South Florida (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca, Palm Beach) Firms - Ranking

I know this topic has been covered a few times - and I've consolidated the information below. What I'm trying to get a grip on is how these firms are grouped and/or ranked. Rank/Group as you see fit (Pay, Prestige, Life Style, etc.). I just want to get a handle on where they sit. Obviously there are no Top Tier names (outside of consulting (BCG, McKinsey)) but my impression is that some of these firms are legit and decent places for a Top-15 MBA grad to go after.

I'm heading to into my MBA program next summer and I'm coming back to South Florida. However, since I'm investing in a top MBA, I'd like to work at a great firm despite not heading to the street.

Here's what I have:

Morgan Joseph (Miami)
Landenburg Thalmann (Miami HQ; Boca Office )
Cross Keys Capital (Ft. Lauderdale)
Farlie Turner (Ft. Lauderdale)
Cassel Salpeter & Co. (Miami)
Citi, Barclays have LatAm functions

P/E (all great places):
HIG (Miami) - Extensive posts about these guys
SunCapital (Boca)
Brockway Moran (Boca)

Other Firms:
BDO Seidman, LLP
Stanford Group Company
Bankboston International
Bk Generalli Llc
Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd.
Calyon Securities (USA) Inc.
Sterling Financial Investment Group Inc.
Marshall & Stevens Incorporated
Beta Capital Management L.P.
Clayton Dunning Group Inc. (OTCPK:CGGP)
BroadSpan Capital
Capitalink, L.C.
Davidson Capital Partners
Edison Advisors
First Equity Corp Of Florida, Selected Assets
First Equity Corp. of Florida
International Business Brokerage & Realty, Inc.
Jackson Securities, LLC
Latin World Securities
Pan American Finance, LLC
Pinnacle Partners, Inc.
Stanford Capital Markets
Stephens Cori Capital Advisors
Westminster Securities Corporation
WestPark Capital, Inc.
Zebra LLC
Brilla Group

Most major BBs

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Comments (36)

Nov 9, 2011 - 1:08pm

I'm sure if you're from FL then you already comply to this, but make sure you speak conversational Spanish. Most of the deals they do down there will have a Latin American twist. I would aim for Morgan Joseph(I've done a deal with them and it was a good experience) and Sun Capital(I've done a couple deals with them). I can not speak for the others.

You could also check out FPL/Nextera. They're putting serious resources behind their energy trading and M&A group.

Nov 9, 2011 - 1:20pm

a few other names in the region:

triangle partners
biscayne americas advisors

suncap is a solid MM PE shop.

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Nov 9, 2011 - 3:51pm

Sun Cap is solid, they pop up in deals here in NYC with all BBs frequently enough to notice.

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Best Response
Feb 6, 2014 - 12:01pm

Among that list I would mention Morgan Joseph although most of the healthcare team moved to Oppenheimer last summer.

Ladenburg lost people too after Cassel and Salpeter left to start their own firm. They are mostly doing PIPEs nowdays.

Farlie Turner and Cross Keys are solid general U.S. MM sell-side firms. Farlie Turner has MDs covering different industries, and is pretty active in the energy space. A couple of their MDs travel to Houston almost every week.

BG Strategic Advisors in West Palm is a sell-side firm specialized in the logistics sector. They also run a small private equity group Cambridge Capital.

In the LatAm space the top shops are BroadSpan and Pan American Finance. Pan American finance is very active in the renewable space.

Jan 14, 2014 - 12:07pm

They do M&A deals sub-$5mm, send out email blasts and materials like a business broker (same quality) and provide equity "research" for fee from penny stock companies. Haven't seen any relevant ECM deal where they were a lead.

I would steer clear.

PE firms are solid though. Have talked with Brockway, Sun Cap, HIG and Pine Tree. All legit and some good guys in there IMO.

Jan 15, 2014 - 9:44am

An interesting article from the Miami Herald

Miami to NY hedge funds: We're ready for you now

Miami hopes to lure hedge funds out of New York with an updated twist on a familiar message: Come south for warm winters, zero state or city income tax and -- finally -- a downtown worthy of Wall Street's elite.

