Conquering Global Finance with ‘Ethos’
When the world was struggling to deal with the pandemic, Carlos Santos’ team at Ethos Asset Management was burning the midnight oil.
They created a totally new and innovative way to secure their assets and to rebalance their portfolio that is 100 % scalable to any country and any bank. The structure in question decentralised the intervention of the banks and put the transaction at a pure commercial relationship level.
“Our team has never worked harder! The pandemic allowed us to save time in flights, traffic and fixed costs, while attending more meetings than ever. We used this time to restructure our entire Group and we realised our best performance during these months in our entire history,” says a visibly proud Carlos, who firmly believes that ‘problems bring solutions’.
Carlos is the Founder-CEO of the US based Ethos Asset Management, a full service project financing firm with Global reach in resource mobilisation. They finance government and privately promoted projects in every continent and every sector.
Speaking about the success that Ethos has achieved in more than 70 countries, Carlos says, “At Ethos, we create value for all shareholders and stakeholders. We only invest if people benefit, and we add value to communities globally. Infrastructure and education are two key sectors that fit our project financing model for long term sustainability. We invest to develop society and economies, and generate projects and subsequent growth.”
Carlos is driven by the passion to influence people’s lives. He opines nothing is better than seeing the face of people when their projects materialise, or witness them leave a problematic life situation just because he believes in them. “The closing of a deal is something that has no possible explanation for the feeling. It is a demonstration and materialisation of the compensation for the work you do. This is what makes me wake up every day,” he adds.
Carlos was born in an upper middle-class family in Portugal; his mother is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and his father is a successful businessman in the automobile industry. He found early inspiration in his father, who is good at managing money, but even better at managing people.
After completing his schooling, Carlos opted to study Economics at Lisbon University, where he was the ‘Top Student’ awardee from 2012-14. While pursuing his Masters, he also began to take classes at the University and created his first private company, wherein he made his first million. In 2015 however, he lost everything when he made wrong investments and was subject to many scams.
With his trademark resilience, dedication and hard work, he soon recovered and continued in the same line till opportunities came knocking again. “The craziest thing is I know that even if I lose 200 times, I will try again at 201,” says Carlos without hesitation.
As someone who advises leading financial institutions today, how did Carlos map his recovery? He says his first goal was trying to guarantee that you could model the financial markets without losses through his proprietary algorithm, which alerts in line with ‘enter and exit positions’ in the commodities, currency, bonds, futures and share markets.
He then started allocating part of the trading profits to project financing for long term investments with fixed returns. His aim was to bring capital to sectors overlooked by other financial entities. For instance, why would someone not invest in South Africa, Laos, Swaziland or Brazil? He concurred that the macroeconomic and operational risk related to such entities was the reason.
“The financial instrument issued by a bank allows the seller to migrate the risk to the financial market. This allowed us to have a net asset discounted to the present value of the financing to not need to be 100% of the investment, which was an innovative factor,” says Carlos, adding that he is diligent about being well informed in the global market.
Young and imposing, Carlos’ emerging stock in international finance has seen him bestowed with prestigious honours such as Banco de Portugal 2015; Portugal Best Economist 2016; E&Y Award 2018; Africa Dubai Honours Award for Excellence and Leadership Prowess 2021; and Best Professor 2019/2020.
He counts teaching among his most proud achievements. “I had the honour and pleasure to have the rule of Professor at Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG) of University of Lisbon where I lecture Microeconomics I and II, Macroeconomics I and II, Evaluation Projects, Corporate Finance and Seminary,” says the versatile Carlos Santos.