Just four or five years back, people had written Miami off. But during the recessions Miami was evolving into a more dynamic, sustainable city. As long as Miami was just a city for wealthy people buying second or third homes, people tended to come for two weeks a year and then leave. But then, somehow, things changed. Even during the darkest days of the depression, over 55 new restaurants opened in downtown because the condos were getting occupied by renters that started to live there year-round.
Miami is now part of the top 10 places globally where wealthy people want to own a home or live. It's a place where working, young professionals want to be and pursue a career in technology, finance or in a hedge fund. During the winter months, there are probably more investment meetings in South Florida than anywhere in the world. The city has become a real center for family offices from around the globe who also appreciate the diversity of businesses attorneys, CPAs and the professional talent coming out of the universities. The Miami Downtown Development Authority started an initiative to bring hedge funds to Miami. We have seen great local success stories: Bayview Asset Management has grown to almost $5bn under management. Bruce Berkowitz has had huge success in raising capital, reaching over $12bn.
Surprise: Asians buy 20% of Aventura Real Estate development
Miami’s close proximity and international airport makes it a gateway to offshore financial centers such as The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands or the Cayman Islands. For a lot of people from Latin America, coming to Miami is much easier than traveling to say, New York. Florida’s strategic geographical location is perfect for a lot of Latin American clients, which are not well taken care of financially in their home countries.
A completely new phenomenon is the surge in visitors arriving from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Miami has direct flights from Moscow, and Qatar Airways announced a direct connection as well. Real estate developers are taken by surprise finding out that Asians are buying as much as 20% of condos or single homes in a new single family homes development in Aventura, FL.
The Opalesque 2014 Miami Roundtable, sponsored by Miami Downtown Development Authority and Eurex, brought together the following participants:
Andrew H. Jacobus, President and CEO, FINSER Group
Julie Neitzel, Partner, WE Family Offices
Marc Lehmann, General Partner, Riverloft Capital
Nitin Motwani, Managing Principal, Miami World Center
Patrick Stutz, CFA, CAIA, Chief Investment Officer, Bayshore Capital Advisors
Pratik Sharma, Managing Director, Atyant Capital
Thomas Belkin, Vice President, Buy-Side Business Development, Eurex
Greg de Spoelberch, Opalesque (Moderator)
The group also discussed:
Growth of LatAm hedge funds: While on an absolute level Latin America’s hedge fund industry is with $62bn still small, the relative growth from Latin American hedge funds from $2.6bn in 2000 to over $62bn in 2013 has been clearly stronger than the growth by European Hedge Funds which only increased assets tenfold over the same period.
Why central counterparty clearing of OTC interest rate swaps should include capital efficiency, protection against counterparty credit risk and a maximum level of client asset protection
Where should emerging managers set up? Can secondary financial centres like Miami, offering lower costs and taxes, beat New York?
Update on the Miami real estate market
Why more U.S. and international financial firms set up satellite offices in Miami
Why high net worth individuals moving to Miami now bring their assets with them to be managed locally.
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