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Private banking 2012: Santander rides the LatAm wave

The Spanish bank began its systematic wealth-management strategy in Latin America in 2007. It has paid off handsomely in our latest survey. But other banks are pushing hard to beat it.

Santander has leapt six places to top the annual Euromoney survey of private banks in Latin America. It’s a surprise, not least to Luis Moreno, director of business development and marketing for private banking at Santander. "We were pleasantly surprised to move up so many places in the survey," he says. "In terms of our satisfaction we want to be much better; we know we can achieve it."

In 2007 Santander began implementing its global private banking business template in its core Latin American markets of Brazil (where the bank has 3,702 branches), Mexico (1,100), Chile (504) and Argentina (304).

Despite Santander’s long history in Latin America, before this initiative the Spanish bank had little private banking business in the region. The little it did have was locally organized and uncoordinated, although the bank has long had an offshore international private banking service for the region.

"We have adopted the successful value proposition we initially developed in Spain," says Moreno. "Initially the implementation process took longer than we would have liked, but in the past two to three years we have been changing quickly."

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