Commentary

Joanna Fields
Traders Magazine Online News

Navigating Cybersecurity on a Stretch of "Regulatory Rapids"

In this shared commentary, Aplomb Strategies writes that when considering a firm’s governance structure, a holistic approach makes the most sense.

Traders Poll

Would you feel better if the Chicago Stock Exchange were purchased by U.S. firm or consortium rather than a foreign one?

Yes

73%

No

4%

Doesn't matter to me

23%

Free Site Registration

June 1, 2012

Made in America

Trader Rebuilds Life and Business in U.S.

By Michael Scotti

Also in this article

Sometimes the worst situations can create an opportunity. For former trader Victor Rodriguez, his kidnapping 14 years ago in his native Venezuela caused him to flee and migrate to the United States.

"I came to this country with no English, no money and no network, but I was ready for the American dream," said the 41-year-old Rodriguez, who owned a small institutional brokerage firm in Venezuela. His firm there, which grew to 35 employees, traded for institutional clients in Venezuela and for U.S. broker-dealers.

As difficult as it might have been to leave his country and thriving business behind, he says it was an easy decision because he feared for his safety.

Victor Rodriguez

Today, Rodriguez is chief executive and president of LatAm Alternatives, a year-old firm that distributes U.S. hedge funds to investors in Latin America. His firm has seven salespeople in Latin America. It is among the largest third-party distributors of U.S. hedge funds in the region.

Even as a startup, business is good. The firm is profitable. But he predicts better times. "There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in this region," Rodriguez said. That is not just for hedge fund distribution. He sees new business possibilities for U.S. trading houses and service providers, as well.

Rodriguez backed up his belief with action. At the Florida Security Traders Association annual meeting in February, he helped plan an expanded program that included sessions on Latin American trading. Representatives attended from major Latin American broker-dealers, who came at Rodriguez's behest. Rodriguez sits on the Florida STA chapter board.

Rodriguez notes the potential of Latin America, using pension funds in Peru as an example. Assets under management there total $30 billion, but that is expected to double in the next two to three years, he said. Right now, Peruvian pension funds can't invest in hedge funds. But that law is about to change, which should open up new business opportunities. "There is this huge amount of liquidity there," he said.

Rising interest in Latin America also can be seen in a shift in international travel. He referred to a recent statistic showing that Miami International now has more international flights than New York's JFK airport. Most of those Miami flights are bound for Latin America, he said.

Selling in Latin America is Rodriguez's specialty. When he arrived in the U.S., he ran the educational unit in Latin America for a day trading firm. The firm, Pristine.com, would become the largest retail distributor of RealTick in the region. "Education is important because it allows you to create your own demand," he said.

Hedge Fund Sales