Brazil’s ‘finfluencers’ bring money to favelas


Photo by Miguel Sincariolu. Video by Florence Goinard.

With his tattooed arms, drop-fade haircut, and baby-faced looks, Murillo Duarte doesn’t look like the typical financial advisor as he offers investment tips on social media in the São Paulo favela he grew up in. not.

Duarte, 28, who has more than a million followers on social media, is a fast-growing Brazil ‘finfluencer’, or financial influencer, who brought financial education to the masses in a country known for its deep inequality. One of the powerful people.

“You don’t have to have a lot of money to be an investor, but you need to get your accounts sorted out first,” said Duarte, better known as a “favela investor.” One video says:

“The aim is to democratize access to the world of financial education and investment, especially for the forgotten lower classes of society,” Duarte told AFP.

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Smart and charismatic, Duarte grew up in Jardim João XXIII, a poor neighborhood west of Brazil’s economic capital São Paulo.

He attended accounting school as an intern at a notary office before co-founding a financial education company in 2019.

By 2021, he earned his first million reais (about $185,000). He now lives in an upmarket neighborhood, employs 12 of his employees in his company, and is one of the most prominent voices promoting financial literacy in Latin America’s largest economy.

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“No matter where you are from, if you work hard you can go anywhere,” he tells his followers on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.

But he cautions against get-rich-quick schemes.

Building a strong financial foundation will be “step-by-step,” he said.

“It’s been eight, nine, ten years and I’m starting to see real payoff in my personal finances. It’s clear. We’re not selling dreams that come true overnight. It’s a process.”

According to a recent report by financial industry group ANBIMA, Brazil, one of the world’s largest social media users, has 1,250 people, including financial analysts, traders and non-traditional profiles like Duarte. It is said that the above “Finfluencer” profile exists.

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Together they have over 165 million followers.

“Brazilian interest in economic information has grown tremendously,” said Amanda Blum, Executive Manager of Communications and Marketing at ANBIMA.

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“Social networks allow[professionals]to create a direct connection with their users, which their followers can trust and empathize with.”

The online guru’s tips aren’t just about increasing your income. In a country where annual inflation hit more than 12% last year and is now down to 4.18%, many advise on everyday issues such as coping with soaring prices.

Duarte’s follower, Clayton Silva, also from Favela, said he was “drowned in debt and high food prices”, a common problem for working-class Brazilian families.

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However, “his advice has changed the way I manage my money. I am no longer in debt and am saving an emergency fund for rainy days,” said the 28-year-old driver and mother of two. the father said.

The next step, he said, is to invest in the São Paulo Stock Exchange.

Felipe Paiva, of B3, the company that manages the exchange, said the number of individual investors in Latin America’s largest stock market rose 19% last year to 5 million, especially among young investors. It is said that

Financial education exploded on social media as Brazil’s COVID-19 confinement imposed an economy that collapsed and left many people stranded in search of new income.

Marilia Fontes, a founding partner of investment firm Nord Research and a top financial influencer herself, said the trend was spurred by “rates reaching a historic low of 2% and higher returns. It has motivated investors to diversify their investments in search of

Some “finfluencers” have grown so big that their influence extends far beyond social media.

A business management specialist, 24-year-old Natalia Rodriguez grew up in a poor suburb of Rio de Janeiro. Now known as her “Nas Her Finances,” she posted free financial advice to fellow Brazilians on her YouTube using her mobile phone, which she used four years earlier. provided and spread rapidly.

Last month, President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva appointed her to the Council for Sustainable Economic Development, a civil society committee that helps formulate the government’s public policy.

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