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Brazilian private banks: Fishers of rich men

Brazil’s private bankers are eagerly seeking out the means to differentiate themselves from rivals and attract the rich shoal of high-net-worth individuals a market boom has created.

AMID CHATS that conjure up images of a fishing trip rather than a buoyant market – we "hook the clients", we "fish in the whole Brazilian pond", we are "upstream of the liquidity vents" – there is apparently just one simple rule for successful private banking in Brazil: "Private banking is a relationship game – those that keep their client relationship strong will come out on top," says Marco Navarro, head of investment advisory and estate planning at Unibanco.

But in Brazil it is not sufficient merely to follow this one rule. As the private banking market grows at more than 30% a year, success is more about "hooking the new clients" (in the words of one banker) than about holding on to the old ones. "Once you have a doctor it takes something very major to make you move – it is the same for private banking," says Leopoldo Figueiredo, managing partner of Hedging-Griffo, the private banking group bought by Credit Suisse in 2007. "At the moment in Brazil banks are focused on capturing the growing wave of new clients."

IPOs open liquidity vents

New private bank clients are emerging in large numbers in Brazil after the IPO and capital markets bonanza of 2007.

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