Centola Said to Lead UBS Investment Bank in Brazil

Eduardo Centola is joining UBS AG as head of investment banking in Brazil from Standard Bank Group Ltd., where he was chief executive officer for the Americas, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Standard Bank named Fernando Negri acting CEO in Brazil, the Johannesburg-based lender said today in a statement. Negri will retain his role as head of global markets for the Americas, the bank said. CDN, a Sao Paulo-based public relations firm for UBS, declined to comment for Switzerland’s biggest bank. The person with knowledge of Centola’s hiring declined to be identified because the appointment hasn’t been formally announced.

Centola, 42, joined Standard Bank in February 2009 from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., where he was co-head of the investment-banking team. He started at New York-based Goldman Sachs in 1999 as co-head of Latin America’s mergers and acquisitions unit and headed the mergers group for leveraged- buyout firms. Prior to Goldman Sachs, Centola was at Merrill Lynch & Co as co-head of M&A.

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, is rebuilding its investment bank in Brazil after selling its local Pactual unit in April last year for $2.5 billion, less than three years after buying the bank, to raise capital. UBS, the European bank with the highest losses from the credit crisis, will compete with firms including Banco BTG Pactual SA and Goldman Sachs, which are expanding in Brazil as growth in Latin America’s biggest economy fuels M&A and private-equity deals.

Foreign Investment

“I expect foreign investment banks to move more aggressively in Brazil now,” Alberto Kiraly, head of investment banking at Banco Votorantim SA, the financial-services unit of Grupo Votorantim, said today in a telephone interview from Sao Paulo.

UBS started a wealth-management unit in Brazil last month and in April acquired the Brazilian brokerage firm Link Investimentos to gain access to licenses for doing business in the country. Fernanda Pasquarelli, executive director of asset management at UBS in Brazil, said last month the bank is considering acquisitions.

UBS ranks 13th among underwriters of equity and equity- linked offerings by Brazilian companies this year, down from 10th last year and seventh in 2008, according to Bloomberg data.

Valor Economico, the Sao Paulo-based newspaper, reported earlier today Centola was hired by UBS to run its Brazil unit, citing unnamed people in the banking industry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adriana Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro at abrasileiro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Helder Marinho in Sao Paulo at hmarinho@bloomberg.net

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