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DCM: Morgan Stanley’s Latin American renaissance

The US bank confirms its top position in the league tables.

As the first half of the year draws to an end, Morgan Stanley continues its impressive ride in Latin America’s debt capital markets. At the end of the second quarter, the bank maintained its number one position in the league tables for 2006, according to Dealogic, narrowly preserving its lead over Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan.

The firm is undergoing a renaissance in its emerging markets business, especially in Latin America. Over the past few years, Morgan Stanley was conspicuous by its absence in the region – its name was rarely seen in the top half of the league tables – and rivals were speculating that it might be about to pull out of Latin American debt. The bank claims instead that it was reassessing its focus, away from unprofitable, league-table driven business and more towards the sexier corporate credit trades. Indeed, the bank argues that from a revenues perspective it remained competitive even when its name disappeared from the top echelons of the league tables.

The change in Morgan Stanley’s visibility in Latin America can be traced to the return of John Mack as CEO exactly a year ago. One of the first things Mack and co-president Zoe Cruz did was to make the emerging markets one of the cornerstones of the bank’s business.

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