Ever since David Tepper revealed that he was moving back to New Jersey after briefly seeking the greener pastures (and substantially lower tax rates) of the Sunshine State (Phil Murphy said he received a personal phone call from Tepper, informing him about the additional $100 million+ in tax revenue headed to NJ), smug liberals on CNBC have been smirking about how wealthy financiers want to be where the talent is/simply can’t tolerate not having the opportunity to see three Andrew Llyod Weber musicals a week (though it’s not like anybody’s going to see a Broadway show right now).
While Manhattan remains the undisputed hedge fund capital, Florida, particularly South Florida and Miami, has seen a steady influx of capital and people over the past five years. Last fall, Carl Icahn announced plans to move his firm’s headquarters to Florida, offering employees generous severance packages if they opted not to follow the firm to Florida.
Now, Bloomberg reports that Elliott Management Corp., the investment fund run by Paul Singer, is taking its $41 billion AUM and moving it to West Palm Beach, a community best known to Americans as the former hunting grounds of Jeffrey Epstein.
The driving force behind the decision, apparently, is the fact that Singer’s co-chief investment officer and expected successor, Jon Pollock, owns a home near West Palm Beach and has been living there during the pandemic, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The now-permanent move by Pollock, as well as several other senior officials at the fund, played a big role, as Singer apparently delegates more day to day responsibilities to this crowd.
For his part, Singer will reportedly remain “in the northeast”, though it’s not exactly clear where, specifically.
The firm will maintain some office space in NYC, and it also plans to open office space in Greenwich, Conn.
As Bloomberg points out, Elliott isn’t alone in expanding its presence in South Florida. Ken Griffin’s Citadel plans to open an office in Miami next year, and $8 billion Balyasny Asset Management, another Chicago-based firm, is also opening office space in Florida, and will have space for 30 employees by the end of the year.
It appears most of Elliott’s employees are staying put, which suggests Paul Singer is simply trying to side-step the burgeoning trend of liberal states dabbling with ‘wealth tax’ plans to plug the gaping holes in their budget caused by COVID-19. For example, Griffin is leading a campaign against a wealth tax in Illinois. Jamie Dimon recently bashed a proposed wealth tax plan in NY being pushed by – who else? – AOC.
And with New Jersey and Connecticut looking into similar proposals, we doubt this will be the last ‘wealthy billionaire’ leaves for Florida/Texas/Nevada post we write in the coming months.