As part of a move to bring all aspects of shareholder services under its own wing, T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. has opened a new administrative facility in Owings Mills and started hiring the first of more than 175 employees who will take over processing of transactions formerly handled by State Street Bank in Boston.
Price also has opened a new "walk-in investor center" in the lobby of its new building to serve its 60,000 Baltimore area investors, many of whom live in the suburbs north and west of the city.
More than 500 Price employees are already working in the T. Rowe Price Financial Center, a $20 million building at 10090 Red Run Blvd. in Owings Mills. Trammell Crow Co. built it last year to enable Price to consolidate its employees who process and maintain the company's retirement plans and mutual fund operations.
Most of the employees were transferred from downtown Baltimore, but about 75 were hired recently and "we'll be hiring another 100 or more over the next few months" to handle shareholder transactions in the T. Rowe Price mutual funds, said Vice President Steven Norwitz. "By the end of the year, we'll have more than 600 employees in the Owings Mills facility."
Price still maintains its corporate headquarters in Baltimore at 100 E. Pratt St., where it has about 500 employees, Mr. Norwitz added.
T. Rowe Price Associates serves as investment adviser to the T. Rowe Price family of no-load mutual funds and to institutional and individual clients. As of Dec. 31, the company managed $29.4 billion in more than 1.5 million investor accounts.
The three-story, 114,630-square-foot Owings Mills building "reflects our ongoing commitment to provide fund shareholders and retirement-plan clients with the best possible service," said James S. Riepe, president of T. Rowe Price Investment Services, a Price subsidiary.
The Investor Center is Price's second in the Baltimore area, along with the one at the company headquarters on Pratt Street.
At both locations, investors can make transactions in T. Rowe Price mutual fund accounts, open new accounts and obtain investment information.
Discount brokerage services also will be available for purchase and sale of individual securities.
The centers are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"While most of our shareholders conduct their business with us by phone, many prefer to meet personally with a representative to discuss their investment program or just obtain account information," Mr. Riepe said.
The suburban location, which is close to the Owings Mills Mall and Metro stop, will enable investors who live outside the city to get personal assistance without coming downtown, Mr. Norwitz said.
"We think it will be even busier" than the downtown location, which serves about 100 people a day, he said.
Price intends to phase in the shareholder transaction operations -- including fund purchases, exchanges and redemptions previously handled by State Street Bank -- over the first half of this year, Mr. Norwitz said.
The new facility also will enable Price to accommodate continued growth in its servicing of defined contribution plans, such as the 401(k) plans, Mr. Riepe said.
Situated on 9 acres, the T. Rowe Price Financial Center is the latest addition to the Owings Mills Corporate Campus, a business park taking shape on land owned by McDonogh School just off Painters Mills Road across from Owings Mills Mall.