UBS acquires majority stake in Brazil's largest multi-family office

UBS acquires majority stake in Brazil's largest multi-family office

Switzerland’s UBS Group has agreed to buy a majority stake in Consenso Investimentos Ltda, Brazil’s largest independent multi-family office, in what will be seen as a bet of confidence that better times are coming for the troubled South American country.

News of the acquisition came on Tuesday as Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, was facing calls to resign amid a worsening political crisis. Tens of thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Brasilia, the country’s capital, on Wednesday, and today Temer ordered troops to take charge, in an effort to restore order.

The UBS/Consenso deal is expected to close towards the beginning of the third quarter, subject to approvals, according to a statement issued by UBS. Terms of the deal, including the price, weren’t given.

The combined business “will be run jointly by UBS executives and Consenso’s founding partners”, the statement added.

São Paulo based

Established in 2003, Consenso has assets under management of more than 20bn reals (US$6bn). Based in São Paulo, it has branch offices in Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba and Belo Horizonte, and employs around 60 people.

Consenso founding partner Luiz Borges said he and his Consenso colleagues believed that they would be able to “significantly enhance our value proposition and widen our appeal to a larger number of private clients in the country” by joining forces with UBS, which has been operating in Brazil since 1960 and currently employs around 250 staff there.

Borges stressed that the plan was to maintain the “successful open-platform strategy currently run by both firms in Brazil”, which, he noted, would appeal to the newly-formed joint entity’s numerous private clients.

For its part, UBS will, as a result of the Consenso deal, now be able “to accelerate its expansion in Brazil”, while at the same time demonstrating its “longstanding commitment to growing our wealth management business in this key market”, said  Alejandro Velez, head of Latin American wealth management at UBS.

In 2013, UBS acquired another Brazilian financial services business, Link Investimentos, a brokerage that is now said to be the country’s largest broker-dealer by equity and derivatives-trading volume.

UBS  sold its Brazilian banking business, Pactual, to Brazilian billionaire Andre Esteves in 2009 for US$2.5bn, less than three years after acquiring it, but has since obtained another banking licence and is now a player in that market as well once again.

AS for acquiring multi-family offices, probably the last time UBS did this was in November, 2004, when it bought Sauerborn Trust, a Bad Homburg-based business that a media report at the time said looked after around 100 families and family-owned companies. It was expected that UBS would add to the bank’s German wealth management business, which at that time included the recently-purchased German private client business of  US investment bank Merrill Lynch.

To read a review of Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil, by a Portuguese-speaking American journalist named Alex Cuadros, who spent years covering the South American billionaire beat for Bloomberg,  click here.