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UBS rebuilds in Brazil

Swiss bank buys independent broker-dealer.

UBS is to buy one of Brazil’s leading boutique brokers a year after selling its financial services arm in the country.

The Swiss bank will acquire Link Investimentos later this year as it seeks to rebuild its business in Latin America’s most important economy. UBS will pay R$195 million ($112 million) for Link, an equities specialist. Under the terms of the transaction UBS will have full ownership of the firm, which will be integrated into the investment bank, wealth management and asset management divisions of the bank.

In addition to its equities business, Link provides services in fixed income, commodities, wealth management and asset management. It is a private partnership with 279 staff.

“Brazil represents two-thirds of the Latin American economy and is expected to be the world’s fifth largest economy by 2015. It is crucial that we have onshore capabilities to serve our clients in globally important markets such as Brazil,” says Carsten Kengeter, co-chief executive of UBS Investment Bank.

The acquisition is of a much smaller scale compared with UBS’s last foray in Brazil, when it bought independent investment bank Pactual for $2.5 billion in 2006. That deal helped march UBS ahead of Credit Suisse in Brazilian equities.

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