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Coping with Competition

Sep 1, 2011

Investment banks have seen a strong first half but face an uncertain year ahead as volatility and increased ompetition threatens to slow down the pace of business.

Investment banks have seen a profitable first half in LatAm with overall wallets swelling after a strong run in equity and bond offerings, as well as steady transaction flow for M&A and loans. But they are facing an increasingly uncertain environment going into the rest of 2011 as risk aversion spikes on worries about global growth and as fees shrink amid tougher competition in places like Brazil.

Brazil is starting to lose some of its luster among banks that earlier rushed to establish beachheads in the region’s largest economy. Unsurprisingly, fees have shrunk in that country as more and more institutions compete for the same plain-vanilla business.

Having a presence in Brazil may be pivotal for growth strategies, but both local and international banks are looking at the larger pan-regional picture as well.

“The Brazil profitability equation is changing,” says Facundo Vazquez, a managing director on Bank...

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“The crisis has been a setback for reserve diversification."

Jan Dehn, Ashmore Investment Management