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An Exclusive Interview with Gianluigi Torzi

Gianluigi Torzi

Gianluigi Torzi joined the firm as managing director and head of capital markets for the Middle East and Africa. In this new role, Torzi will be responsible for building and leading the firm’s capital markets business in the region, where he has deep experience in both socio-geopolitical knowledge and professional contacts, working with senior colleagues to offer a full range of global capital options to regional clients and providing access to Middle Eastern capital to clients worldwide. Gianluigi Torzi is making significant strides in London’s capital markets as the managing director for the Middle East and Africa.

Gianluigi has extensive experience in investment banking, having led more than $15 billion in mergers and acquisitions, loans, fixed income and equity transactions, including financing for the world’s largest hedge funds and IPOs for most of the large companies in the markets. Most recently, he was Senior Managing Director and Head of Global Corporate Finance at Jci Capital, following a stint as co-founder of Global Prime Partners, the largest Prime Broker in the UK and Europe.

He is currently the president of the Eurasia Capital Market Association.

In his reading of the financial markets, the analysis of global affairs, of geostrategic issues and of the geopolitics that guide the relations between the powers has always had great weight. Much of his thinking was expressed in his first book, ‘Think Outside the Box’, a pulsating analysis as the COVID pandemic was reshaping global scenarios.

The thinking behind the book revolved around the return of power competition, didn’t it?

“What we are witnessing in this historical phase is a return to multipolarity in global affairs. International dynamics are now multipolar and, regardless of the will of the great powers, many countries of the world are increasingly interested in this new system under construction. They sense the opportunities, which is why they are critical of the zero-sum game that is being created between Washington and Beijing. the potential of the development connected to them”.

Torzi speaks in this interview from Dubai, where he recently joined Ax, a finance company, as managing director and head of capital markets for the Middle East and Africa. In the book you talked about the pandemic and its effects on the future: is that what we are seeing?

“What is happening right now is exactly what we had foreseen. It is no coincidence that the preface of the book was signed by the former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, a profound connoisseur of international dynamics and a friend with whom we have often exchanged views. “Thinking outside the box invites the reader to look beyond the borders”, wrote Frattini, “because if there is one certain thing in the uncertainty of the crisis, it is that what comes next will not be the same as what awaits us and to which we are accustomed knowing’.”, for this he was considered a great friend of the USA.

And that was exactly right. And now, what forecast?

“I imagine that what we are facing is a scenario between now and the next few decades, also because what has emerged has been strengthened by a war that could only be in the preliminary stages and which will lead to a polarization of global assets. We will have growing competition between the US and China, but poles will emerge that will seek strategic autonomy, such as India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East. Geostrategic spheres which, due to their demographic size, economic strength, ability to ride the future, will have their place in the midst of the Sino-US dichotomy”.

And then?

“We will see the geopolitical and geostrategic role of cities grow. Megacities will be the future poles of this multipolar world. As they have shown during the pandemic, cities can handle emergencies and opportunities better than states themselves. Examples, guides: realities such as London or Dubai, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taipei, New Delhi are destined to lead the world in an almost autonomous way, pulling state decisions behind them and dictating the pace of international affairs. On this concept I am in the process of writing another book in the coming months”

Your name has often been mentioned in the Italian press, perhaps sometimes only used to create sensationalism regarding some judicial cases in which you have been involved and in some situations even when you were not involved. Do you still read the Italian media?

Usually I don’t deal with minor facts, I don’t follow the coverage that local newspapers, such as the Italian ones, make of the news. I follow the international press with extreme attention, the English-speaking one to be clear, because it tells the world and not a single country. And why not constantly seek sensationalism.

What has this excessive media coverage meant for you and your family?

In Italy everything boils down to gossip, because gossip produces more readers and readers more revenue: the publishing market, as we know, is in great difficulty in Italy, and I understand that it needs everything to stay alive. However, we often forget that the articles talk about people, fathers, sons, husbands. But I understand this too, the media do business and sometimes business is cutthroat.

So you, businessman, are you unsentimental?

Absolutely [he replies smiling, ed]. Seriously, as far as possible I have always promoted the relationship between people in my way of working. Even in the face of problems, then it is clear that in certain situations we need to be more rigid, making tough and difficult choices is part of our daily lives. However, I believe that the human factor is the only factor that counts when it comes to relationships, be they personal or business oriented. I believe that without the warmth of our humanity — which is ultimately what makes us unique — nothing can work. I admit that I am part of a world, that of finance, in which this is very often set aside. And yet, I know who I am, I know my roots, and I know what I want for myself: and above all what I want to leave for my children. I think our job is to leave better than we found it, and everything I do revolves around this.

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