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Investment banking: UBS takes first step on Brazilian comeback trail

Bank rebuilds in Latin nation; Hopes to gain investment banking licence soon

Raul Esquivel, head of Latin America for UBS’s investment bank

"US banks invested or divested depending on the economic cycle. We didn’t do that. We left because we had capital issues"

Raul Esquivel, UBS

Senior UBS officials are confident that the Swiss firm’s acquisition of a boutique Brazilian broker last month is the first step towards reclaiming its position as one of the country’s leading investment banks.

"We expect to get back to the top again," says Raul Esquivel, head of Latin America for UBS’s investment bank, following its acquisition of Link Investimentos, a broker-dealer that specializes mostly in equities, for about $112 million.

The deal comes a year after UBS sold Banco Pactual, its financial services arm in Brazil, as part of its efforts to reduce its risk profile and strengthen its balance sheet in the wake of the financial crisis. Since the sale, UBS has maintained a small investment banking team in the country but it has plummeted down the Brazilian league tables. This year it is ranked only 10th for equity capital markets, 14th for debt capital markets and 19th for investment banking, according to Dealogic.

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