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Capital markets: Jostling for position in Peru

Peru holds promise for capital markets but timing is everything. While pipelines – especially for debt – are growing, banks face a delicate balance between investment risk and reward. Compounding the difficult strategy call is the development of the local independent investment banks in an intra-Andean market.

On a Monday night in early August at a gate in São Paulo’s Guarulhos airport, the priority boarding queue for the evening flight to Lima is conspicuously full of bankers. Most recognizable is Deutsche Bank’s Latin American chief executive, Barnardo Parnes, who declines to state the specific reason for his trip (batting away the question with the observation that the bank’s office has been growing in recent years and is now staffed by about 20 people). However, the speed and determination with which he heads towards the immigration hall’s long and slow-moving lines suggests this isn’t the first time he’s dealt with a midnight arrival in the Peruvian capital. By contrast, the paucity of open immigration counters, struggling to deal with the influx, might suggest that the popularity of Peru with foreign bankers is a recent phenomenon.

But that’s not so. "I’d say about 2005, 2006 is when we started to see a lot of the [international] banks starting to come to Peru to try to persuade corporations to access the international capital markets," says Nelson Dávalos, head of corporate and investment banking at Citi in Peru. The bank has had an important presence in the country since 1920.

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