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Private banking: Quality begins at home

The global equity bear market and credit crunch have slowed Latin American growth but the rise of the region’s wealthy is still spectacular. One effect of disruption in developed markets is a flight to perceived quality in wealth management – to domestic providers rather than those abroad. Jason Mitchell reports.

Private banking: Latin American wealth in context

Domestic private banks and family offices in Latin America are booming, as the region experiences the world’s fastest-growing wealth market and many clients transfer away from international houses because of their tarnished reputations.

Brazil’s biggest domestic private banks – Unibanco Private Bank, Banco Itaú Private Bank and Bradesco Private Bank – seem to be the main beneficiaries, as they are the main local private banks in Latin America’s biggest wealth market and private clients are concerned about wealth managers with high exposure to sub-prime woes.

Rich people in Brazil and in other important wealth markets in the region, including Mexico and Chile, are also becoming more inclined than before to leave or bring their assets onshore, as they are concerned about US dollar depreciation and the hit that developed market asset classes have been receiving.

Latin America’s wealth market reached $6.2 trillion in 2007 and grew at 20.4%, making it the fastest expanding wealth market, according to Merrill Lynch/Cap Gemini’s latest World wealth report (see Private banking: Latin American wealth in context, Euromoney, August 2008). North America’s wealth market surpassed $11.7 trillion but grew by only 4.4%.

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