Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read August 2021 — Atlanta’s fintech hub, prized location and talent capacity make it the place to be, leading the Southern region of the country toward growth. Milton Jones, founder of Peachtree Providence Partners, spoke with Invest: about the city’s bustling fintech landscape and the scope of his firm’s work in the region.
What is the scope of Peachtree Providence Partners’ consulting and investment work?
Among our founders, we have nearly 100 years of combined experience in financial services, a key area of focus for us. As we look at how we apply that experience, we typically focus on Strategic Planning, Process Improvement, Financial Management, HR Management and Diversity and Inclusion. We have a long-standing track record in Strategic Planning, where we work with a wide range of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, typically at the C-Suite level. We are trained in Lean Six Sigma, and we use those skills to help drive process improvement and innovation, which helps build value through better revenue growth and/or expense management. In the area of financial management, we work with a number of entities to review, analyze and improve their current and future financial performance and measurement. One area in particular that we’ve experienced an increase in requests for is in the space of diversity, equity and inclusion. One of our founding members, Angela Webb, has significant experience in this area given her background in HR management as well as in diversity and inclusion design.
What services and sectors have attracted the most demand in the past year?
Peachtree Providence Partners Holdings has three major areas of focus, activity and structure. First is 3P Advisors, which is our consulting arm. The second is Partners Risk Strategies, which is our commercial insurance brokerage. Through our activities there, we work with a number of small business owners across a wide range of sectors. We’ve found that there is a stronger need for risk evaluation, mitigation and insurance than most small and medium businesses realize. Improving processes, assessing how clients do things and providing insurance are all part of our structural risk-mitigation toolkit. When structure will not do it alone, insurance coverage becomes a critical additional element of managing risk exposure. The third element we are focused on is building a fund to invest in workforce housing. That is coming along quite well and will focus primarily in the Southeast. There are a number of investors and organizations focused on market-rate housing and low income housing. However, there is a severe shortage of good, quality workforce housing designed to serve the needs of young professionals, teachers, firefighters and police officers, to name a few. Their ability to afford rental housing these days is practically impossible. Recognizing this need, we are working to create a fund that will invest in more housing that workforce professionals can afford to rent in locations closer to the center of growing urban areas.
How has Atlanta becoming more of a national fintech hub contributed to its economic growth?
More than 75% of payments in the United States and the world come through Atlanta. Fintech has helped contribute to the growth of our economy in ways that a lot of people do not typically realize. Much of what has happened from a fintech perspective involves the use of automated processes and technology, but it has also brought some high-end jobs in areas like marketing, finance, operations and compliance. Fintech has helped Atlanta attract and retain talented students and professionals, who find our city to be a great place to live. It has been a stone that has created very positive ripples in our economic pond and is feeding growth in entrepreneurial ventures, cybersecurity and other important areas of opportunity. However, the story is still being written. We’ve seen some of the benefits, and we’re about to see significantly more going forward. The main factor is that we are seeing Atlanta emerge as a fintech activity center, drawing in companies that otherwise would not be here.
What is your outlook for Atlanta’s local business community?
Atlanta is well positioned compared to some other cities. We have a dynamic economy, and we are easy to get to. By 2022, we anticipate a strong return on that strength. For example, Delta Airlines had its strongest year ever in 2019. In 2020, their flight numbers and revenues were down 66%, but they are already poised to spring back from that loss. They certainly are a strong pillar in Atlanta. As they rise, so do many other industries that feed off of Delta. The same will be true with a number of other companies like Coca Cola, Home Depot and many others based here. Atlanta will lead the South in a lot of ways, as it has for so many years. We are such a strong center of commerce, and we are very friendly toward that commerce as a city and as a metro region.
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