December 5, 2023

Investment Banking

Let Your Investment Banking Do The Walking

Ex-Credit Suisse Investment Bankers Join Santander in Brazil

(Bloomberg) — Banco Santander SA hired two more Credit Suisse investment bankers in Brazil in its push to expand in equity underwriting and merger-and-acquisition advice.

Bruno Fontana, a former managing director at Credit Suisse, and Roberto Bruno, who was a vice president at the Swiss bank, will cover financial sponsors, according to Leonardo Cabral, head of investment banking at Santander’s Brazilian unit.

“We are the international bank with the largest local balance sheet in Brazil, and we want to be among the top three in all kinds of investment-banking products,” Cabral, himself a recent Credit Suisse transplant, said in an interview. 

Santander, Banco Safra SA and other major lenders are jumping at the chance to bring on top executives from Credit Suisse after its emergency takeover by UBS Group AG earlier this year. UBS acquired the company in June in a 3.5 billion-franc ($3.9 billion) rescue brokered by the Swiss government.

Madrid-based Santander brought over Marcella Recchia from Credit Suisse earlier this year to cover the consumer and retail sectors in Brazil. In August, it hired Julia Cambiaghi, Credit Suisse’s head of Latin America equity sales in New York, as part of a broader reorganization of its US brokerage unit. 

Cabral oversees about 60 bankers handling M&A advisory and equity capital-market deals. Santander ranks third in investment-banking fee revenue for Brazil for the first half of the year, up from ninth in the first six months of 2022, according to London-based research firm Dealogic. It ranks fifth on Brazil’s equity-underwriting league tables so far this year, and is also No. 5 for local bond underwriting, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Total fees from investment banking fell 40% to $291 million in the first half of this year from the same period last year, according to Dealogic.

Cabral, who has a long history of handling divestments in the South American nation, is expecting other Brazilian state governments to sell their controlling stakes in some companies following the privatization of the utility known as Copel in August. The executive also had a stint at the government development bank BNDES between 2019 and 2021, where he was responsible for coordinating a massive asset-sale program.

Now that a monetary-easing cycle has kicked off in Brazil, Cabral said he’s expecting a more active second half for mergers and acquisitions. Equity capital markets should also benefit from falling interest rates, but initial public offerings probably won’t take off until next year, he said.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.