Investment Banking in Latin America (Andean Region)

Derivs's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 233

Hello Everyone,

I have a friend from Colombia/Chile/Ecuador/Peru who wants to get into finance (S&T or banking).

He is an international student who went to a US top 50 state university that has some OCR. However, he is a 2.0 math major with somewhat irrelevant experience (property management/ retail real estate/ retail mortgage). Though previously irresponsible, he is quite bright and has really shown discipline in his life recently.

His family and mine have moderate political and business connections in one of the aforementioned countries, but not necessarily within investment banks (tho looking into this more right now).

Any recommendations as to how to progress into ibanking in Latin America. Do you have to recruit here in the US and get placed in an office down there? Or do you have to compete with the the graduates from over there? Do you have to recruit over there? What type of students get placed Latin American offices? Would it help to go to a prestigious university there (his family knows some deans and presidents)? Is there an OCR system like here, but for say Chilean universities?

My bank doesn't really have a presence in Latin America or else I would also be asking around the office.

Thank you very much for your help.

Comments (58)

Feb 16, 2012

Hey Derivs - I am from Latam, went to a semi-target in the US and currently work in finance, tho not in investment banking per se. Investment banking (I will mostly focus on M&A here) in Latin America is relatively small, although growing quickly in some South American markets like Colombia, Peru and Brazil.

There are several avenues your friend could approach recruiting - some more viable than others:

-First, there are bulge bracket firms that have a Latam coverage team in NY. The GS and CS deal team for Latam are top notch, but I don't think your buddy would be a good fit. Other BBs like UBS and BofA have IBD focused in Latin America. Any family friends working here could potentially get him an interview.

-Sometimes, top firms have local teams operating in strategic cities. Lazard has a Latam subsidiary, MBA Lazard, which is worth looking into.

-Look into top banks that have a big presence in the region. Santander and BBVA have deal teams in Colombia and probably Brazil (although not a good time to look at Spanish banks...). Other top banks from the region with investment banking include BTG Pactual, Banco Itau BBA, Estructura Partners.

-Look into M&A boutiques stationed in the US with a focus in Latam. The two strategic cities to target are - not surprisingly - NYC and Miami. In NY take a look at a boutique like Athelera LLC or Kauffman Brothers. In Miami, boutiques like Broadspan or Triangle Partners are worth looking into. All are very competitive, and some connection is necessary to get the foot in the door with these firms.

-Lastly, look into boutique investment banks that are springing up in Latam. Costa Rica has an excellent M&A/PE shop called Mesoamerica Investments. There is IDB Financial Advisors with a presence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama, and The Network Co. in El Salvador...I would imagine your friend would find plenty of small firms springing up all over South America as well - it's all a matter of poking around and talking to a couple of people in the right places.

In sum, recruiting for Latam gigs in top banks will follow a very similar structure than in the US for other BBs. Smaller firms will require a blend of connections and networking. But you cannot understimate the value of connections...I did relatively well in college, and any interview I got in IB related to Latam was eventually tied back to some personal connection. Just how things roll in that part of the world.

Anyway, apologies if this is a rambling post.

Cheers.

    • 1
Feb 16, 2012

Esbanker, thank you for the reply. The post was informative and certainly not a ramble!

esbanker:

-Sometimes, top firms have local teams operating in strategic cities. Lazard has a Latam subsidiary, MBA Lazard, which is worth looking into.

I was actually just looking at MBA Lazard website. Flipping back and forth between the English and Spanish versions is helping me get familiarized with all the banking terms in Spanish, haha. Also, I noticed that Banco de Credito (the biggest bank in Peru) now has an investment banking division that they got through an acquisition.

esbanker:

-Look into M&A boutiques stationed in the US with a focus in Latam. The two strategic cities to target are - not surprisingly - NYC and Miami. In NY take a look at a boutique like Athelera LLC or Kauffman Brothers. In Miami, boutiques like Broadspan or Triangle Partners are worth looking into. All are very competitive, and some connection is necessary to get the foot in the door with these firms.

