by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Let’s face it. Anyone who works in, or just visits, the Wall Street area of Manhattan can’t deny the aura of power and money isn’t what it was 20, 30 or 50 years ago.
The vibrancy, the financial dominance, the gusto seems to have gone missing — so have many of the Gordon Gekko high rollers. Today, Wall Street is less crowded. It’s sleepier. There aren’t exactly tumbleweeds blowing down Broad Street past the New York Stock Exchange, but it’s not the bustling place where the financial titans and the world’s money changers hang out anymore.
To borrow a line from Austin Powers: Wall Street has lost its mojo.
Yes, Wall Street is still the financial capital of the world, but for how much longer? Right now, Wall Street has the look of a falling stock.
In years past, there was a worry that London or Tokyo or even Beijing would knock Manhattan off its exalted pedestal as the financial center of the universe.
Fortunately, that never happened. But now the latest threat is clear and present. And it’s coming from … South Florida!
You don’t have to believe me. Listen to billionaire Ken Griffin, who moved the headquarters of his multibillion-dollar hedge fund Citadel from Chicago to Miami last year. Last week, he made a highly publicized prediction that Florida could become the world’s new financial mecca. Why? Because “Miami represents the future of America.” Then he adds Florida “has a political environment that encourages growth.” What a concept.
Griffin has followed in the footsteps of Wall Street icons including Carl Icahn and Paul Singer, both of whom have moved their financial operations from Wall Street to South Florida.
These may seem to be just a few high-profile cases of billionaires saying adios to Wall Street, but they aren’t isolated examples.