Guess Who's the Richest Person in Florida?

Florida has been gaining prominence as the home of more and more billionaires in recent years. According to the latest Forbes 400, which documents the 400 wealthiest Americans and includes information on their net worths, residences, and more, the state has overtaken Texas as the third most densely-populated with ultrarich Americans. Topping the list of the wealthiest Florida residents is Thomas Peterffy, a recent transplant to the state from the northeast. Peterffy exemplifies an emerging trend that has seen more billionaires than ever before gravitating toward the Sunshine State. Surprise, it's not Appaloosa's, who moved down from New Jersey this year and significantly impacted their economy. 

Peterffy Tops the List

Though as of 2016 Florida officially has 40 billionaire residents, a full 10% of the Forbes 400 list, Thomas Peterffy is the richest of them all, according to Forbes. Peterffy is the 32nd wealthiest American across the country, with a net worth of about $12.6 billion. He earned his fortune with a discount brokerage called Interactive Brokers Group. Peterffy made headlines when he sold his estate in Greenwich, Connecticut in 2015 and decided to take up residence in Florida, in part because of the advantageous income tax rates and other financial benefits. However, Interactive Brokers Group remains headquartered in the northeast.

Other New Billionaires Join the Florida List

A number of other billionaires are new to Florida as of 2016 as well. Tepper, formerly the wealthiest resident of New Jersey, is a new addition to Florida's list.

Other new Florida billionaires include Robert Duggan, the entrepreneur who sold his anti-cancer pharmaceuticals company Pharmacyclics for $21 billion in 2015. Duggan earned about $3.5 billion on that deal before taxes and now has a net worth of about $2.6 billion. Todd Christopher, who sold his hair care products venture Vogue International in June of 2016 for $3.3 billion, is also a Florida resident.

Many Florida billionaires call Clearwater home, although there are a number residing in Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, and Tampa as well. The reasons why billionaires may be attracted to Florida are numerous. Beyond low income tax rates, the state boasts low inheritance and estate taxes as well. The business environment is also very welcoming, with friendly tax rates and comparatively tame bankruptcy penalties on the personal level when placed against those of many other states. Further, as more billionaires move to Florida, it becomes a more attractive destination for others on the list of the wealthiest Americans, with new business ventures and communities growing all the time.

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