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Investment banking: Banks seek rich pickings in Latin America’s deeper markets

Big-ticket public deals still get most of the attention. But as the region’s markets mature, investment bankers are focusing below the surface. Their most profitable catch will be found in the local markets of credit, equities and commodities. Chloe Hayward reports from New York.


THE BATTLE FOR every bit of investment banking business in Latin America is getting fiercer, and the stakes are getting higher and higher. Each bond issue, IPO or merger brings not only fees but also kudos, as the importance of the region in the global financial landscape grows. But these public deals only touch the surface of the opportunity that bankers see in Latin America. Ask a head of investment banking in the region what, if they were given $100 million for their business, they would spend it on tomorrow and the answer will probably be technology. Probe for what they see as the biggest growth opportunity in the region, and they’ll tell you credit-linked transactions. Seek an honest opinion on the area that they really ought to do better in exploiting, and they’ll sheepishly tell you it’s commodities.

The answers may come as a surprise, but they should not. In Latin America public deal revenues only represent about 15% to 25% of total investment banking revenues for the region at each bank.

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