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FIG Watch: Santander capitalizes on a worldwide view

Grupo Santander is often considered to be among the sharpest of borrowers, and it certainly has one of the biggest profiles. José Antonio Soler, who has run its funding operation for a year and a half, talks to Alex Chambers about the group’s quest for new pools of capital and its developing issuance strategy.

Grupo Santander has a number of different arms – in Brazil, Chile, the UK and Portugal, as well as at home in Spain in the shape of Banesto – but while all funding is executed locally, there is systematic oversight at group headquarters outside Madrid.

“We coordinate all transactions, all the analysis, at headquarters,” says José Antonio Soler, head of funding for Grupo Santander. “Every year all the banks make a liquidity plan and a funding plan, and we analyse and approve that plan in order to coordinate all the funding.”

He continues: “We coordinate the implementation of their plans. The execution of the transaction is local, although we avoid tapping the market at the same time in the same product. We coordinate, we have formal conference calls and committees regularly in order to discuss what we are thinking about issuing in all products. We have a plan that includes capital and liquidity projections. Whenever the parent bank or the other banks need to issue subordinated debt or preference shares, we analyse it case by case. In this kind of instrument it’s not only the funding: we need to analyse, on a consolidated basis, the kind of structure that the bank is going to issue.

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