(Bloomberg) — Wealth manager Azura hired former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive Jerry Garcia to buttress its presence in Miami, becoming the latest firm to ramp up expansion efforts in South Florida.
Garcia, 53, started last month as head of Azura’s Latin America business, according to a statement Wednesday. He previously helped lead JPMorgan’s private bank for Latin America after working at the New York-based firm for more than a decade.
Companies including General Atlantic, Rothschild & Co. and BNP Paribas SA have opened offices in Miami and surrounding areas within the past year, fueling a boom in the region as other parts of the US real estate market are roiled by rising interest rates.
Meanwhile, billionaires like Ken Griffin, Dan Loeb and Josh Harris have scooped up waterfront Miami Beach mansions, helping to increase the number of high-net-worth individuals in the city by 75% over the past decade, according to investment migration firm Henley & Partners.
Latin American nations shifting left politically over the past year has also sparked a flood of money out of the region, strengthening Miami’s reputation as a haven for super-rich Latinos. People and corporations in Latin America’s five largest economies last year pulled about $137 billion out of their countries, according to data from the Institute of International Finance.
Azura, started by former Julius Baer Group banker Ali Jamal, 41, has about 40 employees globally. It’s added more than 20 professionals since the start of 2021 from firms including Credit Suisse, Barclays Plc and UBS Group AG.
Focusing on billionaire fortunes, the wealth manager opened a New York office in March run by former Credit Suisse executive Anthony Kontoleon, adding to locations in London, Geneva and Monaco. Azura also opened a Singapore office in 2020 and one in Dubai last year.
Garcia, who left JPMorgan last year, was a managing director and market manager for the firm’s private-banking operations in Central America and South America.
Jamal, a former Kuwaiti army officer, launched Azura in 2019 with about $2 billion of assets under advisory after most recently working as Julius Baer’s head of key clients for emerging markets. That amount has now grown to almost $4 billion, according to the statement.
–With assistance from Felipe Marques and Jordan Fitzgerald.