Old challenge for XP’s new leader
Founder and former chief executive Guilherme Benchimol was keen to stress the mould-breaking attributes of his chosen successor as he passed the reins of XP Inc to Thiago Maffra in May.
As well as being just 36 – youthful even by today’s standards to be boss of a $23 billion bank – Maffra comes from the tech side of fintech. His career has involved positions such as partner at a crypto exchange and a high frequency trader, and he was previously chief technology officer at XP. This illustrates Benchimol’s belief that XP needs someone with a deep understanding of digital at the helm as he becomes chairman of the board.
However, while Maffra was hand-picked to steer XP towards becoming a full-service bank – building out from its investment platform base into full corporate banking and services – his first task is a more traditional one.
XP is facing a good old-fashioned turf war, with BTG encroaching upon its investment business that is, in large part, based on providing custody for Brazil’s large network of independent financial advisers.
Think Coke versus Pepsi but in Brazil – and in financial services.
The competition between the two banks has already led to litigation. In 2018 XP claimed BTG was using intelligence provided to it during an IPO process to go after its clients.