Ignacio Sosa and Stephen DeSalvo, BankBoston
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Ignacio Sosa and Stephen DeSalvo, BankBoston

Different ways to skin a cat

Bringing Panama's first sovereign followed by a Brady bond exchange was a triumph for BankBoston's key Latin dealmakers Ignacio Sosa and Stephen DeSalvo. But it's by no means their only joint enterprise.

Sosa, a Cuban exile who gained notoriety trading Latin debt in the aftermath of the region's 1980s debt crisis, and DeSalvo, whose formative banking experience was in inflation-ravaged Bolivia, go back a long way together. As raw recruits to BankBoston in the early 1980s, they attended the same training course and struck up an immediate friendship. So when a female friend of DeSalvo's then girlfriend (now his wife) expressed interest in dating a Latino, Sosa perfectly fitted the bill. A birthday party for the girl was organized with Sosa as the only guest and the two are now married.

The two men have kept in touch over the years but until Sosa's return to BankBoston in 1995 their careers took separate paths. Sosa became a founding member of an innovative debt-trading team at Bankers Trust and stayed there for nine years.

"There was no screen, prices were what you said they were and we engaged in a complicated poker game," recalls Sosa.

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