Santander Brazil hires ex Credit Suisse investment bankers

In a strategic move aimed at reinforcing its presence in the ever-evolving Brazilian financial landscape, Santander’s Brazilian division has secured the services of prominent industry professionals. Leonardo Cabral, the head of investment banking at Santander’s Brazilian arm, has recently announced key appointments within his team. These appointments signal the bank’s intent to fortify its position in Brazil’s investment banking sphere.

Cabral revealed that former Credit Suisse managing director Bruno Fontana and vice president Roberto Bruno will now play pivotal roles within Santander’s investment banking operations. While this development comes on the heels of Credit Suisse’s recent upheavals, it underscores Santander’s proactive approach to capitalising on industry shifts and leveraging top talent.

As head of the division overseeing 60 bankers responsible for M&A advisory services and equity capital-market transactions, Cabral brings a wealth of experience in managing divestments in the South American nation. His leadership has already been demonstrated through the successful divestment of the Copel utility in August. Cabral believes that this transaction is just the tip of the iceberg, as he anticipates other state governments in Brazil will follow suit and divest their majority holdings in various businesses.

Notably, Cabral’s own career boasts a stint at the government-owned development bank BNDES from 2019 to 2021. During his tenure, he played a pivotal role in orchestrating a comprehensive strategy for asset sales, equipping him with valuable insights into the dynamics of Brazil’s asset divestment landscape.

The backdrop for Santander’s strategic talent acquisition is the recent turmoil in the banking industry, particularly the acquisition of Credit Suisse by UBS Group AG earlier this year. The fallout from this acquisition has prompted institutions like Santander and Banco Safra SA to seize the opportunity to enlist top executives from the acquired firm. In an industry where talent is currency, these institutions are taking deliberate steps to enhance their competitive edge.

Santander’s recruitment drive extends beyond the borders of Brazil. The bank has cast its net wide, securing talent with global experience. Notable among its recent hires is Marcella Recchia, who joined earlier this year to represent the consumer and retail industries in Brazil. Recchia’s prior experience at Credit Suisse underscores Santander’s commitment to leveraging expertise from established players in the industry.

Moreover, Julia Cambiaghi, former head of Latin America equity sales at Credit Suisse in New York, joined Santander in August. Her addition to the team is part of Santander’s broader restructuring efforts within its US brokerage division.

As the financial industry undergoes global transformations, the repercussions are felt not only in Brazil but also across the world. UBS’s global makeover has prompted Credit Suisse to make strategic decisions such as the closure of its cash equities sales business in Japan and the discontinuation of order acceptance for hedge funds and institutional clients. This realignment has led to the departure of several Credit Suisse employees from Tokyo as part of the bank’s winding-down process in Japan.

Santander’s proactive approach to talent acquisition in Brazil and beyond reflects its commitment to navigating the changing tides of the financial sector. With a team of seasoned professionals and strategic hires, the bank aims to position itself as a formidable player in Brazil’s financial landscape, ready to capitalise on emerging opportunities and challenges alike.

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