Palm Beach County makes case as home for hedge fund firms


By Alexandra Clough – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Hedge fund heaven?


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Four years agofive people got together at E.R. Bradley ’s Saloon in West Palm Beach to create a new group, the Palm Beach Hedge Fund Association.

Today the group boasts 1,560 members from Jupiter to Miami and continues to grow, said David Goodboy, the association’s founder. The state’s low tax environment and warm weather increasingly are drawing firms to the area, and the trend shows no signs of slowing, Goodboy said.

On Oct. 5, about 118 attendees mingled at SandPointe Asset Management’s offices in West Palm Beach, discussing their funds’ performance and swapping ideas for new ventures.

Goodboy said he’s noticed that smaller funds are being created from larger funds already here. In addition, “there’s interest coming globally to South Florida,” he said. Of course, having the president’s Winter White House on Palm Beach also helps boost attention to the area.

Among the new players in the market: DRI Fund of Michigan. In August, DRI leased offices at 625 N. Flagler Drive, the Jupiter Medical Center/Mt. Sinai New York building.

Steven Kirsch, chief operating officer of DRI Fund, said Palm Beach County is becoming “Wall Street South,” filled with private equity firms and family offices. DRI had an office in Fort Lauderdale for a year, but Kirsch this year decided to make the move up to Palm Beach County.

Kirsch said the area has a better talent pool for his industry, which is mortgage investment. In addition, “being around all the other hedge funds and private equity funds was a big draw for us,” he said.

On a personal note, Kirsch also said the county’s schools and lifestyle made West Palm Beach an attractive place to raise his family.

Thomas Glanfield, president of Boston Portfolio Advisors in Fort Lauderdale, said his firm provides services such as compliance and back-office operations to hedge funds. Up until last year, all his firm’s clients were in the Northeast.

inBut the South Florida area is exploding with funds now, so much so that Boston Portfolio has hired someone to build its presence locally among firms. “We expect our Florida presence to be every bit as big as New York,” Glanfield said.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law.