"It's really showing the maturity of our city,'' said Nitin Motwani, a Miami developer and board member of the Downtown Development Authority. "The more people get familiar with what is happening in Miami - the real Miami - the more people are going to say, 'I'm going to give Miami a shot."

The campaign to woo hedge funds, private equity firms and other money managers by Miami's DDA is the latest front in South Florida's decades-long effort to move beyond its dependence on tourism, trade and construction to drive the economy.

The familiar trope of a year-round vacation looms large in the DDA's message, as does comparing Florida's lack of an income tax with the 13 percent levy paid by top-earning Manhattanites. But this campaign also rests on proving Miami's bona fides for some of the wealthiest executives in finance. With a new wave of celebrated restaurants, a growing downtown cultural scene and an ongoing embrace of the "new Miami" by national media, the DDA sees an opportunity to make its message stick.

"You know what's important to these guys? Where they go to lunch,'' said Marc Sarnoff, the city commissioner who serves as DDA chairman. "Dinner means something to them. The symphony means something to them. Now, all of a sudden, you have a developed environment to satisfy these guys."

The tax-funded DDA reserved about $50,000 for the "Finance Sector Initiative," Sarnoff said. So far, that's paid for Sarnoff, Motwani and the DDA executive managing the effort, Sonja Bogensperger, to travel to hedge-fund hotpots of New York and Greenwich, Conn., to host events. With the winter conference season beginning in South Florida, the DDA plans to host Miami events for visiting money managers, including a tour of the new Perez Art Museum opening downtown during the week of the Art Basel fair.

Organizers don't expect a flood of relocations. The agency's public relations firm, Schwartz Media Strategies, said it could not yet provide the name of a fund that has moved thanks to the effort, which is about six months old. An offer to give interested funds six months of free office space on Brickell Avenue was discontinued after no takers emerged.

"We think we're just at the gaining-traction stage,'' Sarnoff said.

A key part of the DDA campaign centers on Miami's current finance sector, particularly its respectable core of hedge-fund notables. Last year, Eddie Lampert, a hedge-fund billionaire whose holdings helped make him the CEO of Sears, caused a stir by moving his official ESL fund headquarters out of Greenwich, Conn. and spending $38 million for a mansion in Indian Creek Village. (While ESL is officially based in Bay Harbor Islands, most of its staff remained with Greenwich firms working for ESL, according to a report by Hedge Fund Alert..) Mutual-fund heavyweight Bruce Berkowitz $10.5 billion Fairholme Capital Management has its headquarters in Miami and a staff of almost two dozen people.

Everest Capital, which manages an estimated $2.3 billion, has two offices: one in Miami, where it was founded, and the other in Singapore. Trivest and HIG, two prominent private-equity funds, also have headquarters in Miami.

"There's a growing ecosystem. That's wt is exciting,'' said Julie Neitzel, a partner at WE Family Offices, a Miami firm that manages investments for families with assets of at least $50 million. She said she measures progress when it comes time to fill a position in WE's 40-person office. "Five years ago, it was really hard to find good talent here."

New York remains the undisputed center of the hedge-fund universe. Chicago, Boston, Connecticut and San Francisco are among the notable outposts. Each of those cities is home to at least one firm listed in The Hedge Fund Journal's list of the top 50 fund managers in the country. ESL snagged No. 34 on the list with $11 billion under management, but the company was still listed as being from Greenwich, Conn.. No South Florida address made the roster.

Josh Gelfman, who left New York City's economic development arm to fill a new economic-development post created by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, said Miami offers a good value for hedge-fund managers. But he warned they have limitless options when deciding to move.

"I think it's an incredibly competitive challenge,'' Gelfman said of the DDA campaign. "You're talking about folks who can operate anywhere in the world."