-Lastly, look into boutique investment banks that are springing up in Latam. Costa Rica has an excellent M&A/PE shop called Mesoamerica Investments. There is IDB Financial Advisors with a presence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama, and The Network Co. in El Salvador...I would imagine your friend would find plenty of small firms springing up all over South America as well - it's all a matter of poking around and talking to a couple of people in the right places.

Thank you for these firm recommendations. It's all very helpful.

esbanker:

In sum, recruiting for Latam gigs in top banks will follow a very similar structure than in the US for other BBs. Smaller firms will require a blend of connections and networking. But you cannot understimate the value of connections...I did relatively well in college, and any interview I got in IB related to Latam was eventually tied back to some personal connection. Just how things roll in that part of the world.

I was wondering how students that didn't go to college in the US end up in investment banking in Colombia, Chile, and Peru. For example, are there target schools (like the Universidad del Pacifico or Pontifica Universidad Catolica in Peru)? Would doing a Master's at one of these help him, or would his US degree (which in LatAm will be viewed highly favorably, even if it's not from a top ivy) combined with connections be enough?

Feb 17, 2012
Derivs:

I was wondering how students that didn't go to college in the US end up in investment banking in Colombia, Chile, and Peru. For example, are there target schools (like the Universidad del Pacifico or Pontifica Universidad Catolica in Peru)? Would doing a Master's at one of these help him, or would his US degree (which in LatAm will be viewed highly favorably, even if it's not from a top ivy) combined with connections be enough?

Not sure what the top schools in Peru or Chile are, but in Colombia La Universidad de Los Andes usually does a good job at sending people into investment banking in the region. That being said, I'm not sure how much upside there really is in doing a masters...Probably better off getting an MBA at a top b-school instead.

In all honesty, people in Latam are much more concerned about brand than gpa...From my experience, a 1.0 from a US target > 2.0 from a US university > 4.0 from local or regional university. I don't think that's always the smartest approach, but in this case it will benefit your friend. He's simply gotta familiarize himself with the financial world, hone in on the division he wants to work in (ie, IBD, S&T, ER, etc), and start networking. If finance in the US is tight knit, you'll quickly figure out how incestual it is in Latin America.

Good luck.

Feb 16, 2012

At least in Chile, you just have to network the shit out of it. I just got a job at a very small boutique basically out of the blue. A few months ago I interviewed for an asset management job that I though was an M&A advisory job, half way through told the guy I was not interested. He later passed my CV on to this firm, they called for an interview, and 2 days later I got the job (yesterday).

JP Morgan I know recruits in Chile, you compete against other Chileans. But with a 2.0 GPA this dude will be competing with very smart engineers (3.5 GPA and up) from 6 year programs for those entry level spots, a lot of these guys come from fancy connected families and have a lot of polish as well as good english. In his spot I wouldn't even bother with BBs at this stage. He can probably charm his way into something smaller if he can get the interview, that's basically what I did (as I have no finance experience and a pretty spotty resume at this point).

Chile off the cuff I'd say to cold call these guys:
www.southandes.com
www.hudsonbankers.com
www.ibpartners.cl
www.bancopenta.cl

And probably a few others. Good luck!

Feb 16, 2012

Greengohome, thank you for the information. You happen to be very well informed about Chile. Would you also have some recommendations from Peru or Colombia?

greengohome:

At least in Chile, you just have to network the shit out of it. I just got a job at a very small boutique basically out of the blue. A few months ago I interviewed for an asset management job that I though was an M&A advisory job, half way through told the guy I was not interested. He later passed my CV on to this firm, they called for an interview, and 2 days later I got the job (yesterday).

