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Latin America: Lacerda plays a grown-up game

The downturn in Brazil does not faze Ricardo Lacerda, founding partner of local investment bank BR Partners. Advisory remains the bedrock of his business, but political instability makes him think the next five years could undermine the last 20.

Ricardo Lacerda illustration-400

Illustration: Pete Ellis

Brazil went back 20 years with the downgrade, and we are in a low-growth environment with a lot of volatility and a lot of political uncertainty. We have a government with a very bad fiscal situation. Families are very indebted and many companies are very, very leveraged… Yes, there are good opportunities in a market like that, but it’s not for everyone – it’s for grown-ups.”

There have been many bleak assessments of the Brazilian macroeconomic and financial landscape over the past couple of years. But when Ricardo Lacerda, founder and CEO of BR Partners, warns against rising levels of optimism about the country it is worth listening.

Lacerda has seen the rise and fall of Brazil’s markets. He started out in banking straight after graduation in 1990 with Chase Manhattan Bank before switching to investment banking at Goldman Sachs after receiving an MBA from Columbia Business School. 

He saw the evolution of a market based on structured products and a little M&A in the 1980s, the arrival of private equity in the 1990s, before firms like Garantia and Pactual were founded to take advantage of the opportunities in trading rates and FX markets in the 2000s.

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