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Opinion

UBS can manage Esteves blow

The departure of Andre Esteves from UBS need not be a big setback for the Swiss bank’s fortunes in Brazil.

The news that Andre Esteves has left UBS, where he was chief executive of Latin America, to set up his own investment fund did not come as a shock. Esteves is an entrepreneur who had become a billionaire before his 40th birthday. He and a handful of others built a successful boutique, Banco Pactual, which they then sold for a fortune to the Swiss bank. And although at one point he was even seen as a potential head of UBS, he is leaving after only 18 months.

The only surprise to his departure was the timing. Just one month earlier, in May, UBS announced that Esteves had relinquished his other role as global head of fixed income, currencies and commodities to concentrate on the bank’s Latin business, specifically Brazil, full time.

It seems strange that Esteves did not resign from the bank then. Resolving complicated contractual negotiations is the most probable reason, although there has been no official explanation from either party. What is clear is that Esteves still has big ambitions. It is thought that late last year and earlier this, he raised the possibility of buying a significant stake in the Swiss bank or even buying it out.

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