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Roundtable: Tremendous wealth creation in Miami's private banking sector

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Knight Frank lists Miami as one of the top ten global cities where the wealthiest 0.1% of the world live or want to live. In 2014, resale prices for downtown condos have increased by 20% and rents are up 10%. Art Basel, one of the biggest art exhibits in the world, didn’t choose New York or L.A. They chose Miami. Dubbed the “spring break for the rich”, more private airplanes are in Miami than anywhere else during that time.

But, maybe even more important, Miami is also listed as one of the top-15 cities in the world where young people want to live and work. That has the power to be a game-changer over the long-term. Already now, employers rave about the diversity of talent by way of background available in the city. The University of Miami has 6,000 computer science students and is constantly in the top-50 rankings, while 55,000 students attend the Florida International University, which also offers a Masters in Finance Program.

Miami was always a banking center. Starting out as a regional banking center, Miami grew over time to being the capital of the Caribbean, if not Latin America, and certainly, the preeminent financial center for deposit collection. Along with that, the private banking community also grew immensely and created a tremendous amount of wealth. There are still huge amounts of capital migrating to Miami. Investors are forming single and multi family offices, and a number of large hedge funds have recently migrated to Florida.

Miami is also a major legal center for Latin America, and healthcare is another very important aspect of the local economy. Of course, there is the weather and the out door lifestyle, that allows you to be outside throughout most parts of the year.

And then there is Miami real estate. “When you want to know what’s going on in the world, you don’t need to watch CNN. You can just look at the Miami real estate market where you can watch live what happens in a lot of foreign countries”, says Nitin Motwani. Until recently, the Russians were buying very aggressively and actively for a long period of time; that stopped when the U.S. placed them in the penalty box. Then, the New Yorkers came in because hedge funds did well for a couple of years. The highest price was $6,000 a square foot for one of the penthouses. The beat is on in Miami!

The following experts participated at the Opalesque 2015 Miami Roundtable:

  1. Julie Neitzel, Partner, WE Family Offices
  2. Andrew H. Jacobus, President and CEO, FINSER Asset Management
  3. Nitin Motwani, Managing Principal, Miami World Center and Managing Director, Encore Housing Opportunity Fund
  4. Tom Krasner, Principal and Co-Founder, Concise Capital
  5. Greg de Spoelberch, Opalesque (Moderator)
The group also discussed:
  • Why more and more (also overseas) firms opt to set up a full blown operational unit in Miami rather than a small satellite office
  • Others come because they see Miami as a great place to raise a family
  • Which are the top countries feeding people, talent and money into Miami?
  • Investment opportunities: Short maturity high-yield debt, U.S. equities, REITS, emerging markets
  • How local hedge funds grow by marketing to the investor base and family offices
  • More about Miami’s tech and venture capital initiatives

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