Josep Santacana, the former head of European rates trading at RBC Capital Markets was ahead of the curve. In 2015, just before the current trend of senior bankers quitting for fintech, he left his investment banking career to invest in online and mobile start-ups. Now, however, he's returned to the financial sector, as a managing partner at a venture capital firm in Barcelona.
Santacana joined Nekko Capital, a VC firm that invests in start-ups across Europe and Asia this month. Nekko has a small team of senior partners based out of offices in London, Barcelona, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and Asia. It offers cash and capital to start-ups, as well as advisory services.
Santacana is the only senior team member with a deep background in investment banking. He built RBC Capital Market's Euro rates trading team during the three years he led the division in London from 2010-2013. Before this, he was head of Euro rates trading at Credit Agricole, a role he held from 2005-2010, having joined from J.P. Morgan where he worked as a government bond trader for three years.
However, his last job was as deputy head of rates at Commerzbank, a role that ended after the German bank decided to move its
This year, senior investment bankers who have amassed plenty of capital from years of big bonuses are increasingly setting themselves up as an investors in fintech or high-growth technology firms. Gaël de Boissard, the ex-co-head of Credit Suisse's investment bank in EMEA, and Henry Ritchotte the former COO at Deutsche Bank, have just invested in a new artificial intelligence start-up. Rashid Hoosenally, the former global head of FICC structuring at Deutsche Bank, is now putting money behind early-stage fintech start-ups.
Increasingly, investment bankers who made it to the senior ranks during the pre-crisis hay-days are using their personal capital to invest in high-growth companies. Santacana left banking ahead of the current craze for senior traders and investment bankers to get involved with fintech firms, but the appetite among former MDs for investing in start-ups is growing.
Deutsche's Hoosenally told us previously that this is because the entrepreneurial spirit in banking has faded. “When I joined Deutsche Bank we were literally building an investment bank from scratch – that opportunity will never be there again. The whole environment was incredibly entrepreneurial, ambitious and open to possibilities. Investment banks are not like that now – that attitude has shifted towards fintech,” he said.
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