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Mexican reform anticipation sparks hiring race

Jun 13, 2014

Capital markets businesses are bulking up their deal-making capacities as structural reforms advance

 Source: Gabriel Flores Romero
A string of new hires in the Mexico offices of investment banks and law firms is underscoring a growing bid for talent in the country as the country forges ahead with structural reforms that could attract billions in foreign investment.

Juan Carlos Merodio of M&L Estudio Legal has been chosen as advisor to DLA Piper in Mexico, the latest in a series of new appointments to reinforce Mexican teams.

He has been brought in to help develop DLA’s strategy, including in oil and gas and telecommunications areas in Mexico, which has become a favorite among investors in recent months.

Evercore has hired Scotia’s Randy Crath as a senior managing director in its oil and gas group in Houston to "help build momentum" in Mexico, Brazil and Europe, the investment banking firm said this week.

The appointments come as investment banks and law firms step up a bid for talent in Mexico as the government moves ahead with plans to implement structural reforms in the energy, telecommunications and other sectors that will likely attract a flurry of new investments.

Itau BBA opened a broker-dealer in Mexico in January, appointing Alberto Mulas as chief executive. The same month, BTG Pactual officially started operations in the country with a team of 25. And the chief financial officer of Mexico’s social security institution, Mauricio Alazraki, joined Santander’s Mexico office in February to cover energy clients.

Among law firms, Holland & Knight nabbed a team of five capital markets lawyers from DLA Piper to set up a Mexico office in the first quarter. Haynes and Boone, meanwhile, has hired former Shell executive Carlos Canales and Rafael Carmona from a local firm this year, and said in March that it was on an "aggressive pursuit" for more staff in its Mexico City office.

One senior banker in New York recently told LatinFinance that missing mandates from some of the large-scale energy and infrastructure transactions ahead in Mexico was what kept him awake at night.

"Not a lot has happened yet [in Mexico]," he said. "But if you don’t get wallet share in Brazil and Mexico, then you’re not a world-class investment bank." LF

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  • Alex Jun 25, 2014

    Stan: as a Mexican, all I can tell is that we KNOW that things need to change. It's urgent! But (and that is no small BUT) we don't trust the people who are doing the changes. We have had the banks seized by the State, and it was not good to us. Then they were released back to private hands, and that was also not good to us. And now, it's the same old school PRI, reloaded, who is going to make the changes. No matter all that fine PR/press job they are doing... we don't trust them. And we haven't comeo up with a decent alternative.

  • Stan Boyer Jun 24, 2014

    I've lived in Mexico for the last 5 1/2 years. I have been impressed with the collaboration between the PRI AND PAN to change the laws of Mexico to facilitate change in PEMEX, the banking system, the education system and investment in infrastructure. I sense no excitement among the average Mexican citizen. It's as though they don't realize what is happening to their country and the implications for themselves and their children. Perhaps I'm overly optimistic. One thing I would like to see happen in Mexico. Banks will not make loans on home equity. I suspect there are home owner protection laws that make it difficult for a bank to take a home in a loan default. Changing those laws would release billions and billions of pesos that would spur the economy and create opportunity to use those locked up funds. The country will soon be the top vehicle exporter in the world so Mexico is getting there and perhaps accelerating it's growth.

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