Job expansion seen in move to Brickell by French bank Crédit Agricole
By Robert Grattan
Crédit Agricole Group, a private French corporate and investment banking firm, is moving its Florida office from Brickell Key to Miami's 600 Brickell at Brickell World Plaza and bringing with it plans for new hiring and expansion.
Valued at around $100 billion and with 54 million clients across 70 countries, Agricole is France's largest retail banking group and the second largest in Europe. The firm has several branches in various countries, as well as US offices in Houston, New York, Boston and Chicago.
While the larger international firm offers a variety of services, Miami's Crédit Agricole focuses on wealth management for foreigners who hold US accounts, said Mathieu Ferragut, general manager of Crédit Agricole US.
Agricole's services are tailored to "wealthy individuals in Latin America, Brazil and in Europe as well," Mr. Ferragut said, "clients [with deposits] in excess of $2 to $3 million."
Many of these foreigners seek US dollars and bank accounts to protect their money from political and economic risk in their home countries.
The Miami office "has been doing very well," Mr. Ferragut said. "Like many other banks, the 2008-9 years were difficult, but we've more than doubled our business activity since '09."
The bank expects to add 40 new positions to its current staff of 65 in the next three to five years.
New hires are to come from South Florida, Mr. Ferragut said. "We are very community focused and like to contribute to the region."
To make room for this new growth, Agricole has leased 20,137 square feet at 600 Brickell as part of a 12-year lease that starts in November.
"We're very exposed to Latin America," he said, "and with the growth in these countries… we are expecting to have the business model and presence to take advantage."
In addition to providing space for new hires, Crédit Agricole's new Class A office space is to offer cutting-edge technology, especially in information security and global connectivity.
"We are believers that one of the most important elements is financial systems," Mr. Ferragut said. "We wanted to be in a top-of-the-line building with the infrastructure and top-of-the-line connectivity."
The urban core's unique location offers its own set of benefits for a company looking to connect with many different regions.
"It's a strategic location," he said, "centrally by its flying connectivity to the airport, the Latin American countries, Europe and the rest of the US."
Mr. Ferragut said he was unable to discuss plans for further expansion in the US and Miami, although he expects the firm's business growth in the city to continue to accelerate.
Crédit Agricole is to offer clients "all the flexibility and reliability of a smaller firm," he said, "but backed with the signature of a solid banking group."
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