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Derivatives

BBVA U.S. Deal Stirs Structured Buzz

Spanish retail bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria announced Feb. 16 its purchase of U.S. bank Compass Bancshares, prompting buzz in the structured equity market the firm could use the U.S. branches to distribute equity-linked investment products.

Spanish retail bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria announced Feb. 16 its purchase of U.S. bank Compass Bancshares, prompting buzz in the structured equity market the firm could use the U.S. branches to distribute equity-linked investment products.

BBVA is one of the biggest sellers of structured equity notes in Spain and has a sizeable business in the rest of Europe and Latin America. It has also just made a push into Asia (DW, 12/1). BBVA officials declined comment on its plans for the U.S. Ulla Karppinen, spokeswoman for BBVA in Madrid, said it is too early to discuss details of how the U.S. group will be organized. She also noted it will take the firm some time to get the appropriate regulatory approvals for its business in the U.S.

Structured equity officials in New York, however, said "it makes sense" BBVA will look to sell its investment products through the U.S. branches. Buying up brokers or banks in the U.S. has been an important means for European firms to sell structured products to U.S. investors. Deutsche Bank, for example, acquired Alex. Brown & Sons through its purchase of Bankers Trust in 1999.

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