Jim Esposito: Steady under fire

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By:
Louise Bowman
Published on:

As part of Euromoney's 50th anniversary coverage, we profile some of the biggest names that we interviewed for our April capital markets focus.

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IN ADDITION        


Jim Esposito is the global co-head of securities at Goldman Sachs. During 23 years in the capital markets, Esposito has gone from emerging market fixed income sales to new issue debt syndicate to capital markets to global securities. He was named managing director in 2002 and partner in 2006.

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Jim Esposito, Goldman Sachs

He spent the first decade of his career structuring complex deals for EM clients – such as future flow receivables trades for double-A rated oil companies. This gave him an excellent grounding for the challenges that were to come.

“I started my career in financial markets working in emerging market debt,” he tells Euromoney. “This was a fantastic learning ground for experiencing a unique combination of complexity and volatility.”

Esposito was at Goldman and working for Lloyd Blankfein during both the Russia crisis in 1998 and the financial crisis in 2007. These experiences have informed his leadership style and illustrated how to cope gracefully under pressure. They have also shown that even when it appears that a market is over and never coming back, the resilience of the capital markets shouldn’t be underestimated.

The emergence of century bonds demonstrates this: to see formerly bankrupt restructured credits having access out to 100 years speaks volumes about how deep the markets are today.

“My emerging market journey took me from working on the first ever Brady Bond exchange for Mexico to 15 years later assisting Mexico in placing a 100-year global bond,” he recalls. “It was an honour and a privilege to support Mexico across the entire spectrum of capital market activity.”

Crisis

Esposito was head of syndicate and debt financing at Goldman in London when the crisis first hit.

“Sound advice and a solution-based approach are more important than ever before,” he told Euromoney in June 2008. “Credit markets are challenging and volatile. You need much more than just liquidity to navigate safely through these markets.”

Goldman appointed Esposito as global head of investment-grade financing, a new role incorporating both the syndicate and origination businesses, in the same year.

Esposito’s successful career in banking was something of a given: his father Michael became CFO of Chase Manhattan Bank in 1986, his brother Mike was made chairman of Goldman’s financial institutions group in January 2017 and another brother John is global co-head of FIG at Morgan Stanley. This must make for some healthy competition: Morgan Stanley was named the world’s best bank for FIG in Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence last year.