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Capital Markets

Equity markets: Market for the region

FIAB and IADB aim to launch market for shares this year.

Small investor Ricardo Mendoza has been urging his Mexico City stockbroker for years to find a way for him to buy into the boom in Brazil’s Bovespa stock market. He has had little success. Without the know-how to move into more sophisticated cross-market products, Mendoza, like millions of other Latin Americans, is limited to the 80 or so companies that also list in New York to be able to diversify out of Mexican stocks. But with the region’s bourses pushing already record highs further into the stratosphere, Latin American stock exchange federation FIAB and the Inter-American Development Bank aim to launch a regional market for shares this year.

Although the initiative will not get near to merging bourses into a single index, it should give brokers and investors across the region the ability to buy and sell shares in lucrative, medium-sized companies that do not have the minimum, $100 million free float required to issue American depositary receipts. FIAB hopes the plans will also increase the investor pool for Latin American companies, helping to reduce their reliance on often costly bank financing, and increase liquidity in exchanges where trading is often dominated by a handful of powerful blue-chip companies.

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