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BANKING

Latin America: Greenlees takes on Itaú’s critics

Itaú BBA has long been a top investment bank in Brazil. Recently, rumours of high turnover, a changing culture and low morale have been rife. But Roderick Greenlees, head of investment banking, says the bank remains an undisputed market leader.

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Roderick Greenlees is now responsible for the capital markets team at Itaú BBA

When Euromoney conducts its research for its annual Awards for Excellence, a regular part of the interviews with leading banks concerns competitors. We ask banks which competitors have momentum in various banking markets and which are falling away. 

Of course, most of these comments have to be taken with a good pinch of salt; there is clearly partiality among those giving the comments. But it is a useful process nonetheless, because when similar comments about individual banks are repeated by many competitors, the repetition can be revealing. 

This year, the thread of repetition concerned Itaú BBA. Rivals said that the investment bank had been reducing headcount. 

They said that it had also been moving people out of the bank – in frequent but small moves, rather than one big redundancy announcement and that had been damaging morale as bankers were becoming increasingly concerned about their own job security. 

Also the bank was, said rivals, implementing a policy of juniorizacão – a mangled mix of Portuguese and English commonly used to describe a process of replacing experienced staff with cheaper, junior employees.