Latin America’s best private bank 2023: Santander
The consistent growth in both the scale and the quality of Santander’s private banking business in Latin America this year has impressed the judging panel.
While the Spanish lender – under regional head for South America Carlos Rey de Vicente – is rightly being recognised for its successful and client-centric growth in the region in recent years, it is undeniable that this has been buoyed by helpful tailwinds.
Not only have some large international private-banking franchises decided to leave the onshore wealth-management business in Latin America, but private-banking clients have begun, albeit belatedly, to shift allocations of their total portfolios to international assets.
Both these trends have helped Santander, as one of the genuine onshore private banks with credible international experience and capability, to grow the size of its private bank in the region.
But Santander’s recent success is down to much more than that. The growth in its discretionary portfolio management (where it was a serious contender for the regional award) has provided clients with resilient financial results amid a volatile year.
The growth in DPM and fee advisory has been consistent across the region and, as of the end of the third quarter of 2023, assets under management had reached $43 billion.
Meanwhile, the bank spotted a risk-adjusted opportunity in structured products that resonated with the market and saw an 86% year-on-year increase in income growth.
The growth in its discretionary portfolio management has provided clients with resilient financial results amid a volatile year
Santander’s illiquids business has also seen rapid growth – increasing by more than $800 million to a total volume of $2.7 billion within three years of launch.
In the past year, Santander had a series of impressive milestone alternative asset fund launches with partners around the region, including Owl Rock, Bain Capital, Hamilton Lane and Greenspring/ Stepstone. These were complemented by local manager offerings, such as with EB Capital in Brazil and EPC Promecat in Brazil.
But the numbers that matter most focus on the bank’s client base.
In just the last year, Santander’s ultra-high net-worth unit grew by 16% to 3,090 clients. The private bank has more than 112,000 clients globally (up 6% in the year), driven by expansion in Latin America, which now stands at 48,000 clients (12.3%).
The private bank’s total assets and liabilities grew to $237 billion (a 3.7% increase) and the bank’s operational leverage kicked in to increase profits by 30% in the year, to $532 million.