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|Type||Privately held company|
|Founded||Mid 19th Century|
|Headquarters||São Paulo, Brazil|
|Key people||Joseph Safra, (Chairman)|
The Safra Group is an international network of companies controlled by the Joseph Safra family, comprising banking and financial institutions, industrial operations, real estate and agribusiness. It is present in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean.
During the 19th century and after the Napoleonic military campaigns, the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the economies of Europe, the Mediterranean and North America were felt. Thanks to major inventions like the steam engine and electricity and the arrival of the so-called first wave of globalization, trade grew exponentially to a level proportionally comparable to that of the 1980s. Financing for this newly intense commercial movement came from rising innovative bankers, among them the Safra family. Beginning a lineage of financiers and laying the foundation for modern banking based on improved information and the growing demand for interurban trade, the Safras exchanged merchandise among major cities, often between Paris, Nice, Marseille, Madrid, Barcelona, Naples, Trieste, Genoa or Venice and Alexandria, Athens, Istanbul, Beirut, Damascus and Aleppo (a major trade center at the time located in Syria). It was there in Aleppo that merchants and goods from the East and West converged. Aleppo was also home to the Safra family, who, with their talent in finance, traded and exchanged contemporary currencies from Europe, Asia and Africa--including the Ottoman Empire’s “para”, the Venice’s “zecchini”, the Maria Theresa’s "thaler" as well as gold and silver bullion, for which they were most known. Jacob Safra, the patriarch, was said to have calculated the conversion of several currencies and their financing costs in his head, swiftly and accurately.
In the early nineteenth century, Safra Frères et Cie., the family's first financial institution, was founded. The financiers earned prestige throughout the Middle East building a reputation based on well-managed and long-term conservative investments. Further economic expansions prompted the family to open new branches in Beirut, followed by Istanbul and Alexandria. In the early 1900s, Beirut, being the most prominent city in the Middle East in finance, was chosen as headquarters of the newly founded Bank Jacob Safra. Following the end of World War II, Jacob Safra expanded the new banking activities toward Europe and later to Latin America and the United States. The Safras kept the tradition; in continuing longstanding relationships with a community of clients, they gained prominence for their expertise in banking and for actively and effectively financing trade.
Today, several of them keep this ancestral tradition in diverse economic areas throughout the countries where the group is present.[clarification needed]
Each bank has its own slogan in its local language for marketing purposes. They all involve security and solidity. However, the Safra Group general slogan is present in every Safra Company and has been kept graven in stone for over a century. Composed of a quote from the patriarch Jacob Safra that underlines the group's long term strategy, it reads:
If you choose to sail upon the seas of banking,
build your bank as you would your boat,
with the strength to sail safely through any storm.
Safra National Bank of New York is among the leading New York-area banks (based on its holding company assets). Nationally recognized as one of the United States’s banks, Safra National Bank of New York has a core business of private banking. It has branches in and around New York and in Florida, as well as representative offices in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Offering face-to-face service and customer-oriented business methods, Safra National Bank of New York serves a select group of high-net-worth individuals, large corporations and multinational companies. As a complement to its core business, the bank also offers securities trading through its independent registered broker-dealer, Safra Securities Corp.; global securities trading capabilities through its investment division; international correspondent banking services, and international trade finance. The bank is a member of both the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Safra Securities Corp. is a member of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD).
Within the United States, the privately owned Safra National Bank of New York serves high-net-worth individuals, local businesses, and international corporations through branches in New York and Miami. It offers CDs, investment funds, money market instruments, and alternative investments. In addition to wealth management, the bank also performs brokerage services, bond trading, and correspondent banking. Safra National Bank is owned by the Safra family, noted benefactors of hospitals, synagogues, and universities in the US and abroad.
Bank Jacob Safra - Switzerland is an independent Swiss Bank headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Jacob Safra Bank has branches in Geneva and Zürich and subsidiaries in Lugano and Monaco. Jacob Safra Bank serves clients with the advantages of the local business environment and a safe port for investment, given the country's rigorous supervision of capital adequacy and strict banking secrecy laws. Bank Jacob Safra Switzerland's flagship product is its account officers--comprising a team of multilingual, highly experienced professionals who are picked from the top of their respective financial segments. These officers, as extensions of Bank Jacob Safra Switzerland's philosophy to manage assets both successfully and conservatively, cover all investment areas, and meet the needs of the Bank's diverse client base.
Safra Asset Management Corporation in New York provides discretionary management and advisory services to institutional and private clients with respect to portfolios of hedge funds. It is the combination of the key members of Safra's hedge fund of funds team and the Fund of Hedge Funds efforts of Alpha Investment Management, which had been exclusively committed to the hedge fund business since 1988. Safra Asset Management acquired the majority of the fund of hedge fund assets of Alpha Investment Management in August 2004. The Safra Group has significant principal capital invested in hedge funds, expertise and proven experience in the US, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Safra is dedicated to growing the business, as shown by their significant capital commitment.
Banque Safra-Luxembourg S.A. is an independent European banking institution. The bank’s activities are focused on private and commercial banking, offering a sophisticated array of products and a highly personalized approach to meet its clients’ needs. Employing a sound knowledge of banking expertise, discretion and confidentiality, Banque Safra-Luxembourg attends its customers worldwide by developing successful financial strategies that are catered to its clients’ specific objectives and investment profiles. The bank is a member of the AGDL, a non-profit association that insures deposits made by small businesses and individuals, regardless of their nationality or country of residence.
Banque Safra-France S.A. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Banque Safra-Luxembourg S.A. It is incorporated and operates under French laws and regulations. Like its parent company, the French subsidiary focuses on private and commercial banking, offering local and international services.
Banco Safra S.A. is an important and respected player in the Brazilian and international banking sector, ranking among the country’s ten largest private sector financial institutions in terms of total assets. A full-service commercial bank, Banco Safra S.A. operates in all areas of the financial sector. Through its major Brazilian subsidiaries, Banco Safra de Investimento S.A., Safra Leasing S.A. Arrendamento Mercantil, Safra Seguros Gerais S.A., Safra Vida e Previdência S.A., Safra Distribuidora de Títulos e Valores Mobiliários and Safra Corretora de Valores e Câmbio Ltda., the bank’s activities extend to leasing, securities underwriting, investment fund management, brokerage, insurance and credit operations. The bank is a player in trade finance, asset management and treasury operations.
Banco Safra (Cayman Islands) Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Safra S.A., incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Known as Safra Cayman, the institution provides trade-financing services to its clients and correspondent banks, as well as other branches and divisions within the Safra Group. It also offers a broad range of commercial and financial services, especially in the trade finance area.
Safra International Bank and Trust Ltd., a bank incorporated under laws of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, focuses on asset management and advisory services, also providing assistance with treasury operations and portfolio management for its clients. Since 1994, Safra International Bank has been the Group’s principal vehicle for treasury transactions in international markets.
- Banco Safra, 2004 Annual Report
- Safra National Bank of New York, 2005 Annual Report
- Safra Group, 2005 Annual Report
- Safra Sarasin Press Release
- Safra Family Companies Assets, June 2005
- Safra Family Companies Shareholders Equity, June 2005