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Former Santander Head Trader in Brazil Spearheads New Hedge Fund

Vinícius Andrade and Felipe Marques

(Bloomberg) -- The proprietary-trading desk at Banco Santander SA’s Brazil unit has shaped a generation of traders who now sit at the top of some of the country’s hottest hedge funds. Gustavo Brotto is the latest executive joining this group.

Brotto, who left as the bank’s head of the proprietary desk in June, is creating asset-management firm Greenbay Investimentos, he said in an interview. The firm plans on launching its first product, a Brazil-focused hedge fund, by the beginning of 2021.

He’ll be joined by Alexandre Sumariva and Bruno Santos, former colleagues at Santander’s treasury unit who will manage the cross-asset and rates books, respectively. Lika Takahashi, a former strategist at Garin Investimentos, will be the head of equity research, while Priscila Kubo will take over as chief operating officer. Pedro Meirelles will lead the sales department and Sergio Kondo will be in charge of middle office.

“We will start out with a 10-partner team and a very similar model to how we worked at Santander’s proprietary trading desk, which operated almost as a hedge fund,” he said.

At Santander, Brotto spent most of his career working under Roberto Campos Neto, who left his post as head of the bank’s treasury business to lead Brazil’s central bank. Several of his then colleagues also set out on their own to form hedge fund firms as record low interest rates fueled a massive search for returns.

New funds

In 2018, a group including Felipe Guerra, Gustavo Pessoa and Pedro Jobim left to set up hedge fund firm Legacy Capital, which now manages about 15.5 billion reais ($2.9 billion) according to the nation’s capital markets association. About one year later, head trader Fabricio Taschetto joined a new batch of former Santander executives that exited to start Ace Capital.

Earlier this year, Santander restructured its Brazilian treasury, merging its client- and proprietary-trading desks, prompting Brotto and other executives’ departure.

Greenbay will have an initial capacity to manage as much as 4 billion reais, Brotto said, adding that the firm’s office in Sao Paulo’s financial district can accommodate about 20 people. The team has been holding virtual meetings on a daily basis.

“There’s one of my partners I’ve never actually met in person, but technology has been helping us a lot,” he said. “With interest rates so low, conditions couldn’t have been better for launching an asset manager.”

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