Financial executives say a natural growth spot for the city's financial sector are satellite offices by funds who want a Miami base to meet with Latin American clients. Still, in a recent presentation by Motwani and Sarnoff to local fund managers, there was little talk of Miami's familiar role as the "Gateway to the Americas,'' a common selling point for economic development.

That hints at another aim behind the hedge-fund push: while Miami already serves as a financial capital of Latin America, the DDA campaign could boost the city's profile as a finance hub for the United States.

"I thought we would be much more dependent on Latin America" in making the pitch to hedge funds, Sarnoff said. "When you get around these guys, it's not that at all. You hear a lot about Miami being an alternative to New York."

James Varnadoe, managing director of Miami's KVR Trade Finance, which provides loans for importers and exporters, said the campaign's success may depend on how comfortable hedge-fund managers feel about the social scene in Miami.

"In New York, if you talk to the hedge funds, they want a social environment where they can talk to other hedge-fund managers,'' said Varnadoe, who is also a board member of the Miami Finance Forum. "I think there's enough hedge-fund and private-equity guys to start that."

As with most economic-development programs, it's hard to sort success from relocations that would have happened anyway. Sarnoff said one hedge fund from California, which he would not name, is in the midst of moving to Miami.

The firm has rented space in Coconut Grove's SBS office building, Sarnoff said. The firm plans to employ 25 people with an average yearly salary of $100,000, according to county documents. Miami-Dade commissioners granted the unnamed firm $63,000 in state and local incentives tied to future job creation. (County procedures call for the firm to be made public once the deal is exercised.)

For Sarnoff, one of the biggest changes working in Miami's favor comes from technology. As it becomes exponentially easier to conduct business from afar, leaders of small-shop hedge funds have fewer reasons to stay put. "Twelve years ago,'' he said, "an attachment was something you put on your trailer hitch."

A recent Bloomberg article depicted Lampert as an anxious flyer who rarely visits the Sears headquarters in Illinois. Instead, he grills executives via video conference. Ben Beavers, founder of one of the country's top wealth-management firms, said he left Chicago for Coconut Grove only because he could so easily stay linked to the office while enjoying Miami life.

"I would say Miami's principal advantage, unless you're focused on the natural connection to Latin America, is probably the amenities it offers in terms of lifestyle,'' said Beavers, whose Gresham Partners recently landed on No. 6 of AdvisorOne's list of the top wealth-management firms in the country. Miami is "certainly way behind New York, Boston, and Chicago just because of the number of people in the industry."

South Florida is already a popular vacation and second-home location for hedge fund managers, in part as a way to dodge New York's income tax. Known as the "six-months-and-a-day crowd," the DDA's hope is to convince part-time South Florida residents to take the plunge and move down permanently.

Sean Kelleher used to commute to New York from New Jersey, a journey that took up two-and-a-half hours every day. The chief investment strategist for Shay Assets Management, Kelleher moved to Miami in 2011 and now works out of an office on Brickell Avenue.

Aug 19, 2015 - 3:46pm

Any updates to this? UF student here looking for a Florida internship, I've got a lost of firms to start calling. Anyone have anymore to add?

Jun 24, 2017 - 7:37am

OP goes and gets top 25 mba.... why would you ever consider moving back to that shit hole known as south florida where the pay is under market value and the col is over. Miami is only fun if you make a ton of money. You should consider other city options, then come back when you can retire there. Talked to alumni at crosskey... small office, and the guy was being leveraged to the hilt on work hours. If you really want to get into finance, tampa has a better shot... that being said you should avoid florida all together as an MBA and focus more on southern banking districts like charlotte and Dallas.

Sep 29, 2021 - 1:56pm

Anyone have advice how to start off in Florida? Have an interest in IB and PE. Seems like all the legit firms here only want to hire experienced people. I'm even willing to work an unpaid internship to get my foot in the door. Any advice?

  • VP in IB - Cov
Sep 29, 2021 - 5:27pm

Almost impossible to start your career down there since all the IB is LMM and the PE firms very very rarely hire from them. My advice is to go to New York for a couple years and exit down to Miami.  

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Sep 29, 2021 - 6:14pm

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