte.

Robert W. Baird has five business segments. It's largest, private wealth management, gives financial advice to individuals. Purcell estimates that line of business will generate $550 million in revenue this year, or roughly half of the company's annual revenue.