Afina International, founded in 2011, is a Latin America-focused merchant bank specializing in empowering family businesses and private wealth by originating and managing innovative, cross-border investment opportunities between the region and the global markets. Afina eschews macro theory and creates value through geographically local and sector specific expertise and opportunity.
The firm is relationship-centered and draws on long-term and developing relationships to build international capital partnerships around creative, customized and proprietary investments.
Our team works closely with investors to research and originate actionable ideas for investment and to create long-term partnerships.
Focus – A Latin America-focused specialist with historical roots in the region connected to international capital and opportunity through relationship-centered partnerships
Ideology – Eschews global macro theory in the belief that value in both financial and real assets is derived from local knowledge and expertise
Principle – Time spent developing relationships creates the essential context of trust from which all other opportunities proceed
Prior to co-founding Afina in 2011, Mr. Godfrey-Thomas worked extensively throughout Europe and the Americas as a special advisor and consultant on Latin American strategy to multilateral organizations, including the Organization of American States, and to international institutions, corporations and private sector clients. In 2001, Mr. Godfrey-Thomas founded INCO Americas, an international advisory firm based in Mexico City that specialized in Latin American business development. He advised a broad variety of sectors on projects ranging from the development of new cross border trade capabilities for international remittances (financial services sector) to the development of alternative vehicle manufacturing capabilities for Britain’s iconic London Taxi (automotive sector).
Prior to that Mr. Godfrey-Thomas held executive positions managing international business intelligence for risk analysis at risk management firms J&H, Marsh, and Jardines. Mr. Godfrey-Thomas began his career in London at Darwin Clayton, a financial services firm, where he led the firm’s first international expansions into Liberia and the US.
Mr. Godfrey-Thomas was born and educated in England.
Mr. Ortiz has over 20 years of experience in trading and financial markets. He is a founding partner of Afina and leads the development of Afina’s global asset management business.
Prior to co-founding Afina in 2011, he was a private client portfolio manager at Chapin Hill Advisors Inc., an independent financial advisory firm with US$65 million of assets under management. Mr. Ortiz was responsible for creating and implementing asset allocations and conducting portfolio reviews for 150 clients. He analyzed new products and funds from wholesalers to select investments consistent with the firm’s investment philosophy and best suited for clients. Previously, he was a managing director at HCP Global, a long/short hedge fund, where Mr. Ortiz was responsible for day-to-day research, analysis, and trading in the technology and bio-technology sectors. In addition, Mr. Ortiz had a successful 12-year career as a senior proprietary trader for Oppenheimer & Co, where he managed markets in 90+ securities on Nasdaq with a sector concentration in semi-conductor, bio-technology, software, internet, and telecommunications companies. He was also responsible for supervising and training assistant traders.
As the son of a Bolivian diplomat, Mr. Ortiz lived in many parts of the Americas during his youth. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and a minor in Economics. Mr. Ortiz is fluent in English, Spanish and French.
Mr. Leavenworth has over 20 years of professional experience in Latin America, from governmental roles to entrepreneurial ventures and finance. He is a founding partner of Afina and is primarily focused on managing and developing the firm’s relationships. Mr. Leavenworth also serves as Honorary Consul of Chile in Philadelphia with a jurisdiction that includes the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New Jersey.
Prior to co-founding Afina in 2011, he founded Chispa Group LLC, an international consulting services firm, where he was involved in many different sectors and consulted on multi-billion dollar mining, energy, agriculture, and government projects. Previously, Mr. Leavenworth developed the first Chilean branded beef program for the US market, successfully establishing it as the largest supplier of grass-fed beef to Whole Foods Market. In addition, he co-founded Cono Sur, an affiliate of Chile’s largest wine company, where he developed distribution channels throughout Latin America and Canada. Cono Sur currently exports more than one million cases of wine per year and is one of the top four wine companies in Chile. Leavenworth also helped lead the creation of the small business banking unit at Citibank while based out of Santiago, Chile.
In 2005, the President of Chile appointed Mr. Leavenworth the Honorary Consul of Chile in Philadelphia. He also serves on the boards of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce, Global Interdependence Center, Pan American Association and the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia. In 2016, Leavenworth was appointed president of the board of Pata Foods, a leading organic baby food manufacturer. Mr. Leavenworth graduated from Hamilton College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American Studies. He was born in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish.