Congratulations on the job!!

greengohome:

JP Morgan I know recruits in Chile, you compete against other Chileans. But with a 2.0 GPA this dude will be competing with very smart engineers (3.5 GPA and up) from 6 year programs for those entry level spots, a lot of these guys come from fancy connected families and have a lot of polish as well as good english. In his spot I wouldn't even bother with BBs at this stage. He can probably charm his way into something smaller if he can get the interview, that's basically what I did (as I have no finance experience and a pretty spotty resume at this point).

Thank you for this advice. Indeed the upper slice of society in Latin America is very polished. He comes from family that has limited access to a former president (but the access is there). His english is solid (tho does not sound native). Do you think going to a Chilean MA would help him compete with the 3.5 engineers, or would it be a better use of his time to network and leverage connections?

Thanks for the links!

Feb 17, 2012

Do you think BAML or Citi is stronger in LatAm?

Feb 17, 2012

This post is huge. I'm looking into options about working in S&T in LATAM. Might have an opportunity with grupo aval in Colombia

Feb 22, 2012

Trying to bring this topic back. Would appreciate any insight. Do you think BAML or Citi is stronger in LatAm? And which would have better exit opps to PE.

Feb 22, 2012
tennisman1990:

Trying to bring this topic back. Would appreciate any insight. Do you think BAML or Citi is stronger in LatAm? And which would have better exit opps to PE.

no idea on the PE front, but neither is strong in Chile, Citi is only a brand here (bought out by Banco de Chile) and Merrill Lynch has a brokerage here but I don't know how strong they are in corporate finance & m&a... site makes it look like its mostly PWM.

somebody get the Chilean league tables, I think the strongest are JPM, SantanderGBM, LarrainVial, Banchile, and Celfin.

As for whether it's worth it to study at the pontificia... hard to say. I would think you would be able to get a job, but it might not be a very satisfactory job at first, salaries are lower here for young guys (as is cost of living fortunately). Is it worth some pain to break in to finance? Depends on the person. And $50 k sounds steep... the expensive MBA programs here are only 10.000.000 pesos a year or thereabouts.. I'd guess the cost of a year of master of finance would be about 8.000.000 or so.

Lets keep the thread alive, sorry I dropped the ball... I'm starting the new job on the 12th so hopefully I will have more insight in a few weeks ;)

Feb 23, 2012

Thanks for getting back to me. Trying to get a clear answer on whether Citi or BAML is better in LatAm and which would have better exit opps.

Feb 28, 2012
tennisman1990:

Thanks for getting back to me. Trying to get a clear answer on whether Citi or BAML is better in LatAm and which would have better exit opps.

In terms of exit opps, my sense is that both would be very solid. For M&A specifically, Citi > BAML when it comes to deal volume, but BAML > Citi when it comes to deal value. Again, I think it's pretty close and I would focus more on team dynamics and people if making a decision between these two.

Feb 24, 2012

Also interested in this

Feb 28, 2012

Ouch... coming from Universidad de Chile, I agree with you on the English point... the truth hurts. The good thing about the University of Chile though (vs. Adolfo Ibanez) is that the kids going in have all at least passed the barrier of the standardized testing, which in my experience means that the dumbest University of Chile grad is usually smarter than the dumbest Adolfo Ibanez grad. On the other hand, University of Chile grads usually lack polish and people skills (again these are all huge generalizations).

Adolfo Ibanez masters for undergraduate business administration students is a marketing strategy, it's the same as the last year of the Business Admin and Industrial Engineering programs at U.Chile / U.Catolica - this is obvious, since you can graduate and still go on to do a masters degree for which Adolfo Ibanez will be happy to charge you for (and it is greatly in excess of what you will have paid for your undergraduate "masters")

Adolfo masters = everywhere else's bachelors... and Catolica uber alles except for MBA, where Adolfo is the next best thing to a US/Euro MBA

And consulting in Chile in my opinion isn't worth it unless you can swing MBB... local banking jobs are much better paid, get more respect, have cooler people, etc than local consulting jobs.

Lots of opinions in this post BTW, this is just my POV and I'm sure that many Chileans would disagree.

