Latin banking: Strength in numbers

Nov 1, 2012

In the wake of a landmark investor survey of Latin America’s banking sector, LatinFinance takes stock of a range of views of investment professionals weighing up the merits of a fast evolving industry

One notable result of the inaugural Itaú 2013 Investor Outlook for the Latin American Banking Sector is the sense of assuredness investors have expressed for the industry – at a time of considerable broader anxiety over the future of global banking.

The picture that emerges from the study – produced jointly by LatinFinance and consultancy firm Management & Excellence (M&E) – is of a generally well-regulated industry that features conservative management across broadly resilient economies that, in turn, offer their banking sectors ample scope for growth, not least in areas such as wealth management and corporate bonds.

Colombia and Brazil are both surprises in the survey, although for strikingly different reasons. Colombia’s government and banks are increasingly trusted, creating a virtuous circle. Meanwhile, Brazilian bank profits are being curtailed by an interventionist administration.

Investors are increasingly focused on the industry. Chevy Chase Trust, with $13 billion under management, is overweight Latin banks,...

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