A Brazilian banker and a businessman of Jewish origin who runs the Brazilian banking and investment empire, Safra Group.
The chairman of a number of family companies, like New York’s Safra National Bank, or Sao Paulo’s Banco Safra. Joseph Safra is ranked 68th in the Forbes list of billionaires with a wealth of $ 13.8 billion.
Joseph was born in Beirut. He was lucky to be born to a family widely known in banking circles.
The members of Safra family had been running a financial business for a long time then; the foundation of their capital was laid thanks to caravan routes tracks between Aleppo, Alexandria, and Constantinople back in the times of the Ottoman Empire. In 1952 Safras moved to Beirut; in 1955 Joseph’s brother and father, Edmond Safra and Jacob Sarfa, were actively involved in starting a new family company. Edmond, however, quickly left the family business and moved to New York where he founded Republic National Bank of New York; later he sold this bank to HSBC, having expedited most of the realized money to Edmonds Safra Foundation which he foud himself earlier.
Meanwhile, Joseph Safra kept on working in Brazil; in the 1960s he founded Banco Safra in Sao Paolo. The project turned out to be extremely successful – sufficient it is to mention that at certain point Banco Safra was one of six biggest banks in Brazil. Today Banco Safra is the ninth biggest bank in Brazil; however, Safra didn’t rest on his laurels – as early as November his creation spent around 1.1 billion to obtain control over the Swiss Bank Sarasin. One can safely suggest that this will not be the end, and the bank will continue to merge less successful players.
Joseph Safra is currently the chairman of the Safra Group; this company offers banking services throughout Europe and both Americas. Joseph has recently acquiered the remaining shares of Safra Group from his brother Moise Safra; though Fibria Cellulose Company is still owned by both brothers.
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