Pandemic prompts Wall Street to seek benefits for living and working in Florida
A large group of Wall Street executives, bankers and fund managers are leaving New York for Florida, preferring Sunshine State to metropolitan New York as the coronavirus pandemic has robbed many of the benefits of working in the global financial center.
Since legions of financial sector employees began working from home in March, Florida's warm weather, low taxes, affordable office squares and quick and easy flights back to New York, raised the status of the southern state.
According to Kelly Smallridge (Kelly Smallridge), head of the Palm Beach County Economic Development Agency, about 30 major financial companies are testing the waters in South Florida. Some of them are serious about transferring personnel there, she said..
Companies including Elliott Management, Citadel and Moelis & Co, were among the latest to say they would open additional offices there or allow their profits to reside in Florida, executives said..
Goldman Sachs Group Inc is also considering transferring some asset management staff there, sources familiar with the matter said..
In the past, managers Wall Street rejected Florida location over concerns about schools, culture and networking opportunities.
Much of this has been eliminated as teleworking and learning takes over New York City, while restaurants, museums and other locations remain largely closed due to isolation measures to prevent the spread of the virus..
It made Florida's laid-back lifestyle and business-friendly practices more attractive, according to bankers and investment professionals..
Florida is part of a broader trend of large finance companies moving personnel from expensive cities like New York and San Francisco to more "modest" centers in US states such as Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
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To many New Yorkers, Florida seems to be closer culturally and physically than other states. According to sources, she is in the same time zone and there are more expats from «Big Apple» (Big Apple) than can be found in Salt Lake City or Nashville.
A year-round outdoor dining is another plus, along with the lack of government income tax. Homes and condos tend to be cheaper, and commercial rentals are about half the Manhattan price in places like Palm Beach County.
«I really like it here and I'm trying to convince some friends to move here.», – said Kevin Cooper (Kevin Couper), senior vice president of Wealthspire Advisors who moved to South Florida six months ago. «Here people can live their lives».
Cooper's opinion mirrors what many of his fellow Wall Street executives say: If they can't be in the offices of a Manhattan skyscraper and enjoy theaters, concerts and restaurants, they would rather be closer to the beach..
Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis (Ron DeSantis) has put the state's economy above stringent coronavirus defenses. In September, he declared Florida open to business, banning local governments from restricting seating in restaurants, despite the fact that many other states were, in principle, banned from eating indoors..
Florida is one of 13 states with no mask mandate.
Florida coronavirus hospitalizations jump 32% to 5,634 this week, Reuters from 4280 to 1 December. It is the fifth highest infection rate in the country after California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania..
DeSantis supporters claim his approach saved jobs and helped Florida businesses.
Cooper and others have said that they are serious about the pandemic, but that people should be allowed to make their own choices about wearing masks and dining out..
Hedge fund Elliott Management, which has $ 41 billion in assets, says it plans to open an office in West Palm Beach next year. Its co-executive director Jonathan Pollock (Jonathan Pollock) worked in Florida during the pandemic.
Hedge fund Citadel plans to open an office in Miami next year. Its founder Ken Griffin (Ken Griffin), a Florida native, is challenging the state by moving some traders from Citadel Securities, its separate e-commerce venture, from New York and Chicago to the Four Seasons Hotel in Palm Beach.
Blackstone Group Inc also plans to open an office for hundreds of support technicians near Miami..
Goldman Sachs' asset management division is reviewing South Florida, sources said. According to a bank spokesman, the financial institution does not yet have specific plans to announce this, but it is seeking to place more jobs in «respectable» locations across the country.
Deutsche Bank Group AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co have long had offices in Jacksonville, while many hedge funds have been based in Miami or Palm Beach for years..
While investment bank Moelis & Company has no plans to open an office in Florida, its CEO Ken Moelis (Ken Moelis) told Bloomberg TV that he would be happy if the leading dealers worked from there, if, of course, they so wish.
«The pandemic, in fact, took five years of a slow process and accelerated it», – said Alan Johnson (Alan Johnson) who works with CFOs as head of the consulting firm Johnson Associates. «Companies understand that you don't have to be in downtown Manhattan, and employees are fine with that».