Miamis Growing Financial Service Sector Makes Dollars and Sense

Home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States and the second-largest financial hub outside of New York City, Miami’s roster of high-profile banking and financial services companies continues to grow.

“While accelerated by recent tax legislation in key northeastern markets, the migration and expansion of financial services leaders in Miami-Dade has grown consistently over the past 6 to 7 years,” says Michael A. Finney, President and CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the county’s official economic development partnership.

Some of the hedge funds, private equity firms and other financial services companies that now call Miami-Dade home include Universa Investments, Boston Private, I Squared Capital, Appaloosa Management, Everest Capital, Trivest, and HIG Capital. Miami’s advantages as a global gateway drives its robust banking community, with more than 60 international banks including Barclays, Banesco, BBVA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Northern Trust, Banco Santander, and Israel’s IDB Bank – which recently expanded its footprint in Aventura.

A global, connected community, Miami boasts an incredibly diverse, multicultural environment. Its rich arts and cultural offerings, world-class food scene, active lifestyle, beaches, and other outdoor spaces offer the quality of life that professionals prioritize. These are some of the benefits that Starwood Capital considered when moving their hedge fund’s headquarters to Miami Beach. Like many financiers, Barry Sternlicht and other key company leaders regularly spent time in Miami; as opportunities for growth continued to present themselves, it was natural for Starwood to explore a more permanent move. They are now building a Class A office building that brings the outdoors inside via modern glass and open landscaped spaces, with a nod to Miami Beach’s signature Art Deco style. The innovative, design-led, uniquely Miami approach that Starwood and others – like I Squared Capital in Brickell, which boasts an expansive rooftop workspace – are taking when establishing their new headquarters underscore that remembering why they live in Miami contributes to how they work here.

Taxes and the cost of doing business also factor into the decision to move to Miami. Florida is one of only seven states without a personal income tax, a significant advantage for high-income earners and business owners. Recent tax increases in New York, Illinois, California, and other states are expected to spur more relocations; coupled with more affordable office rents and lower housing prices in a world-class community like Miami, and the appeal for financial services companies is clear.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has had a home in Miami since 1997, surprised many when he announced he would be relocating his New York-based hedge fund, Icahn Enterprises, to Miami earlier this year. Incentivizing his team to join him in South Florida, Icahn’s move may be the most high-profile to date – but definitely not the last.

“Miami-Dade’s financial services sector continues to grow,” states Finney. “We have an established network of professional services to support international businesses, as well as fintech and cybersecurity experts leading innovation in this space. The Beacon Council and other partners continue working together to cultivate our financial center, and we’re confident that this is only the beginning.”

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