Latin American banks work hard to keep up with demand
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Latin American banks work hard to keep up with demand

Growth in Latin American high-net-worth assets continues to outstrip that of other countries as the local economies boom. Helen Avery asks the region’s top-ranking private banks how they have been reacting to burgeoning demand.

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IT HAS BEEN a bumper year for private banks in Latin America. According to the Euromoney 2008 private banking poll, net incomes for private banks increased in Brazil by 29.3%, in Mexico 19.5%, in Argentina 18% and in Chile 11%. The four countries remain the largest markets for wealth managers in the region, and the battle between the domestic and global private banks there is increasing. The good news is that Latin America’s wealth is growing at a rate that should allow room for all banks over the next few years. High-net-worth wealth in Latin America is expected to grow at an annual rate of 7.2% from 2006 to 2011, according to the Capgemini/Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report, outpacing the global growth rate of 6.8%.

Total investable assets held by high-net-worth individuals in Latin America are estimated to total about $5.5 trillion. The majority of that wealth is in Brazil, and it has been outgrowing the region’s wealth as its economy has boomed. Lywal Salles, chief executive of Banco Itaú’s private bank, estimates that wealth in Brazil has been increasing at a rate of 15% to 20% over the past three years, and a similar growth rate is expected in 2008.

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