Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is cutting at least three banker jobs at its wealth-management business in Brazil as part of a restructuring, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
At least two other bankers will be transferred from Sao Paulo to Miami, said the people, who asked not to be named because the changes aren’t public. The division had about 20 employees before the moves.
“We are discontinuing selling local Brazilian products to Brazilian individual investors,” said Michael DuVally, a spokesman for New York-based Goldman Sachs. The company decided “to focus its private banking business in Brazil on selling international products, in which we have a bigger competitive advantage.”
DuVally declined to comment on any job cuts. Goldman Sachs has about 300 workers in Brazil, he said.
Brazil’s biggest retail banks are taking affluent clients from traditional wealth managers by offering low-risk bonds with high returns. Local lenders are the main issuers of the tax-free securities, which are linked to agribusiness loans and mortgages.
The securities, which mostly carry floating interest rates, represented 22 percent of the 666.5 billion reais ($215.2 billion) in assets under management for Brazil’s private banking industry as of March, according to the capital markets association, called Anbima. That was up from 13 percent in January 2013.
Goldman Sachs’s Brazilian unit returned to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2013 as the departure of several managing directors helped cut costs and fixed-income gains offset an investment-banking revenue drop, Paulo Leme, chief executive officer for Brazil, said in September. He didn’t say how long the company had been losing money in the country.
At least nine managing directors left in 2013 after the bank halted its growth plans when the economy expanded less than analysts estimated, people familiar with the matter said at the time. The company cut its employees in investment banking to 25 from 45, the people said.
Brazil’s economy this year may have its worst contraction in a quarter century, estimates compiled by Bloomberg show.