BTG Plans to Hire 20 in Mexico, Start Asset-Management Business

Grupo BTG Pactual, the investment bank owned by Brazilian billionaire Andre Esteves, is hiring 20 people and starting an asset-management business in Mexico.

BTG already brought on two people for the new venture and plans to hire more, with other additions coming in investment banking, wealth management and credit analysis, Javier Artigas, who runs the Sao Paulo-based company’s Mexico unit, said in an interview last month at the bank’s Mexico City office.

Mexico’s asset-management industry expanded 13 percent last year to 1.84 trillion pesos ($123 billion), according to the brokerage trade association, AMIB. Latin America’s second-largest economy will probably grow 3.4 percent this year, or double the region’s pace, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“We expect to increase our presence in Argentina and Mexico, with more of a niche presence in Argentina, focusing on commodities and financial products, and a full-fledged presence in Mexico,” Esteves, BTG’s chief executive officer, said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 21.

An acquisition in Mexico of an asset- or wealth-management company, an investment bank or some combination of those businesses “is always a possibility,” he said.

The plan for asset management is to develop local fixed-income and equity funds to take advantage of a change in regulations that allows one bank to distribute products from another, Artigas said. BTG opened its broker-dealer in the country in March 2014, and has 30 employees there, he said.

“We use the Brazilian balance sheet to lend, and we are aiming to increase our $150 million exposure to Mexican companies,” Artigas said.

Tech Spending

The bank is also trying to expand its broker-dealer business and invested more than $1 million on technology to create a platform that will also serve high-frequency traders, he said.

Daily equity trading in Mexico totals about $1 billion, according to the stock exchange.

In investment banking, BTG will need to hire a replacement for Enrique Pani, the former head of that business in Mexico who joined Bank of America Corp. this month.

“If they took this banker from us, it’s because we are doing things right,” Artigas said of Pani’s departure.

BTG participated in six equity offerings in Mexico since 2012 totaling more than $7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In M&A, the firm advised Grupo Financiero Inbursa SAB on its pending acquisition of Standard Bank Group Ltd.’s unit in Brazil, announced last March. It also helped Bolsa Mexicana de Valores SAB acquire a stake in Bolsa de Valores de Lima in 2013.

“Among emerging markets, Mexico is still the place to be,” Artigas said.

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