| SAO PAULO, March 11
SAO PAULO, March 11 Moelis & Co LLC ,
the financial firm founded by banker Ken Moelis, opened an
office in Brazil on Tuesday, the latest move by an independent
investment bank into the merger and acquisitions business in
Latin America's biggest economy.
Moelis & Co, which in recent days filed for an initial
public offering in the United States, hired Otávio Guazzelli,
Jório Salgado Gama and Erick Alberti from local investment
banking shop BR Partners Banco do Investimento to start
operations in Brazil, according to a statement.
Guazzelli and Salgado, who were also dealmakers working for
Citigroup Inc prior to their stint at BR Partners, will
co-manage Moelis & Co's Brazilian unit, the statement added. The
office will be based in São Paulo, Brazil's financial hub.
The announcement came about a week after the New York-based
firm filed for an IPO in the United States, with M&A activity
having the strongest start to the year since at least 2007,
according to Thomson Reuters data.
By establishing a foothold in Brazil, Moelis & Co will seek
to take advantage of global interest for cross-border deals in a
market with about 200 million consumers.
"Clients are increasingly looking for more global
connectivity in financial advisory services. That is why our
presence in Brazil is complementary to our global reach," Chief
Executive Officer Ken Moelis was quoted in the statement as
The move comes as independent investment banks including New
York-based Greenhill & Co ramp up their presence in
Brazil, taking advantage of a pullback by some of the world's
largest investment banks after four years of soft economic
growth led to a weaker-than-expected flows of deals.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc cut its roster of investment
bankers in Brazil to about 20 from 45 a year ago, while Barclays
Plc and Deutsche Bank AG reduced its
research, sales and trading staff as competition mounted and
business faltered, sources told Reuters.
UBS AG, which Moelis left seven years ago to found
his firm, plans to give up one floor of its office space in Sao
Paulo's upscale Faria Lima financial district.
Some of Moelis & Co's rivals, including Evercore Partners
Inc. and Robert Greenhill's Greenhill & Co., conducted share
offerings and have operations in Brazil. Moelis & Co has about
600 employees globally.