Hispanic-oriented offices pick Miami
By Laura Stace
Many major companies targeting Latin America are opening offices or relocating their headquarters to Miami.
In May, BBVA Compass bank opened its Miami office on Brickell Avenue, said BBVA Compass South Florida Market President Roberto Muñoz.
The company has 45 locations in Northern Florida and a sizeable presence in Latin America, he said, with Miami being the next logical step.
The firm — a wholly owned subsidiary of BBVA — uses the locale to offer domestic and international financial services. The bank provides private wealth management services and has clients in Latin America and Mexico, he said.
Mr. Muñoz said BBVA Compass aims to serve companies with annual sales ranging from $25 million to $1.5 billion.
In terms of ease of operations with Latin America, Mr. Muñoz said Miami has the infrastructure for businesses to be able to be successful in north to south and south to north relationships.
Included in this infrastructure, he said, were strong international law, accounting and banking firms.
BBVA Compass' parent company is from Spain, he said, adding that 400 Spanish companies operate in Miami and many more are in the process of moving here.
Andre Dousdebes, director of business development for electronics wholesale distributor Pinnacle Worldwide, said the company opened an office in the Miami Free Zone last month to be able to service Latin American clients more efficiently.
Pinnacle Worldwide is based in Los Angeles, Mr. Dousdebes said, and when the company ships to Latin America from the West Coast it takes additional time for goods to reach their destination.
Sometimes, he said, this has an impact on his clients when market prices change.
Mr. Dousdebes said by having an office in Miami, he can ship the same day a client places an order.
"If you are going to do business in Latin America you need to be present in Miami," he said.
"If not, it is too challenging."
The company has been in business many years, he said, and is starting off small to test the waters in Miami.
He said there are three persons in Pinnacle Worldwide's Miami office at present, and he makes the journey from West to East Coast regularly.
According to the Beacon Council's 2011-2012 Annual Report to The Community, the council assisted 27 companies in expanding or relocating to Miami-Dade County in the next 12 months.
A few of the key projects this year included:
nSABMiller Latin America: The brewing company moved its Latin American headquarters from Bogotá, Colombia, to Miami.
nApex Fund Services: The global financial company established its Latin American headquarters in Miami.
nInterfood Inc.: The Dutch dairy supplier relocated its Americas headquarters from Massachusetts to Miami.
nMc Lehm Language Services: The language services company established operations in Miami to service its customers in Latin America and the US.
nTWI USA LLC: The company — specializing in research, market intelligence and talent acquisitions — established operations in Miami to service Latin American and US markets.
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