Until 2012, Alessandro Butini was Chris Hohn’s right-hand man at the Children’s Investment Fund Management as a partner and senior trader generating ideas and “trading colours” for the founding partner and the hedge fund’s research team. Now, when he thinks of colours it’s for an entirely different reason – interior design for the sort of high-net-worth individuals who want to deck out their luxury historical homes or yachts.
Earlier this year the Italian, who had been working in finance since starting as a junior salesman role at Salomon Smith Barney in London in 1998, joined at Intarya, an interior design company that focuses on the luxury end of the market. He won’t actually be doing the designing, however, but is head of acquisitions and business development – finding buildings that can be redeveloped by the design team (and then sold on), and adding clients who want to spruce up their houses, yachts or private jets.
“We need to be opportunistic in life,” he tells us. “I found a way of re-using my skills in an industry that is completely different. I hope I will have the opportunity of growing, learning and becoming successful in my new role. I do not envisage going back to finance anytime soon.”
This is not Butini’s first vocation since leaving TCI. From 2012, he was involved with a project to try and create a Major League Soccer team in Miami, partnering with the University of Miami to try drum up $85m for a stadium to house up to 20,000 fans. However, he was eventually competing with the star power of David Beckham, who’s proposing ‘Miami Beckham United’ and has even hinted that he might be the first ever ‘player-owner’. Butini’s decided to call it a day on this project.
Understandably, perhaps, financial services no longer feels like such an attractive career option, but Butini admits that he’s become a little disillusioned. “I left because of a lack of motivation and excitement in an industry that grew too much too fast, and it is now coping with the aftermath of a strong earthquake,” he says.
Before joining TCI he spent over eight years working at Morgan Stanley in various trading roles in both equities and equity derivatives in London, New York and Milan. While any plans to go back into either banking or hedge funds are on hold, Butini says that the skills he acquired in his finance career have helped in his current vocation.
“Extreme attention to detail, quick, analytical decision-making, build out processes that can help leverage the business and team-playing” are all necessary in his current role, he says.