Ken Griffin makes Wall Street South in Miami a reality

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Ken Griffin makes Wall Street South a reality. After years of speculation, the billionaire supporter of Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida is moving his hedge funds and market-making activities to Miami from Chicago, cementing the region’s status as an attractive destination for finance and business jobs. ‘investment.

The arrival of Griffin’s companies, Citadel and Citadel Securities, marks an exciting development for a region that has struggled to establish an economic identity outside of trade and the low-paying tourism industry. For years it was a place where the wealthy spent their leisure time and bought real estate, but not where most of them made a living. It pushed many of Miami’s brightest young minds elsewhere.

Now it’s both, but the change comes at a delicate time for one of America’s least affordable and most unequal cities, and local officials need to make sure the hedge fund boom doesn’t happen. not at the expense of accessibility to the city for ordinary residents.

Inflation is already particularly painful in the Sunshine State. Single-family rents in the Miami metro area have jumped 41% over the past year, the most among major metro areas tracked by CoreLogic, in part due to limited supply and additional demand from people moving in In the region. On Zillow, typical Miami metro rents are now comparable to Los Angeles despite household income levels being about 25% lower. Meanwhile, Miami’s Gini coefficient – a measure of inequality – is comparable to Colombia’s.

Officials including Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, a Democrat, and City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican in a nonpartisan office, must ensure the city builds housing more affordable so that working-class residents can stay close to the urban center. and are not forced to live in vulnerable neighborhoods and dwellings that cannot cope with the climate change challenges brewing in the region. They should also redouble their efforts to improve the county’s dismal public transportation system, which has been plagued by decades of delays and broken promises. If officials fail in these tasks, Miami could cease to be viable for the working class that made it what it is, including the many Latin American immigrants who make South Florida unique to the states. -United.

Of course, you can’t blame people for wanting to move to a place with a year-round warm climate, rich culture, and no income taxes. In addition to Citadel, recent splashy arrivals have included Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management in St. Petersburg; Elliott Management Corp. in West Palm Beach; and Jeffrey Gundlach’s DoubleLine Capital LP in Tampa.

The work-from-anywhere revolution has empowered individuals and businesses to make life choices they couldn’t before, and light hedge funds (which often consist of half a dozen people working on computers) were naturally among the first to act. Griffin is also Governor DeSantis’ top donor, and he has made no secret of his contempt for crime and political leadership in Illinois, the state’s stronghold leaves behind.

Granted, South Florida itself has plenty of struggling cities, and there’s still a long way to go before it can be considered a full-fledged alternative to major financial cities, including New York. While it’s easy for white-collar workers and hedge fund bosses to work from anywhere, other factors continue to tie people to traditional hubs in the Northeast. A common refrain among the 1% is that there aren’t enough places at the top Ivy League “feeding” private schools. The market will adapt to meet this demand, but it will take time. According to the most recent data from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Florida had just 1.8% of U.S. regulatory assets under management, down from 1.3% before the pandemic.

Yet it is clear that the official figures underestimate the growing size of the industry, in part because they do not include the myriad satellite offices. It’s also undeniable that big, influential companies like Citadel will help create further momentum. This means that Miami – a quintessential lifestyle city – finally has a chance to retain its homegrown talent and reverse the brain drain of the past. But in the process, he must protect the working class people who made South Florida what it is.

More other writers at Bloomberg Opinion:

• Make Sun Belt cities more like New York and LA: Conor Sen

• Growth engine for remote work opportunities for college towns: Conor Sen

• Are workers more productive at home? : Justin Fox

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editorial Board or of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Jonathan Levin has worked as a Bloomberg reporter in Latin America and the United States, covering finance, markets, and mergers and acquisitions. Most recently, he served as the company’s Miami office manager. He holds the CFA charter.

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