Ex-Nomura Traders Create U.S. Family Office for Rich Brazilians
(Bloomberg) -- Two former trading executives at Nomura Holdings Inc.’s securities unit formed a U.S. multifamily office to help rich Brazilians invest their wealth.
Guilherme Decca, a former managing director in the Japanese firm’s proprietary-trading, emerging-markets and foreign-exchange businesses, and Andre Ikeda, also a former trader at Nomura, founded VO2 Capital last year, but got sidetracked by the pandemic.
“We started with three families, opened VO2 Capital in January 2020, and then Covid came,” Decca, the firm’s chief executive officer, said in a video interview from Connecticut. It was only last month that Decca first had the opportunity to go to Sao Paulo for an official launch, he said.
VO2 has some unusual practices for a multifamily office serving Brazilians. It buys global securities directly for clients’ accounts, helping them escape fund-management fees. And it invests alongside clients in real estate and private equity in the U.S., earning the so-called co-investment premium, in which VO2 receives a piece of the stake purchased by the customer and only benefits if the investment gains.
The firm even invested in a U.K. soccer team, Wakefield AFC, but doesn’t yet allow clients to take stakes.
“I’ve been absolutely crazy about soccer since I was a kid, but after doing a lot of due diligence, I know it’s usually not a good investment,” Decca said. Many Brazilian clients share the same passion, but Decca said he wants to see some results from Wakefield before allowing them to join in the investment.
Brazil’s local private-banking industry has been gaining assets this year, with the total under management climbing 8.8% from December, to 1.77 trillion reais ($341 billion) as of July, according to Anbima, the capital-markets association.
VO2 has about 800 million reais under management from about nine families, and expects to add 400 million reais through the end of this year, Decca said. In real estate, it operates in partnership with Crescent Sky Capital, which was founded by Nomura veteran Charlie Spero. VO2 has purchased $36 million in properties in the U.S. and aims to end 2021 with about $60 million.
“We can advise on an apartment in New York or a house in Miami, but our strategy is a long-term rent approach to beat inflation,” he said. “So we try to invest in regions we consider to be more resilient to recessions, that have many universities, government workers, hospitals,” he said, pointing to Texas and north Florida as examples.
Based in Connecticut, VO2 has an office in Sao Paulo and is considering opening another in Palm Beach, Florida.
The plan is to serve no more than 25 families, mostly from Sao Paulo, and to focus on investments on the U.S.
“Having been here for more than 10 years, I have access to a lot of good investment opportunities that come from our network of relationships,” Decca said.
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