Feb 29, 2012
greengohome:

Ouch... coming from Universidad de Chile, I agree with you on the English point... the truth hurts. The good thing about the University of Chile though (vs. Adolfo Ibanez) is that the kids going in have all at least passed the barrier of the standardized testing, which in my experience means that the dumbest University of Chile grad is usually smarter than the dumbest Adolfo Ibanez grad. On the other hand, University of Chile grads usually lack polish and people skills (again these are all huge generalizations).

Adolfo Ibanez masters for undergraduate business administration students is a marketing strategy, it's the same as the last year of the Business Admin and Industrial Engineering programs at U.Chile / U.Catolica - this is obvious, since you can graduate and still go on to do a masters degree for which Adolfo Ibanez will be happy to charge you for (and it is greatly in excess of what you will have paid for your undergraduate "masters")

Adolfo masters = everywhere else's bachelors... and Catolica uber alles except for MBA, where Adolfo is the next best thing to a US/Euro MBA

And consulting in Chile in my opinion isn't worth it unless you can swing MBB... local banking jobs are much better paid, get more respect, have cooler people, etc than local consulting jobs.

Lots of opinions in this post BTW, this is just my POV and I'm sure that many Chileans would disagree.

Greengo, I completely agree with you.

The good thing about U Chile and Catolica is that the "volatility" of its student body is lower that say Ibanez, where in my opinion only 20-30% (probably entered with scholarships) are high achievers, whereas at Catolica, about 70-80% and Chile 50-60%. I hire people from those universities, and I have to strongly agree with the interpersonal skills of U of Chile graduates. I am hiring btw, and I would be just happy to find someone from any of those universities.

Feb 28, 2012

Salaries in the andean region tend to be too low, I am thinking of relocating myself, but salaries are depressing.

Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards. - Tacitus

Dr. Nick Riviera: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!

Feb 29, 2012
El_Mono:

Salaries in the andean region tend to be too low, I am thinking of relocating myself, but salaries are depressing.

Sure but at least in Chile, taxes are cheap, and you can live in a nice appt with a maid as a lowly analyst. I guess it depends on your priorities in life.

Feb 29, 2012
greengohome:
El_Mono:

Salaries in the andean region tend to be too low, I am thinking of relocating myself, but salaries are depressing.

Sure but at least in Chile, taxes are cheap, and you can live in a nice appt with a maid as a lowly analyst. I guess it depends on your priorities in life.

Thats why I want to relocate XD, Lebensqualitat!

Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards. - Tacitus

Dr. Nick Riviera: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!

Oct 2, 2012

Hi everyone,

What about Spaniards' chances in Latin America? I would like to break into investment banking too, but have no connections. Currently I'm doing my PhD in construction management in China, but knowing that I want to make the move and the importance of a previous internship to do so, I have started looking for summer internships.
Do I have any chances? I did my master in the US with a GPA of 3.7, but my undergrad Spanish GPA is terrible, although Spanish average.

Thanks!

Oct 3, 2012
zumbito:

Hi everyone,

What about Spaniards' chances in Latin America? I would like to break into investment banking too, but have no connections. Currently I'm doing my PhD in construction management in China, but knowing that I want to make the move and the importance of a previous internship to do so, I have started looking for summer internships.
Do I have any chances? I did my master in the US with a GPA of 3.7, but my undergrad Spanish GPA is terrible, although Spanish average.

Thanks!

You have every chance in the world but you'll be up against every other Spanish guy looking for work in LA (escapando from the terrible recession in Spain). I just went to the alum event for the MBB consulting firm I worked for in Santiago and it was well attended by Spanish ex consultants who are working in the region (which was not the case last year).

Good luck and let me know if you have any Chile specific questions.

Jan 5, 2013
greengohome:
zumbito:

Hi everyone,

What about Spaniards' chances in Latin America? I would like to break into investment banking too, but have no connections. Currently I'm doing my PhD in construction management in China, but knowing that I want to make the move and the importance of a previous internship to do so, I have started looking for summer internships.
Do I have any chances? I did my master in the US with a GPA of 3.7, but my undergrad Spanish GPA is terrible, although Spanish average.

