The group, to be based in São Paulo, is headed by Connecticut-based Pinar Gurler, an MD in charge of distribution and derivatives solutions for LatAm, formerly at ABN.
She has hired Ricardo Bicudo, a former senior Deutsche Bank fixed income executive, to lead Brazil sales.
He is joined by two other former Deutsche fixed income staff: Cassio Silbermann and Carlos Simonetti. Gurler is said by headhunters to be looking to poach more talent in Brazil, and RBS appeared to have long term plans there – it was applying for a bank license before being toppled by the credit crunch.
However, the LatAm lending platform was heard mid-October to have halted new business, owing to poor market conditions and general liquidity constraints. And the future of the franchise was called into question when RBS was bailed out by the UK government.
But senior RBS officials held a call with employees saying the bank is committed to international business and does not plan to exit EM. Mexico and Brazil are among the bank’s most profitable countries, claim RBS insiders. Nonetheless, UK news reports suggest RBS may have to trim foreign units and investment banking in the wake of the partial nationalization.
Elsewhere Itaú’s investment banking unit has hired Douglas Chen as a senior vice president to head up a fixed-income and structured products sales effort in New York. Chen left Deutsche’s LatAm DCM department in August after several years of originating bond transactions. Deutsche is heard to have no immediate plans to replace him.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs denies rumors that Eduardo Centola, head of its Brazil office, has been asked to leave. Local market chatter suggesting Centola and Ana Cabral, head of ECM Brazil, were removed from day-to-day operations in a first step towards having them leave surfaced in October. This led market participants at competing firms to infer Goldman was pulling back from a country it has claimed as a long term priority and part of its own BRIC investment theory. “We are committed to Latin America and expect continued growth in business opportunities,” says a Goldman spokesman.
Lazard, IFC Name Peru Heads
Boutique M&A shop Lazard has named Augusto Barreto to run its new Lima advisory office, after plucking him from Citi in September. The new opening is part of Lazard’s move to expand in LatAm beyond Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Panama. Large banks, most recently Deutsche, have set up shop in Peru hoping to land a jumbo cross-border M&A transaction, as well as profit from one of the region’s fastest growing domestic markets.
The IFC has meanwhile named Roberto Albisetti country head for Peru. The Italian national with a decade-long career at the IFC will add the Andean nation to a portfolio that already includes Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. “We’re looking closely at participating in infrastructure projects in Peru,” Albisetti tells LatinFinance, noting that the multilateral has already been active in financial institutions and some mining initiatives there. “We are looking at the possibility of investing in projects outside of Lima,” notes Albisetti, commenting on the need to ramp up development beyond the capital. The IFC’s Peru portfolio stood at $810 million in the fiscal year ended in 2008.
Merrill’s Goldberg Moves to HSBC
Pablo Goldberg, a fixed income strategist for EM at Merrill Lynch and a long time member of the shop’s respected research team, has taken a new post at HSBC. He will be heading a team of analysts and strategists at the European house, as managing director. Headhunters familiar with the move say it was many months in the works, and not motivated by Merrill’s fire sale to Bank of America.
Elsewhere, William Clarke was set to retire as CEO of Scotiabank in Jamaica at the end of October. He is replaced by Canadian Bruce Bowen, CEO of Scotia in Puerto Rico. Clarke spent 40 years with the institution, starting as a teller, and had been CEO since 1995.
And Filippo Alario has left RBTT’s merchant bank, where he was MD. Darryl White, VP of syndication, will replace him. Alario, who had been at the bank for eight years and was named head of the merchant bank in May, does not indicate what he plans to do next.
Correction: In the infrastructure awards section of LatinFinance’s October 2008 issue, we incorrectly characterized the nature of Moses Dodo’s departure from WestLB. He voluntarily left the German bank for Portugal’s BES Investimento, where he had accepted a new position. LF