Interview with Carlos Santos: President, CEO and Founder of Ethos Asset Management

Carlos Santos

An exclusive interview with Carlos Santos – President, CEO and Founder of Ethos Asset Management, a project financing firm

It is with great pleasure that we introduce Carlos Santos, a visionary leader and the President, CEO, and Founder of Ethos Asset Management. As a pioneering force in the field of project financing, Mr. Santos has dedicated himself to reshaping the landscape of investment and sustainability.

Under his guidance, Ethos Asset Management has emerged as a trailblazer, revolutionizing how projects are funded and executed, while simultaneously advancing the principles of environmental and social responsibility.

In this exclusive interview, we have the privilege of delving into Mr. Santos’ remarkable journey, the ethos behind Ethos Asset Management, and the transformative impact it has had on the world of project finance. Join us as we explore the future of finance and responsible investment through the eyes of a true industry innovator.

Kindly brief us about the background and inception of Ethos Asset Management. Share anecdotes, if any?

Carlos Santos: In 2012, Ethos was created based on my academic background. I’m graduated in Economics, Masters in Finance, Accounting for Banking and International Taxation. After that with four post graduations in the same fields and my last specification in Financial Instruments.

At the time, when I finished to graduate in Economics I started to lecture as Professor at the University and there I developed an algorithm of trading securities. The technology is plugin to a brokerage account and gives alters of entrances and exit at the market.

The algorithm, which maneuvers and alerts in line with ‘enter and exit positions’ in the commodities, currency, bonds, futures and share markets, both in domestic and international markets. Using a risk-modulated aggressive strategy, its spread and accumulate profit through compounding.

From there until 2018 we were giving the technology to lease to major investment firm/ banks. They were paying us a royalty/ fee that was a percentage of the Assets Under Management under the accounts where this firms plugin our technology.

After that at December 2018, one of the largest investment banks tried to purchase the technology but after we rejected and a couple of similar other approaches in 2019 we stopped to lease it and we only move using ourselves the technology in our brokerage accounts.

Since the beginning we looked to our asset portfolio and we tried to understand what would be the efficient profile. After calculations we understood that the trading side could not pass the 80 % of the total assets and that 20 % should be invested in a long term investment.

The project finance came exactly with that intention. To rebalance and hedge the asset allocation and the shot term, high frequency and variable return of the trading.

Today Ethos is a debt financing, with uniquely favourable terms, designed to allow select companies with impactful projects to invest in themselves and fuel their future success.

What has been your USP? How are you different from other project financing entities?

Carlos Santos: The majority of debt financiers such as banks provide autonomy to clients that means that they don’t take control of the client shares or operational control. On the other side debt financiers provides conditions such as interest rate, grace period and maturity that are not very favourable.

The private investment firms such as private equities, venture capital, family offices and others are able to provide more competitive conditions such as lower interest rate and longer grace periods and maturities. But as a reverse they seek to take control of the entities where they invest via shares and operational intervention.

At Ethos, being a private debt finance that invest its own funds, we are able to provide autonomy to our clients together with better conditions such as lower interest rate and longer grace periods and maturities.

What has been the growth rate of your company on a YoY basis?

Carlos Santos: We experience a significant growth rate every year. As a return of our project finance activities we are at 12,77 % of return. Nevertheless, the amount of project finance invested is growing everyday around the world following a constant maintenance of our return in trading. That resulted in have an increase of more then 149,77 % our turnover.

How soon do you expect to kickstart a project in India and which sector will see the first investment happening?

Carlos Santos: We expect start by the beginning on October two investments in Construction industry, one investment of 10 M USD and another one of 12 M USD.

How big is your team globally and what is your recruitment model?

Carlos Santos: We have 141 employees worldwide and our recruitment process varies depending on the role to be filled. Normally, our HR Department liaises with a third party provider who supplies us with options aligned with our needs and specific requests. 

Our internal team creates a long list first of the best options which is then reduced to a final shortlist of the best five candidates who are invited to a selection process and formal interview with two members of the board. From these five, two are selected to meet with the CEO.

The CEO provides his opinion about the two candidates and the final selection is made by the board based on the reports and feedback collected since the beginning of the process.

Why is your focus solely on debt financing? Can you explain the rationale behind this decision?

Carlos Santos: As you are aware equity is consider a more risky investment then debt because the investment is subsidiary to be paid by board decision and it is only remunerated after the creditors.

A Creditor is paid with priority and not dependent of a subjective decision.

That reduces the operational risk of our investment and the guarantees our rights of return.

At the same time the debt investment works for us as a fixed long term return that an equity investment could not assumes that as the first intent of rebalance our trading investment portfolio.

Can you name 2-3 sectors in India that can contribute majorly to the GDP with right funding accessibility? Why debt financing could be the right choice to move ahead?

Carlos Santos: Infrastructure, energy and agribusiness are three major sectors for us in India and that n fact appear on the five most relevant of India GDP.

The debt finance is the right structure because we allow the promoters to have autonomy and retain the valued added by their projects to the country and its community aligned that with the remuneration of our capital.

You are in your late 20s and already own a multi-billion-dollar company, can you share your success mantra?

Carlos Santos: Hard work; Persistence, Late Nights; Rejections; Sacrifices; Discipline, Criticism. Doubts, Failure, Risks, and Humility. You shall believe in yourselves and your vision, even when someone tells you the task is impossible.

Always give 200%. When you doubt yourself, reflect on how far you have come and always try again. When you lose, don’t let your head or heart go down. Commit yourself to not repeating such a loss and know that you are one step ahead of those who haven’t failed yet. They will too.

Are you an Entrepreneur or Startup?
Do you have a Success Story to Share?
SugerMint would like to share your success story.
We cover entrepreneur Stories, Startup News, Women entrepreneur stories, and Startup stories

Read more Success stories of Indian entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurs & startups stories at SugerMint. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn