For Sarnoff, one of the biggest changes working in Miami’s favor comes from technology. As it becomes exponentially easier to conduct business from afar, leaders of small-shop hedge funds have fewer reasons to stay put. “Twelve years ago,’’ he said, “an attachment was something you put on your trailer hitch.”
A recent Bloomberg article depicted Lampert as an anxious flyer who rarely visits the Sears headquarters in Illinois. Instead, he grills executives via video conference. Ben Beavers, founder of one of the country’s top wealth-management firms, said he left Chicago for Coconut Grove only because he could so easily stay linked to the office while enjoying Miami life.
“I would say Miami’s principal advantage, unless you’re focused on the natural connection to Latin America, is probably the amenities it offers in terms of lifestyle,’’ said Beavers, whose Gresham Partners recently landed on No. 6 of AdvisorOne’s list of the top wealth-management firms in the country. Miami is “certainly way behind New York, Boston, and Chicago just because of the number of people in the industry.”
South Florida is already a popular vacation and second-home location for hedge fund managers, in part as a way to dodge New York’s income tax. Known as the “six-months-and-a-day crowd,” the DDA’s hope is to convince part-time South Florida residents to take the plunge and move down permanently.
Sean Kelleher used to commute to New York from New Jersey, a journey that took up two-and-a-half hours every day. The chief investment strategist for Shay Assets Management, Kelleher moved to Miami in 2011 and now works out of an office on Brickell Avenue. He recommends the move. “Good pizza is the only problem,’’ he said.
This story was updated to correct the location of Eddie Lampert’s mansion, which is in Indian Creek Village.