Ms. Innocent joined Afina in 2014 and leads the firm’s operations management, client communications, and corporate governance. She also serves as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. and was a foreign policy analyst at Cato from 2007 to 2013.
Ms. Innocent has appeared as a guest analyst on CNN, CBS, BBC, Fox News Channel, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, CNBC Asia, and Reuters. She has published reviews and articles on national security and international affairs in journals such as Survival, Congressional Quarterly, and Harvard International Review. She has also written for Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal Asia, Christian Science Monitor, Armed Forces Journal, the Guardian, Huffington Post, the Washington Times, and other outlets in the United States and overseas. In 2011, she was awarded the distinction “Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders” by global affairs magazine Diplomatic Courier. With Ted Galen Carpenter, she is the author of Perilous Partners: The Benefits and Pitfalls of America’s Alliances with Authoritarian Regimes.
Ms. Innocent earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago.
Mr. Blum is President of AXR, Afina’s international real estate investment business. Prior to co-founding AXR with Afina, David spent 25 years in institutional real estate investment management, having joined Urdang Capital Management at its inception in 1987 and retiring from the company in 2013. Prior to the acquisition of the company by the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation in 2006, David was a shareholder/principal of the firm. David served as Managing Director and as Portfolio Manager of Urdang Value-Added Fund II, L.P., a US$463 million closed-end private real estate fund that was ranked in the top quartile for its strategy/vintage by Preqin. A former CPA, David developed UCM’s accounting, reporting, performance measurement, and portfolio management processes.
As a senior executive, David was a member of UCM’s Investment Committee. During his tenure, the company invested in approximately US$6.7 billion of properties, including approximately 37,000,000 square feet of commercial property and over 30,000 multifamily apartment units located in over 30 states across the U.S. Prior to Urdang, David was a real estate and partnership tax specialist at Laventhol & Horwath and a practicing CPA.
He received a B.S. degree in Accounting and an M.S. degree in Taxation from The American University in Washington, D.C. David is a member of the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) and has served on the Advisory Board for the PREA Quarterly publication and the Valuation and Reporting Affinity Group.
Mr. Probert is Chief Investment Officer of AXR, Afina’s international real estate investment business. Prior to joining AXR, Mr. Probert was an Associate Director of Acquisitions at Grosvenor Fund Management, a London based private equity real estate company with US$20 billion of AUM.
While at Grosvenor Mr. Probert led acquisitions for US Healthcare Ventures, a healthcare fund which invested in medical office and senior housing properties, and he was also involved in sourcing, underwriting and executing on office, multifamily and retail deals for various separate accounts. Mr. Probert was integral in planning strategy while at the company and developed an Urban Retail strategy as well as a value-add and development focused senior housing strategy.
Prior to Grosvenor he worked at GPX Realty Partners, a boutique private equity real estate owner and operator in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mr. Probert focused on the acquisition and financing of value-added and opportunistic multifamily and office properties in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast US.
Mr. Probert began his career in corporate finance at Toll Brothers working on mergers and acquisitions, land bank deals and large land assemblages. He is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Wilkes has over 25 years real estate experience and is the founder of InvestAg LLP, an investment advisory firm for international real estate and farmland investors. InvestAg has partnered with Afina International for European real estate investments.
Prior to founding InvestAg LLP, Mr. Wilkes was a Director of Savills (L&P) Ltd, the global real estate services provider, where he worked for 12 years, providing international real estate and farmland investment advice to a wide range of clients including: real estate companies, governments, institutions, investment funds, family offices and specialist investors. Before Savills, Mr. Wilkes was the international manager for property consultants Brown & Co, a London commercial real estate advisor for Weatherall Green & Smith (now BNP Paribas) and a land manager at RH & RW Clutton (UK).
During his career Mr. Wilkes has worked on a wide range of international and UK real estate projects and investments, in the residential, hotel, touristic, office and farmland sectors. This has involved project creation, sourcing, appraising, fund raising, project management, fund/asset management, as well as providing general property and investment advice. Mr Wilkes has travelled extensively through out his career including to: Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, Far East, Middle East, North and South America.
Mr. Wilkes is both a Chartered Surveyor and Corporate Finance Representative. He is British and is based in the United Kingdom.