Goldman Sachs, the 151-year old bank that captivates the eyes of financial professionals and Robin Hood users alike, is reportedly considering a partial move to Florida. The financial giant’s asset management arm, which generates billions, could relocate to West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale or even Miami as it seeks to escape New York’s, well, everything. Taxes are high in New York, real estate costs are high in New York, parking fees are high in New York – even subway fares are high in New York. And, sure, Fort Lauderdale doesn’t have a subway (building a subway would be pretty rough in Florida, but Miami does at least have two different elevated systems), but in general the cost of doing business in Florida is much lower.
There are a couple reasons for this. Florida businesses have to run air conditioning nonstop in the summer but there’s little need to heat in the winter and cooling costs are generally lower than heating costs. Florida has an abundance of land while New York City proper is a series of islands and peninsulas and no one wants to be in Yonkers. And also Florida is the worst.
No, no, that’s not me saying that. That’s employees at Wall Street financial firms. When JPMorgan considered shifting jobs out of New York to Florida in 2019, its employees – importantly, its executives – expressed concerns about Florida’s lower quality schools and the general experience of raising children in the Sunshine State. Executives living on Long Island or in southern Connecticut were wary of shifting to a state that ranks a resounding “meh” for school quality, almost exactly in the middle. Florida’s lack of a broad tax base means the state spends less on public education than almost any other state.
Schools aren’t the only problem. On a more planetary scale, climate change is making hurricanes worse with 2020 the most active and seventh costliest hurricane season ever in the Atlantic. As the Florida coastline slips away, its hard to imagine moving your family somewhere that quite literally might not exist at the end of the century. The state government has given precious few signs that it takes climate change seriously while New York is taking steps to mitigate its contributions to climate change and the effects it has.
That financial giants would want to move to the most cost-advantageous states is not a big surprise. But to do so, they’re going to need to overcome the objection of executives and employees who know that it’s a lot easier to get hired out of Goldman Sachs than it is to get hired into it, a rare bit of leverage that, they hope, will keep them in the financial capital of the world.