Is Miami becoming the southern Wall Street?

Just as Chicago is nicknamed “West of Wall Street” because of its finance and trading successes, Miami is pushing to become “Wall Street South.” Billionaire Ken Griffin is the latest example of a high-roller heading to the Magic City — and, in his case, moving the Chicago headquarters of his Citadel financial empire.

While it’s only part of the story, the No. 1 reason for the wealthy to move is hardly a mystery: Taxes.

Florida has no personal income tax, low corporate taxes and far lower property taxes than Chicago or Cook County, a difference made starker by Donald Trump’s 2017 federal tax law that capped deductions for state and local tax payments. For Griffin, who spent a fortune defeating a proposed Illinois tax increase on the rich, the tax differential no doubt matters.

Other financiers have taken notice as well, and Miami finally is seeing a return on its long-running effort to attract the moneyed and their financial ventures.

Miami started efforts to become a tech and financial hub in the 1990s, and since then has successfully recruited hedge funds, private-equity firms and family offices that manage the wealth of the super rich. Between 2016 and 2019, more than 70 mostly small financial firms moved to the land of beachfront high-rises, according to a local business journal. In recent years more prominent names such as Blackstone Group Inc., Starwood Capital Group and other big-name firms have made significant bets on the city.