May 2018 — Miami is a city filled with rich culture and a diverse business community. In 2016, the GaWC Research Network designated it an “Alpha World City,” meaning that it is recognized as a “very important world city that links major economic regions and states into the world economy.”

Miami has always had a strong international influence in sectors such as trade, tourism and the arts. In the area of trade, specifically, Latin America composes nearly 25 percent of total U.S. trade, and Miami has long been considered the capital of Latin America. It is an interdependent business relationship: Miami relies on Latin America for certain goods and services, while Latin America relies on Miami for other specific goods and services.

Recently, another industry in Miami has started to see an increasing international presence: banking. A stagnant economy in Latin America coupled with less stringent banking regulations in the United States has proven advantageous for the Magic City’s banking sector. Miami’s already strong connections with Latin America have been further bolstered by unstable conditions in the region. Many wealthy individuals in Latin America benefit from investing their money in the more stable Miami market, which has led to increasing clientele for South Florida’s financial institutions.

Invest: Miami spoke with a number of leaders in the city’s banking industry to gain insights on how Miami banks plan to continue to attract and service international clients. Here’s what they said:

Guillermo Castillo, Managing Director & South Florida Region Manager, JPMorgan Chase

“Miami is an important international gateway, and our international banking teams have a base here. Providing solutions to international clients is a strategic advantage for us; the smallest companies nowadays have some sort of international operation, even to the extent of operating offices in other countries. Those are important client opportunities that we are uniquely qualified to service. We see a lot of foreign-owned entities with foreign parent companies. There is a good deal of this business here because of the connections with doing business in Latin America.”

Carlos Constantini, CEO, Itaú USA International Private Bank

“Because more investors are diversifying, there will be more players coming into the Miami market and more competition. At the same time, the entire industry is going to grow. We will see company growth and more activity for two reasons: 1) South Florida has a strong connection with Latin America and a lot of South Americans have family or second homes here, and 2) from a logistical standpoint, this is the best place you can be. It’s easier to cover Latin America out of Miami than from Latin America. A flight from São Paulo to Peru can be a nightmare, but from Miami it’s a very simple trip.”

Maurici Lladó, Managing Director, Banco Sabadell Miami Branch

“For our international clients who are looking at the U.S. as an investment destination, the tax overhaul improves their situation. The impact will not be seen until next year as investment decisions are not made quickly. Investors need time to find a project and secure capital, but abroad, experts are are analyzing and seeing more activity in the U.S.”

J.C. de Ona, Market President, Centennial Bank

“There’s a lot of money in Miami. There’s old money. There’s new money. There’s international money. There’s more money than people sometimes realize. It creates constant opportunities for business and wealth management.”

To find out more about our interviewees above, visit their websites at:

JP Morgan Chase: https://www.jpmorganchase.com/
Itaú USA International Private Bank: http://www.itauprivatebank.com/
Banco Sabadell Miami Branch: https://www.bancosabadellmiami.com/cs/Satellite/BSMiami/
Centennial Bank: https://www.my100bank.com/locations/florida/southeast-florida/coral-gables