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Is Wall Street Relocating to Fla.’s Sunny Shores?

Wall Street execs like Fla.’s warm weather and tax laws, and a lot of power brokers relocated to Miami to ride out the pandemic. Now many of them don’t want to go back.

MIAMI – The Miami area may be on its way to becoming Wall Street South, as several prominent financial companies consider moving some of their business there.

For months, New York stock traders, portfolio managers and investment bankers scattered across the United States. Many headed south to spacious homes with private pools.

Now, as the vaccine rollout begins and firms look toward a post-pandemic world, some realize their employees don’t want a return to their old lives in Manhattan high-rises. Florida offers bankers an outdoor lifestyle, access to wealthy clients, and a 2017 tax overhaul that further increased the state’s tax advantage over most other states.

Miami isn’t cheap – but it’s still far cheaper per square foot than Manhattan.

Over the years, government and private businesses have tried more than once to expand the state’s industry footprint beyond tourism, and Miami officials see this as a new way to do so.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez hopes the Miami Downtown Development Authority can increase the amount of incentive money available to finance and tech businesses moving into the urban core, potentially raising grants from the current $150,000 per business or boosting the pool of funds so that more can benefit.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity predicts Florida will have 432,668 finance and insurance jobs by 2028, a 5.7% increase and less than the projected 13.2% jump in Florida jobs overall. However, the pandemic has also made it clear that there are challenges to living in Florida, including the crash of its unemployment website and a chaotic vaccine rollout.

Even so, those issues haven’t stopped a boom in the parts of the economy most affected by the wealthy.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek (01/12/21) Levin, Jonathan; Gordon, Amanda L.

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