Thanks!

You have every chance in the world but you'll be up against every other Spanish guy looking for work in LA (escapando from the terrible recession in Spain). I just went to the alum event for the MBB consulting firm I worked for in Santiago and it was well attended by Spanish ex consultants who are working in the region (which was not the case last year).

Good luck and let me know if you have any Chile specific questions.

Hi Greengohome,

I actually have one. Do you know what banks are more active in infrastructre financing and PPP in Chile? I am planning to do my thesis in this topic and might end up working in some infrastructure investment fund or infrastructure IB group. I would have sent you a PM but not enough banana points...

Jan 7, 2013
zumbito:

Hi Greengohome,

I actually have one. Do you know what banks are more active in infrastructre financing and PPP in Chile? I am planning to do my thesis in this topic and might end up working in some infrastructure investment fund or infrastructure IB group. I would have sent you a PM but not enough banana points...

All of the banks in consortia are involved with infrastructure finance, but specifically the big banks with systemic risk (Santander, Banco de Chile, and to a lesser degree BCI) will go alone and/or lead syndicated credit facilities. Of the smaller banks, BICE, BBVA and Security are more involved than some of the others.

Oct 7, 2012
esbanker:

Hey Derivs - I am from Latam, went to a semi-target in the US and currently work in finance, tho not in investment banking per se. Investment banking (I will mostly focus on M&A here) in Latin America is relatively small, although growing quickly in some South American markets like Colombia, Peru and Brazil.

There are several avenues your friend could approach recruiting - some more viable than others:

-First, there are bulge bracket firms that have a Latam coverage team in NY. The GS and CS deal team for Latam are top notch, but I don't think your buddy would be a good fit. Other BBs like UBS and BofA have IBD focused in Latin America. Any family friends working here could potentially get him an interview.

-Sometimes, top firms have local teams operating in strategic cities. Lazard has a Latam subsidiary, MBA Lazard, which is worth looking into.

-Look into top banks that have a big presence in the region. Santander and BBVA have deal teams in Colombia and probably Brazil (although not a good time to look at Spanish banks...). Other top banks from the region with investment banking include BTG Pactual, Banco Itau BBA, Estructura Partners.

-Look into M&A boutiques stationed in the US with a focus in Latam. The two strategic cities to target are - not surprisingly - NYC and Miami. In NY take a look at a boutique like Athelera LLC or Kauffman Brothers. In Miami, boutiques like Broadspan or Triangle Partners are worth looking into. All are very competitive, and some connection is necessary to get the foot in the door with these firms.

-Lastly, look into boutique investment banks that are springing up in Latam. Costa Rica has an excellent M&A/PE shop called Mesoamerica Investments. There is IDB Financial Advisors with a presence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama, and The Network Co. in El Salvador...I would imagine your friend would find plenty of small firms springing up all over South America as well - it's all a matter of poking around and talking to a couple of people in the right places.

In sum, recruiting for Latam gigs in top banks will follow a very similar structure than in the US for other BBs. Smaller firms will require a blend of connections and networking. But you cannot understimate the value of connections...I did relatively well in college, and any interview I got in IB related to Latam was eventually tied back to some personal connection. Just how things roll in that part of the world.

Anyway, apologies if this is a rambling post.

Cheers.

Jul 17, 2014

I know that Credit Suisse is extremely strong in Latin America (it's the #1 IB in Brazil). In their NYC office though, they do mostly M&A, as IPOs and capital markets are done at the local offices.

Jul 17, 2014

...

Jul 17, 2014

I know its been a while since this thread has been touch but was wondering what you think between Citi and BAML in LatAm. Who has the edge?

