Last Thursday and Friday, I was out of the office attending the 35th annual conference of the South Florida Financial Planning Association.
That’s the annual confab for Certified Financial Planner practitioners (CFPs) like me – our chance to learn about the latest financial, tax, estate planning and investment research, talk to colleagues, and network with investment providers.
Although it can be disruptive to be out of the office for a stretch, it’s absolutely essential to keep up with all the latest planning developments and then incorporate those best practices into the work we do for you, our clients.
This year, there were a number of outstanding presentations – and I’ll be sharing some of the highlights with you over the next few weeks.
One of the most timely and intriguing was the keynote session on Cuba by Dr. Teo A. Babun, Jr., CEO of the HERZFELD/CUBA Alternative Investment Division of Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors in Miami, Florida. They advise the Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund, a closed-end fund publicly traded since 1994 that invests in companies likely to benefit from economic, political, structural and technological developments in the Caribbean Basin, including Cuba.
You don’t have to live in South Florida to know that the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement is the biggest buzz out there right now. It’s been the cover story of virtually every business, travel and news magazine in the country. (BTW- there’s an excellent special section on the U.S.-Cuba transition in this month’s Florida Trend magazine).
Before Dr. Babun’s presentation, I certainly didn’t realize how big Cuba really is. It has a population of over 11 million people and is larger than Belgium, Ireland and Holland combined (it’s actually longer than the state of Florida, which for those of you who have driven the Sunshine State end-to-end, is pretty darn long).
There’s no shortage of potential investment opportunities with our neighbor to the South – cruise lines, air lines, ferries, tourism, construction, telecommunications, infrastructure – you name it. But there’s also a long list of political and economic challenges to overcome. Stay tuned; it sounds like we’ll be seeing big changes before the year is out, and here in South Florida, we’ll have front row seats.