Making Sense of South Florida’s Banking Future

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While Miami’s presence as an entrepreneurial capital continues to grow, one sector that has always been strong for the destination is banking. As the Gateway to Latin America, many multinational financial institutions have called Miami home, and the Chamber is looking to grow that footprint even wider as we target Chinese investors.

In advance of the upcoming Banking & Finance CEO Roundtable (register here), I spoke with Alex Rey, head of the Chamber’s Banking and Financial Services Committee about pressing issues facing the industry and keys to business growth in South Florida.

AlexRey

Alex Rey

Christine: Miami is known as an international banking hub. With changing regulations, what are the most important issues for this sector to watch in the next six months?

 Alex: While we have not seen the full impact of the Panama Papers, the following are the top two issues:

  1. Expansion of Geographic Target Orders
  2. Increased compliance and disclosure requirements from all bank regulators, Treasury and Homeland Security

Christine: What do you believe makes South Florida the entrepreneurial capital of the world?

Alex: I believe that the entrepreneur spirit is in our genes. Henry Flagler, Julia Tuttle. George Merrick, the Cuban migration and more recently the influx of capital from Latin America, Europe and the Northeast. 

Miami is a magnet to people who want to call it home, but it is also a significant destination of talent and capital.

According to the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation, which studies and supports the startup community, Miami has the nation’s highest startup density and last year’s Kaufmann Index found that Miami led the country with 247.6 startups per 100,000 people. 

We are also developing the right ecosystem. Colleges and universities, the business community and government are successfully working together in providing the opportunities, incentives and talent necessary for success. 

Christine: What’s the most important tip to give businesses looking to grow?

Alex: There are several critical success factors in the life cycle of a business. As a banker, developer, and investor, I believe that cash flow is the most important. Without it there is no business growth, financing or return on investment.

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