The son of an American diplomat, G. Frederick “Fred” Reinhardt grew up all over the world, in France, Vietnam, Egypt, Italy and Switzerland. As a banker, his career has led him to New York, London — and most recently, Miami.
Reinhardt joined Espirito Santo Bank in Miami as chairman and chief executive in September 2012. Operating from an exquisitely decorated office on the Brickell tower’s fifth floor, he presides over a bank with 125 employees and $750 million in assets, and a broker-dealer with $700 million under management.
Now, in light of recent events in Portugal, the Miami bank is for sale, and so is its headquarters on Brickell Avenue. Sources say a buyer for the building is now completing due diligence. Reinhardt said there is also much interest in buying the Miami bank.
We met Reinhardt at his bank’s offices on Brickell Avenue to discuss Espirito Santo and his background as events were unfolding. We then emailed him these questions, to which he responded.
Much of the coverage revolves around the fact that a number of companies controlled by the Espirito Santo family have sought court protection from creditors. There have been mentions of accounting irregularities and fraudulent transactions.
Until recently, the family had a controlling interest in Banco Espirito Santo, but that is no longer the case and the family is no longer in any executive position at the Lisbon bank. The family is no longer on our board, as well.
Most recently, the Bank of Portugal took the steps to segregate the assets and liabilities of its future strategic elements into the Novo Bank and those assets, which are no longer deemed strategic, into a Legacy Bank.
ESB in Miami has been deemed to be in the group to be sold. Indeed there has been much interest in the financial community around the possibility of acquiring ESB and its franchise.
True to form, the success early on came from the Portuguese communities in Brazil and Venezuela and thereafter has expanded to represent a number of other countries.
Two years later we moved to Washington, D.C., and then to Cairo, Egypt in 1960 where he was appointed Ambassador to the United Arab Republic which was a loose confederation of Egypt, Syria, and Yemen. In 1961, he was appointed ambassador to Italy and we moved to Rome. My family spent many years in Italy and, to me, Italy remains, of all the countries I have lived or visited, the dearest in my heart.
Five years later, I returned to New York to work in the multinational division. In 1988, I joined Merrill Lynch International Bank and moved to London. I spent 20 years at Merrill followed by three years leading a de novo bank in Connecticut. In 2012, I joined ESB in Miami.