Growing wealth and stability in South America is prompting an uptick in efforts to sell structured derivatives into the region.
Underscoring the trend is the hiring by Morgan Stanley of a wealth management team from Goldman Sachs that will be selling derivative-based notes and funds into the region. The additions join several senior staffers Morgan Stanley hired from Lehman Brothers to cover Latin America in November. UBS is also establishing a structured investments sales team in the region since buying Brazilian bank Banco Pactual in the summer.
An equity derivative official at Morgan Stanley said the team hire will help it sell structured equity products into Latin America. "The high-net-worth space there is very interesting, not least because there are no incumbents," he said, explaining it is very different from trying to break into high-net-worth sales in Switzerland, for example. Calls to Ernesto de la Fe, head of Latin America for Morgan Stanley's private wealth management arm, were referred to corporate communications.
While a handful of firms, including ABN AMRO, JPMorgan and Merrill Lynch, have been covering the region from New York or London, the area is seen as a relative greenfield for other dealers to build on both structured equity derivative sales in the Americas and get into the lucrative business of private wealth management. Headhunters in New York report equity derivative sales officials with experience covering the region are among the most-requested for firms' post-bonus season hiring spree.
The region is kicking off for structured equity sales now because several years of stability since currency devaluations caused financial chaos in Argentina in 2001 and Mexico in 1994 has produced a middle class with money to invest.