Interviewing Roberto Anker from Proventus Advisors

We spoke to our Member Roberto Anker from Proventus, in Ecuador in order to get to know him a bit better. In the interview, we spoke about his work history, likes and dislikes in business, work life balance and some fun facts.

How did you get into the M&A Business?

I went to UVA (University of Virginia) to pursue a career in Engineering.  I thought I would get back to Ecuador and wear a hard hat.  That changed after a summer internship in banking.  I decided to complement my degree with a minor in Economics and discover that finance was my true calling.  That interest opened opportunities, and I ended up working with Morgan Stanley in New York in the Latin America coverage group.  I was involved in capital markets and M&A transactions in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil.  I later went to live in Brazil as part of the Latam team working with Morgan Stanley´s Private Equity group.

After completing my MBA at Harvard Business School, I began considering returning to Ecuador to be closer to my family and “start something of my own”.   Initially, I had the idea that Ecuador did not have the size to open an M&A Boutique business.  That is what most professionals in large banks thought.  That was exactly where the opportunity lied.  I realized that “overlooked countries” still have some awesome companies that require quality attention.  I´ve had the privilege of working with many of the leading companies in Ecuador, their shareholders and executives.  It has been a great ride.

What are your likes and dislikes in the M&A business?

The diversity of deals, companies, and industries is great.  There is always something interesting and always something new.  This diversity keeps me updated on what’s going on. Every day is different, there is something new to learn and value to give to our clients in different ways. Also, among the diversity there are common themes among different industries that come up once you have done many deals. I believe this is the value of a strong track record, you identify patterns and save your clients time and money by pointing them out.

As time goes by, I have been able to help some companies in ways that they probably didn’t know it was possible.   It´s very fulfilling to see companies grow and expand and realize that you have in a way helped ignite or support that.

About dislikes…. I have grown used to the lack of predictability in this business. It can be very frustrating when you’re working on deals and they fall through, for any reason, whether economic, political, etc.  It would be nice to be able to project revenues and plan projects, but these are challenges inherent to investment banks.

How do you achieve a Work-life balance?

We run our business in a way that I would have liked as to work on as Junior members. We believe that work-life balance is key to deliver top-notch work and seldomly pull long-nighters.  Everyone at the team is aware that sometimes there is added pressure and we may have to work later, but we try to avoid that.

We generally see each other at the office, while most people have the option to work from home whenever they need it.

In the work life balance equation, playing sports has been key to me since I was a kid.  I grew up being a competitive swimmer. I no longer swim as in my teenage years but I have always been very active.  I have done triathlons and marathons.  I cycle now pretty often.

Do you have any fun facts about yourself?

I have been practicing kitesurf for a year now and I am loving it.  It´s pretty refreshing to do something completely new and get a kick from it.

During the pandemic I got into cooking with a smoker, which is also a lot of fun and my family actually cares about this new hobby.

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