More investors leaving U.S. northeast for Florida: Sternlicht

September 13, 2016 4:23 PM EDT

Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, speaks at the 2014 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Lawrence Delevingne

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More financial executives are decamping to Florida for lower taxes, real estate investor Barry Sternlicht said on Tuesday, revealing that he is one of those who recently made the move.

"There's a massive exodus from Connecticut," Sternlicht said, naming himself and billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones as the most high-profile recent deportees, at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference on Tuesday. Sternlicht said, without naming anyone, many Wall Street workers were doing the same thing.

"As of July 1," Sternlicht said, "I've become a resident of Florida." Asked whether his departure was fueled by high taxes, he said "Yeah."

Sternlicht, who runs Starwood Capital Group, joins billionaire hedge fund managers David Tepper and Paul Tudor Jones in becoming residents of the so-called Sunshine State, which has no personal income or estate taxes. Tepper moved from New Jersey late last year, according to filings, and Jones moved from Connecticut, according to a filing. Tepper's Appaloosa Management is now also Florida based, but Tudor Investment Corp is still headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Previously Edward Lampert's ESL Investments moved from Connecticut to Florida, and Mark Spitznagel's Universa Investments moved its headquarters to Florida from California, also a high-tax state.

Business development groups in South Florida have aggressively courted Northeastern investors in recent years. Still, Florida is not close to rivaling New York and Connecticut, which have by far the most hedge fund managers and firms.

Sternlicht lived for years in Connecticut, a hub for hedge funds and home to wealthy Wall Street bankers and investors.

Now looking back at his former home state, Sternlicht said that it is being seriously hurt by high tax rates that are prompting many people to make a lifestyle decision and move.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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