Igor Cornelson: From Engineering Student to Renowned Investor

Igor Cornelsen is a Brazilian investment expert who was born in Curitiba, Brazil in 1947. At age eighteen he enrolled in the Federal University of Parana majoring an engineering major. The school was one of only two universities offering engineering courses in the area, and getting admitted was quite an accomplishment. However, he changed his major to economics and soon after graduating began work at an investment bank in Rio de Janeiro named Multibanco. Hard work earned him a quick promotion to board of directors and again to Chief Operating Officer (CEO).

After Multibanco was acquired by Bank of America in 1978, Cornelsen decided to leave the company. He stuck by this decision even after being asked to stay at the company. Such a talented man of course promptly found another position, and he joined Unibanco one of the top investment firms in Brazil. But in 1985 inflation spiked, and he left for a more favorable secure position at Libra Bank in London. He was paid in American currency and moved to London, where he changed jobs one last time to work for the Standard Chartered Merchant Bank. They were impressed by his work at Libra Bank and requested that he join their board of directors.

This would be his last job, and he worked for the bank several years until 1995. When he left the company to launch his own investment firm. He now manages his own investments and holds seminars. Cornelsen encourages investors to turn their attention to emerging economies like Brazil and China. His many years working in the industry have helped him to avoid financial disasters when every other investor fell ruin. When he is not working he enjoys playing a nice round of golf and spends his time between sunny Sao Paolo and South Florida.

Fortress Investment Group Forms Partnership With Virgin

While British billionaire Richard Branson is perhaps best known for his ambitious plans for filling the skies with supersonic jets, he recently made headlines by making an investment in a more traditional form of transportation, railroads. Branson is lending the name of his company, Virgin, to the railroads in the United States run by Fortess Investment Group. The new company name will be Virgin Trains USA.

An ambitious plan

Currently, Fortress Investment group operates railroads in Florida, and their operation is going extremely well. Their vision is to take their railway service nationwide, which is a hugely significant development since it will be a private-sector railroad system in a country where government-subsidized Amtrak has long been the dominant intercity railroad company.

Even though millions of Americans ride on intercity trains each year, currently Amtrak is virtually their only option. Amtrak came into existence when the Federal Government consolidated existing railroads from private companies, and the planned Fortress Investment Group system will be the first privately-funded, intercity railway system built in over a century.

With Branson’s backing, Fortress Investment Group plans to first extend their Florida service to Orlando and Tampa and, pending Federal approval, next to Las Vegas and Southern California. Wes Edens, chairman and co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, plans to ultimately add lines to Charlotte, St.Louis, Dallas and other major cities. Read the article about Fortress at The Wall Street Journal.

A winning formula

As far as the new company goes, Fortress Investment Group will operate and manage the railroads while Virgin will have a stake in the company of a few percentage points in return for its investment. Richard Branson said that he is thrilled with the new plan. He noted that he has struck similar deals with other United States firms, and his company Virgin America, which operates on a similar model to the planned railroad system, has been extremely successful.

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