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Chile: Larrain Vial taps local interest

Growing interest from Chilean institutions; Prospects more attractive than in Brazil

Larrain Vial, a Chilean brokerage that manages about $14 billion, has raised more than $250 million for a global private equity fund in partnership with Blackstone Group.

Larrain Vial says it expects to double that amount shortly, tapping into rising private equity interest from Chilean institutional investors, especially private pension funds (known as AFPs).

AFPs, which have more than $100 billion in assets under management, invest a small proportion of their assets in private equity but that is expected to grow. Larrain Vial, which also operates in Peru, Colombia and Mexico, will probably begin as a broker dealer in the US during the next few months.

"It is very important that Chile’s private equity industry develops," says Ricardo Rodriguez, president of BBVA Provida, one of Chile’s biggest AFPs, with $36 billion of assets under management. "Currently, we invest less than 1% of our assets in private equity but we expect that will grow in the future. We want to support the local industry but we will also invest in international private equity groups if they present the right opportunities for our clients. It is a good way for us to diversify our allocation."

Insufficient experience

Chilean AFPs invested large sums in private equity in the country in the early 1990s but many of these investments did not perform well because the local private equity groups had insufficient experience.

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