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Investment banking: Banks shake up management

Never mind volatility in the financial markets. Latin America’s investment banking community has rarely seen so many senior people moving around as in the past few months – with the likelihood of more changes to come. Many of the leading international banks are shaking up their businesses either through big hires or internal moves to better target the region’s opportunities.

Jimmy Quigley, Merrill Lynch

"We’re not Brazil-centric. We continue to be focused on every market. Colombia and Peru, for example, are smaller economies but are very profitable"
Jimmy Quigley, Merrill Lynch

What is also becoming evident is the growing power of the local banks, especially in Brazil. The biggest move last month was the news that Andre Esteves had quit as global head of fixed income, currencies and commodities at UBS. Esteves, who arrived at the firm in December 2006 following its acquisition of Brazil’s Banco Pactual, will now focus all his energy on running both the group’s and the investment bank’s Latin American franchise.

UBS will hope that Esteves’s move back to São Paulo from London will quell talk of a potential split between Pactual and the Swiss bank. Rumours have grown louder in recent months that Pactual’s bankers are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the union, especially as their business is performing strongly, in stark contrast to the turmoil engulfing the rest of the investment bank.

In March, UBS lost seven of its bankers in Brazil to Merrill Lynch, including Alexandre Bettamio, co-head of investment banking.

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