This article was originally published by Diario de Yucatan some time ago. Since then, many people have kindly asked me to republish it since it has come up in many different conversations ever since, and many questions have been asked to me about it. I must say, I do not have any answers, except what you are about to read.
It all started when in a social gathering, a question came up: –If you could have the chance to meet a person, dead or alive and talk to him/her who would that person be?-
Names such as Che Guevara, Christ, The Pope and JFK amongst others came up. When my turn came I said:
-David Martinez Guzman.– My answer left everyone bedazzled since not one single person in the room, had any idea who this man was. To be quite clear neither did I , until one day, unintentionally stumbled upon it while researching about a financial subject.
His name is surrounded by mystery and rumors. The Mexican media has referred to him as a “ghost investor.” Others simply say that he is a discreet man, despite his massive investments still remains widely unknown. There are no more than a couple of photographs of him on the Internet, but some financial experts claim that even though there is no estimate of his wealth, he might be following in the footsteps of Carlos Slim to become the richest man in the world.
Some people actually describe him as “the most influential Mexican on Wall Street” and that he is one of the most important and influential financiers in the world. “A man with a prodigious ability to negotiate and always find a solution. When he gives out his word, there is no need to sign anything”… That was said by Julio Herrera, the man who was his right hand, and by the time I wrote the article, was working on Oak Tree Investments LLC.
But… Who Is David Martínez?
David Martinez Guzman, was born in Monterrey Mexico, educated in the Colegio Irlandes (The Irish Institute of Monterrey) the Tecnologico de Monterrey and Harvard.
Legend has that he tried to be employed in several of the most renowned companies in Monterrey Mexico and was rejected again and again since in the tests conducted by them, they considered his personality not to be the “ideal” in terms of their human capital. However, for David Martínez one thing was clear, there was not a great professional future for him in Monterrey, so he got a loan from a friend’s father which he used to study a master’s degree in Harvard and another loan, after graduation, this time from his grandmother, and left for New York City. In just a few months paid back the loans with its interests and never turned around to look back.
In very few occasions his name has leaked to the media. One time when he was associated to the purchase of “Painting Number 5” an abstract art piece by Jackson Pollock, sold in auction for $140 million US dollars. Another time in 2004 when his company, Fintech Media LLC, a subsidiary of Fintech Advisory, bought Cablevision Argentina in imprecise circumstances that led to accusations and tribunals, however, he is a major holder of assets in the southamerican country, owning more than a billion dollars in financial assets and has publicly declared that he has a commitment with the nation, and his investments had been consistent, successful and long-term, based on solid fundaments of growth.
Even though there are not many things known about this man, some of those that are known happen to be particularly interesting.
– No matter where he is in the world, every Christmas goes home for dinner with his mother and sisters to whom month after month, gives a generous allowance.
– He travels on commercial airlines and does not believe in having its own airplane –even though he could have a spaceship if he wanted- When he is in his highly exclusive apartment for which he paid a price of 42.7 million dollars, located in the southwest corner of Central Park, with a decorated lobby featuring a monumental sculpture by Botero in New York´s exclusive Time Warner Center, he goes for long walks alone, since he does not use bodyguards.-
– He currently lives in London as a naturalized British citizen.-
Some people have accused him of being an opportunist who handles “vulture funds” a term used in the financial world, in clear reference to the behavior of such animal that “flies in circles above its dead or dying pray”.
This funds also known as “hedge funds or private equity fund investment in debt” refers to investors who go after companies that could be considered weak or in imminent default, buying debt at a discounted price on a secondary market and then sue the debtor for a larger amount than the purchasing price. In simpler terms, these types of investors, buy companies on the verge of death at very low prices and then, corporately solve certain financial complications and resell, making extremely attractive margins. Capitalism at its finest.
Julio Herrera (Martínez former right hand) explained in an interview, that they are neither vultures nor holdouts. It cataloged the company as a value investor of private funds that gives liquidity to funds or investors depending on the situation. An example of this was the purchase of CYDSA obligations, a large Monterrey Mexico company of the Sada Gonzalez family which incidentally happened to be one of those companies that denied an employment opportunity to David Martinez in his youth… Now he has 60% of its shares. Furthermore, he has at least two years in a strategic position within the iconic Grupo Alfa, a Mexican business, considered to become one of the greatest players to have the Mexican oil sector after opening to private capital in 2013, also another of those companies that… You guessed right, denied an employment opportunity to David Martinez in his youth.
It is said that his virtuosity in the world of money is so great that he has participated in nearly every restructuring of sovereign debt during the previous 25 years. To name one example, he was the author of the restructure of Brazil´s sovereign debt that took him just two hours and earned him a commission of $ 40 million.
As I said at the beginning, if I could have the chance to meet a person, dead or alive and have the opportunity of a conversation… I would most certainly choose, the mysterious Mr. Martinez.
José E. Urioste Palomeque
José Eugenio Palomeque-Urioste is a Business Intelligence professional in the area of Research and Development. He began his training process in mass media writing scripts for radio programs, commercials and advertising campaigns. Since then, he has written for newspapers, magazines and mass media in Mexico and the United States, ranging from the professional to the editorial and has written 3 fiction novels that have been presented in numerous forums and literary competitions causing much controversy as to its content.
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