Jul 17, 2014

With regards to IB

  • laloca
  •  Oct 7, 2012
esbanker:

Hey Derivs - I am from Latam, went to a semi-target in the US and currently work in finance, tho not in investment banking per se. Investment banking (I will mostly focus on M&A here) in Latin America is relatively small, although growing quickly in some South American markets like Colombia, Peru and Brazil.

There are several avenues your friend could approach recruiting - some more viable than others:

-First, there are bulge bracket firms that have a Latam coverage team in NY. The GS and CS deal team for Latam are top notch, but I don't think your buddy would be a good fit. Other BBs like UBS and BofA have IBD focused in Latin America. Any family friends working here could potentially get him an interview.

-Sometimes, top firms have local teams operating in strategic cities. Lazard has a Latam subsidiary, MBA Lazard, which is worth looking into.

-Look into top banks that have a big presence in the region. Santander and BBVA have deal teams in Colombia and probably Brazil (although not a good time to look at Spanish banks...). Other top banks from the region with investment banking include BTG Pactual, Banco Itau BBA, Estructura Partners.

-Look into M&A boutiques stationed in the US with a focus in Latam. The two strategic cities to target are - not surprisingly - NYC and Miami. In NY take a look at a boutique like Athelera LLC or Kauffman Brothers. In Miami, boutiques like Broadspan or Triangle Partners are worth looking into. All are very competitive, and some connection is necessary to get the foot in the door with these firms.

-Lastly, look into boutique investment banks that are springing up in Latam. Costa Rica has an excellent M&A/PE shop called Mesoamerica Investments. There is IDB Financial Advisors with a presence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama, and The Network Co. in El Salvador...I would imagine your friend would find plenty of small firms springing up all over South America as well - it's all a matter of poking around and talking to a couple of people in the right places.

In sum, recruiting for Latam gigs in top banks will follow a very similar structure than in the US for other BBs. Smaller firms will require a blend of connections and networking. But you cannot understimate the value of connections...I did relatively well in college, and any interview I got in IB related to Latam was eventually tied back to some personal connection. Just how things roll in that part of the world.

Anyway, apologies if this is a rambling post.

Cheers.

Jul 17, 2014

bump bump bump

Jul 17, 2014

I interviewed for a LatAm group at a BB a while ago. FT or SA?

Jul 17, 2014

This is for SA.

Jul 17, 2014

Interested in hearing how LatAm deal flow is these days at the BBs. I always thought of this space as one better served by MM shops given the nature of the region.

Jul 17, 2014

bump any other thoughts?

Jul 17, 2014

I'd be curious to hear about this as well.

Jan 19, 2013

Can anybody comment on any of these LatAm M&A firms in Miami? Which one has the best reputation?

PAF Securities
BroadSpan
INTL FCStone (Forbes Fortune 30)

Jul 17, 2014

Hey guys, can somebody throw me a bone here please? Even Latino jokes are welcomed, most of the related search i did in the website had no answers!. Of course helpful on the topic comments would be better XD.

Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards. - Tacitus

Dr. Nick Riviera: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!

Jul 17, 2014

It's been less than 4 hours on a saturday night...chill

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jul 17, 2014

True, forgot that. Im guessing it was not the best time to ask this. Anyway Ill insist on this one on Monday and help solve that Pablo Escobar question in the meantime.

Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards. - Tacitus

Dr. Nick Riviera: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!

Jul 17, 2014

Ok guys, now, monday morning, Id like to bring this topic back. Do anyone of you have information about Investment Banking in Latin America?.

Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards. - Tacitus

Dr. Nick Riviera: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!

Jul 17, 2014

Nope.

Jan 22, 2013

Out of those three, I've only heard of BroadSpan. the company has a good brand.

Jul 17, 2014
bluefinancer:

Just PM me and we'll take this conversation off line.

HAHAHAHAHA. Spoken like a true banker.

Jul 17, 2014

What Turkish Ibankers discussion??

Jul 17, 2014
Jul 17, 2014
Comment
Jan 28, 2013