BTG Cuts 305 Brazil Workers; NYC Also Said to Be Affected

  • Sao Paulo-based firm has 5,378 employees, with 1,653 in Brazil
  • Plan to reduce bank's workforce targets 25% cost reduction

Grupo BTG Pactual SA, the Brazilian investment bank that sought rescue financing last month after the arrest of its founder, cut 305 people from its workforce of 1,653 in Brazil.

The move was aimed at reducing expenses by 25 percent, Sao Paulo-based BTG said Thursday in a statement. None of the firm’s business lines have been eliminated, according to the statement.

Job cuts also affected BTG’s New York office, a person familiar with the matter said. No partners or senior executives were let go and the moves didn’t affect any other Latin American countries, the Swiss wealth-management business, commodities or the London office, according to the person, who asked not to be identified without authorization to speak publicly.

Workers needed to be eliminated to keep the bank profitable as Brazil’s economy slows and after the arrest in November of then-Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Andre Esteves in connection with a nationwide corruption scandal, the person said.

BTG also has been selling assets and secured a credit line from Brazil’s deposit-insurance fund, known as FGC, to shore-up cash. Esteves, who was moved to house arrest from jail in December, has denied any wrongdoing through his lawyers. BTG has said it isn’t part of the investigation.

BTG had a total of 5,378 employees as of December, according to its unaudited financial statements.

Keeping Businesses

The firm intends to keep key businesses that are among its most profitable, its new chairman, Persio Arida, said this month in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. That includes commodities, asset and wealth management, investment banking, sales and trading, and brokerage operations.

BTG is in talks to sell the Swiss wealth-management business BSI to EFG International AG, a person with knowledge of the matter said this month.

“The situation has stabilized, but we want to be in a very comfortable position as it takes some time to recover the confidence levels counterparties previously had,” Arida said in Davos.

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