PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Making the move, from hedge funds to Fortune 500 companies, big businesses are continuing to eye the South Florida market.
“We ain’t going back,” Doug Cifu said.
Cifu is the CEO of Virtu Financial and co-owner of the Florida Panthers. He isn’t mincing words about his company’s move to Palm Beach Gardens.
“We handle 30 percent of the US retail order flow,” he said. “None of that happens in Manhattan, no one has been here in this office in a year, and we had the best year in our history in 2020.”
Cifu said he gave his employees the option to make the move to the DiVosta Towers in Palm Beach Gardens, so far 30 employees have volunteered. He says it comes down to the cost of living, quality of life, and of course taxes.
“And they are all saying hey, I can live 7 minutes from the office, get in my car drive to work, and when the markets close at four, I can be home at 4:30 p.m. and play a round of golf,” Cifu said.
“We’ve never seen this large number of inquiries in the history of the organization,” Kelly Smallridge said.
Smallridge is the President of Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board. Eight years ago she launched an initiative to make Palm Beach the “Wall Street of the south,” the COVID-19 pandemic is making that more of a reality.
“What COVID has done, it’s shown people that they could do business anywhere,” she said. “That technology has allowed them to operate either out of their home or a smaller office environment.”
Smallridge said five large financial service firms and 8 other businesses have moved to the area since the start of the pandemic.
“We are very close to announcing, the pipeline alone has two companies that have the desire to create at least 600 jobs,” she said
Emily Clifford, the Executive Director of JP Morgan Private Bank on Palm Beach said they too are feeling the impact.
“Our demand has ticked up significantly and hiring we’ve really had to increase to meet that demand,” Clifford explained. “I think what’s been a pleasant by-product is the talent pool that’s here. There’s always been an incredible local talent pool, but that has increased ten-fold since the pandemic started.”