Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB4), Latin America’s largest lender by market value, said its Banco Itau BBA wholesale arm hired senior analysts from Banco Santander SA (SAN) to expand its equity-research team in Mexico.
Joaquín Ley, who worked the past 11 years at Madrid-based Santander as a senior equity analyst covering Latin America’s retail and consumer sectors, will coordinate retail equity coverage in Latin America excluding Brazil, Carlos Constantini, head of equity research, said yesterday in an interview. Ley will be based in Mexico City and Paloma Campos, an analyst who also left Santander, will assist him, Constantini said.
Gregorio Tomassi, who worked at Santander for four years as a senior analyst, is joining Itau as head of telecommunications research in all of Latin America and will work in Mexico City along with Susana Ortega, who also left the Spanish bank to work as a senior assistant in Itau’s research department, Constantini said. Ortega will join the roadshow desk, which organizes conferences and trips for investors and corporate clients.
“We are a reference for global players who want to invest in Latin America and they demand a local presence in each country to obtain a better quality of information,” Christian Egan, global head of equities at Itau BBA and CEO of Itau Corretora de Valores SA, the broker-dealer for Sao Paulo-based Itau, said yesterday in a phone interview. “We want to follow the Brazilian multinational companies in their expansion through the Latin America region.”
Itau BBA plans to hire analysts in Peru and Colombia, according to Constantini. “The number of people will depend on the talent pool we find in each of these countries,” he said.
The European sovereign-debt crisis and lower executive bonuses at the world’s biggest financial firms created an opportunity for Brazilian banks to hire aggressively, Egan said.
“Itau is a very stable and profitable bank, so a lot of good people have been knocking on our door,” he said.
The latest moves boost Itau’s research team to 32 people in Sao Paulo and six in Mexico. Barbara Angerstein, who worked at broker-dealer Celfin Capital SA for almost a decade, was hired by Itau last year to set up a Chilean equity research department, which now has two members. Banco BTG Pactual SA, run by Brazilian billionaire Andre Esteves, agreed in February to buy Celfin for $486 million, also to expand in Latin America.
In 2010, Itau hired Ricardo Cavanagh from Raymond James Financial Inc. (RJF:US) to lead the Andean region research team from Buenos Aires.
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