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The difference that makes all the difference

January 2024

In 2007, Corrado Varoli, an Italian Canadian investment banker with over 20 years of experience at the time, having served as head to some of Latin America’s leading Wall Street banks, announced his decision to move to Sao Paulo and start his own financial advisory firm: G5 Partners. 

Corrado had a close relationship with some of Brazil’s leading companies and family groups, resulting from several years of executing local mergers, acquisition and financial restructuring transactions. Even so, the news of his decision to move to Brazil and provide independent advisory services aroused great interest in the financial community and reinforced the perception that Brazil had finally become one of the most dynamic and attractive financial markets on the planet. 

But the biggest surprise came from Corrado’s choice of the people with whom he would share this endeavor: Renato Klarnet and Marcelo Lajchter. In a market still accustomed to single-product advisory boutiques and ultra-specialized asset managers, the common thought was that Corrado would seek partnerships with other investment bankers who, like him, were specialists in mergers and acquisitions. But that was not what he had in mind. Corrado had a different outlook for G5 and this made him particularly careful in choosing his future partners. 

Renato Klarnet, an economist from PUC-Rio de Janeiro, at the time G5 was founded, had 15 years of experience working from New York as equities trading head of banks such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. In both firms, Renato had worked with Corrado, who recognized in him the rare combination of technical excellence, business common sense and great people skills. 

Marcelo Lajchter, a lawyer from Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro – UERJ, had been working for several years as a partner in one of the most renowned law firms in the country: Barbosa, Müssnich & Aragão. There, this charming and outgoing carioca type had developed a solid reputation for working in complex financial restructuring transactions, often alongside Varoli and Goldman Sachs. 

But the association between a white-shoe-banker engineer, a capital markets economist, and a lawyer with a vocation to rescue drowning businessmen would only begin to make sense for the market when Corrado, Renato, and Marcelo began executing the strategy they envisioned for G5 Partners. The first step was to attract new talent for the team. Once again, the rationale used was to strengthen G5 with individuals who brought complementary skills and relevant professional experiences to the table. As a common ground, these individuals should only share the same values and ethical work principles advocated by the three founding partners. 

Even today, “differences” are not only valued but also strongly stimulated at G5. To a large extent, this is its greatest competitive differential. And that’s how G5 attracted Francisco Gros – with his vast experience in the national public and private sectors – and André Benchimol – a wealth management specialist wits a solid career in serving wealthy Brazilian family groups, to complete G5’s initial structure, or the “Group of 5”. 

Unlike financial boutiques that rely on a single-product strategy, the purpose behind G5 is to address all its clients’ priorities, whether they are business owners, executives, board members, investors or family leaders. To make this possible, all its professionals are encouraged to go beyond their areas of expertise, constantly seeking to develop knowledge on other topics of relevant interest. 

Additionally, the fact that G5 Partners acts fully independently allows it to adopt a conflict-free approach, which often exists in larger and diversified banking institutions. 

The company’s golden rule has remained the same since its foundation: any new relationship begins by seeking to identify the immediate priority or problem the client needs to address. At G5, the agenda is defined by the client and not according the adviser’s convenience. From this point, dedication, competence and commitment to our clients’ success conspires in a virtuous cycle that perpetuates and strengthens all our relationships. 

G5 Partners now has a team of over 80 “multi-faceted” professionals serving an increasingly diverse client base, comprised of domestic and multinational companies, family-owned companies and investors in general. Likewise, the company has been notably successful in executing the most varied and complex situations, always aligned and seeking the clients’ best interests. 

Twelve years have passed since Varoli, Lajchter, and Klarnet founded G5 Partners; the company has grown and diversified. In particular, the M&A and financial restructuring advisory business has allowed the company to consolidate its position as the leading independent advisor in the Brazilian market over the past four years. Whether for its execution of mergers, acquisitions or financial restructuring transactions, preparing companies for an IPO, structuring innovative financial products or managing over R$ 15 billion in third-party resources, G5 is currently the most complete, admired and respected independent financial services boutique in Brazil. 

As it turns out, the culture of valuing differences has indeed made all the difference. And that’s just the beginning. 

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