BNP Paribas gets set to open its new Miami office in November

Matt O’Connor has been named head of BNP Paribas Securities Corp.’s new Miami office, the firm announced on Monday, while Annabella Espina has been chosen to be the office’s chief operating officer.

“We welcome Matt and Annabella to these new roles and look forward to the official opening of our Miami office later this year,” said José Placido, CEO of BNP Paribas USA. 

“Since our announcement in January of launching this office, we’ve put every effort towards achieving today’s milestone to further expand our global markets franchise in the Americas, with more to come,” he said.

Matt O’Connor has been named head of BNP's new Miami office.

Matt O’Connor has been named head of BNP’s new Miami office.

O’Connor is currently managing director of global macro institutional sales at BNP in New York City. He joined the bank in 2014 and has over 20 years of experience in financial markets. Before working at BNP, he was head of commodity investor sales at Deutsche Bank and held various positions at Lehman Brothers.

“The opportunity to run the Miami office was very appealing to me,” O’Connor told The Bond Buyer. “I’m a big believer in what’s going on in Miami. We’ve seen the migration of our clients down to South Florida and we want to respond to that by being in a place where we can meet them on a regular basis to help grow our relationships with them.”

Espina is currently the firm’s CFO of corporate and institutional banking for Mexico and has been with BNP for over 17 years. She has held several senior positions at BNP in Paris, New York and Mexico City, including chief of staff for finance and tax as well as head of financial management and corporate development for CIB Americas.

“We’re excited to share the news that we have finalized the selection for the Miami office management and that these are the first of many significant hires in this important new chapter for our business,” said John Gallo, head of BNP Global Markets Americas. 

BNP’s Miami office will open in November and support the continued growth of its global markets business in the U.S., as an increasing number of its clients move into the South Florida area.

Placido said the new office “is another recent example of scaling our business in ways that fully support our clients’ ambitions, as more of our clients build a presence in South Florida. With this opportunity to better serve our clients, we deliver on our ambitions to grow our corporate and institutional banking franchise in the Americas.”

The Miami office is expected to offer various services and securities products for its local clients, the firm said.

“I have a lot of experience in working in a branch office,” O’Connor said. “And what we believe is that by being with our clients in the places where they are located improves the connectivity and partnership we have with them — and that’s the goal of opening the office in Miami.”

The company signed a seven and a half year lease for the office late last year. The office is at 801 Brickell Avenue in Miami’s financial hub and will focus on credit, equities and macro products. 

It is expected to open in November with about 10 to 20 employees and the firm expects to grow the staff to about 25 to 50 people over the next year.

O’Connor said the firm wanted to be the number one partner for institutional clients in the area, such as hedge funds and asset managers, as well as for an increasingly diverse number of clients that have moved into the Miami area.

“The new office is consistent with our strategy of being close to the clients we serve and will be an important office for our global markets business,” Gallo said. “I am confident Matt, Annabella and our office will be very successful.”

Placido noted the office would also boost employee morale and encourage teamwork.

“Our new Miami office also continues with our ‘workplace of the future’ model, focusing on wellbeing and employee experience,” he said.

Annabella Espina

Annabella Espina will be Miami office COO.

BNP Paribas is the European Union’s largest bank and operates in 65 countries and with roughly 190,000 employees worldwide.

“With its recent sale of Bank of the West to the Bank of Montreal for $16.3 billion, BNP Paribas is cash rich and on the move expanding its presence and services in the United States,” said John Boyd, Jr., principal at the Boyd Company. “Miami with its huge influx of wealthy residents moving into the market from around the U.S. and the globe is a perfect fit for BNP Paribas.”

BNP Paribas is a former client of The Boyd Company.

“Our firm knows BNP Paribas well — it’s the sixth-largest bank in the world and the eurozone’s biggest lender,” Boyd told The Bond Buyer. “In fact, we have researched expansion opportunities in Florida as well as in the greater Mexico City area for the Paris-based bank in recent years.”

Boyd noted the influx of other top flight financial firms to the South Florida region.

“Miami’s new nickname, ‘Wall Street of the South’ comes on the heels of a bevy of banks and financial services firms, like Goldman Sachs, Blackstone Group, D1 Capital Partners, Tiger Global Management, Virtu Financial and others establishing a presence along  I-95 Corridor stretching from Coral Gables to Palm Beach,” he said.

He noted in particular that Ken Griffin’s recent high profile Citadel headquarters move from Chicago to Miami, underscored the city and county’s reputation as one of the nation’s newest and fastest-growing financial hubs. 

“Florida has been amongst the nation’s biggest winners in the so called ‘Great Migration’ — to the tune of 1,000 people a day,” Boyd said. “Looking ahead, the pace of growth is likely to tempered a bit by housing affordability challenges, infrastructure demands and soaring insurance costs.”

In a December podcast, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava noted some of the challenges South Florida faces as more and more people flock to the area, spurring rapid economic growth.

“Every opportunity does have a flip side, in this case, housing affordability,” she said. “We have so many people moving here for these new jobs, these new businesses. And oftentimes these folks have more cash and they’re taking up the housing, making it even less affordable. The prices have gone up by a third or even a half and driving a lot of our local workforce out of the market.”

She noted that if the county doesn’t have enough housing for its workers, then it cannot sustain the economic growth that it’s been experiencing.

“So business is truly good and we’re rushing to catch up on housing. I’ve been really focused on building more housing so we can increase the supply and reduce the demand,” she said.

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