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Best bank
Banco Itaú Best debt house

Best M&A house
Goldman Sachs

Best equities house

Brazil has one of the world?s most interesting and competitive banking markets. The big three private-sector banks ? Bradesco, Itaú and Unibanco ? are all highly sophisticated and extremely profitable. There is also a lot of foreign competition, and even state competition in the form of the increasingly professional Banco do Brasil.

But only one bank, Banco Itaú, managed to report more than $1 billion in profits in 2003. Its numbers continue to dazzle: a return on equity of 31%, a return on assets of 2.9%, and a cost-to-income ratio that is, at 4.7%, the lowest of the Brazilian banks.

Itaú remains the bank to beat in Brazil, and will be a formidable competitor should Citigroup ever buy a bank there.

Even with a minimal presence in the country, however, Citigroup still manages to pick up the best debt house in Brazil award. It comes top of all the league tables, with a wide range of deals over the course of the past year.

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