Banco Safra creates proprietary alternative investments division

SAO PAULO, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Brazil’s fourth-biggest private-sector lender Banco Safra SA has created a new division to manage alternative proprietary investments, the bank confirmed on Friday.

Safra hired Andre Laloni, former director at development bank BNDES and former chief financial officer at state lender Caixa Economica Federal as the head of the new division, a Safra press representative said.

Two sources with knowledge of the matter said the proprietary alternative investment division will look for private equity deals and other illiquid investments, including illiquid debt and special situations. The bank also will look for real estate deals. The new division may have up to 10 employees.

Safra’s move into riskier assets comes as Brazil’s benchmark interest rate reaches the all-time low of 4.25% and investors switch from government bonds to stocks and other higher-return assets.

Lebanese-Brazilian banker Joseph Safra, who owns Banco Safra in Brazil and J. Safra Sarasin AG in Switzerland, is the world’s 31st richest person, with a $25.9 billion fortune, according to Forbes Magazine.

The new proprietary investment division will be overseen by David Safra, Joseph Safra’s youngest son. The Brazilian bank is currently headed by Alberto Corsetti. (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer and Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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