After a meeting with the treasurer of North Carolina where he discovered that condos and hotels saturate the East Coast, AIG founder Michael Lee-Chin realized that the upcoming wave of retiring Baby Boomers is likely to move further south, to the Caribbean, which should spur an economic boom, The Globe and Mail reports.
It will be a “natural spillover [of] Boomers looking for warmth and coastline for retirement,” said Lee-Chin, who was born in Jamaica.
Thus, many of the firm’s funds have been investing in telecommunications, real estate, healthcare and financial services firms in the Caribbean.
Lee-Chin has made his own investments in the area by buying large interests in companies and 700 acres of waterfront property in Jamaica, as well as raised $300 million for the AIC Caribbean private equity fund. “Wealth is created when you find a company or a region that is relatively inefficient, and you make it efficient,” he said. For instance, in 2002, Lee-Chin bought a 75% stake in National Commercial Bank Jamaica, which earned only $6 million in 2001. This year, profits are on track to near $100 million.