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Latin America banking: HSBC fights back in Brazil

HSBC wants to triple both onshore and offshore revenues, profits and ebitda in Brazil within five years.

Brazil’s growth might be continuing to disappoint but HSBC is pressing ahead with ambitious plans for its comeback in the country.

HSBC sold its corporate and wholesale banking operations as part the sale of its full Brazil business to Bradesco in 2016.

The global bank immediately opened a new Faria Lima-adjacent office in São Paulo to support the international business for Brazilian clients – a non-compete clause prevented HSBC doing any Brazilian-based business until December last year.


“We retained our banking licence and we opened an office to service the international business of a client list of around 150,” says Alexandre Guião, president of HSBC Brazil, who has been with the bank in Brazil for 10 years since joining from Citi.

The bank opened with 45 employees – a mix of front-, middle- and back-office staff.

“Focus was to do international deals,” says Guião. “Even flow side had to be linked to international transactions. We could only do the FX and derivatives trades that were linked to an international financing deal.”

The expiration of that clause coincided with Jair Bolsonaro winning the Brazilian presidency, which – through his appointment of BTG Pactual co-founder Paulo Guedes as economy minister – buoyed bankers’ hopes for greater economic growth and financial markets activity.

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