A Definitive Leader Has Emerged in Brazil Research
Amid vast uncertainty, one provider has claimed the top spot in II’s All-Brazil Research Team.
A tumultuous 2022 election cycle and a lagging market left investors with more questions than ever about Brazil.
“From Brazil’s October 2022 elections, through to early April this year, the main question we received from investors was: “What is the government’s plan?” said Andre Carvalho, director of research at Bradesco BBI. “Indeed, there appeared to be a clear lack of clarity about where Brazil was heading. There was uncertainty about the current administration being ideological or pragmatic, as, until April this year, [there had been] no visibility . . . on the fiscal adjustment plan.”
Additionally, the MSCI Brazil has been trading at depressed multiples since the middle 2022, pricing in a high risk of macro disarray after the presidential and congressional elections of last year. Brazilian equity multiples were depressed across the board, with more than 85 percent of the MSCI Brazil regularly trading at attractive valuations.
“The year started quite volatile, with investors trying to understand the new government’s main policies and goals,” said Carlos Sequeira, head of research at BTG Pactual. “After a few months and increased clarity on the government’s fiscal policies, focus shifted to a broad, complex, and challenging tax reform that the government and Congress hope to get approved still this year.”
Fortunately, investors had an elite group of sell-side firms to turn to for answers. These firms were recognized in Institutional Investor’s 20th annual All-Brazil Research Team, based on the opinions of nearly 650 individuals across 371 firms with significant Latin America holdings.
In a competitive domestic field, BTG Pactual broke a two-year tie with Bradesco BBI to claim the sole No. 1 spot this year. Bradesco BBI placed second by the narrowest of margins, with only one team position separating the two firms. BTG Pactual maintained its 19 positions from last year, while Bradesco BBI garnered 18.
Itau BBA tied with Bradesco BBI for second place this year, after making a meteoric rise up the leaderboard from ninth place in 2022. Two global banks, JPMorgan Chase and BofA Securities, placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
In line with other II surveys, the results were weighted based on a respondent’s commission spending in the region. Three additional leaderboards — including two weighted by assets under management and two based on individual analysts — were also produced, and these hewed closely to the commission-weighted team results.
BTG Pactual’s Sequeira reported that his firm has done extensive work involving its strategy, macro, and sector teams to keep clients on top of everything related to the ongoing tax reform in Brazil and its expected impacts.
“BTG Pactual has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to help our clients understand and navigate the complexities of Brazil’s broad tax reform, which was just approved in the Lower House this month,” he said.
The prevailing high uncertainty on economic policy increased market volatility, reducing demand for long shelf-life reports and in favor of cross-sector pieces, scenario analyzes, and reports tackling specific issues, according to Bradesco’s Carvalho.
“As the market displayed no clear trend last year and clients were facing redemptions, the demand for sell-side services was even more intense,” he said. “As a result, we needed to be in front of clients more often and we needed to connect them with people in a timely way.”
This connection has increasingly occurred in the real world, as Bradesco BBI’s research team began holding in-person meetings in 2022 and has been intensifying face-to-face contact with clients ever since. “However, we believe that research will not return to the pre-pandemic world, and we will continue living in a hybrid environment,” Carvalho said. “Virtual meetings are cheaper and can be arranged faster. They are also not constrained by infrastructure issues. Virtual meetings also allow us to connect our clients with people from almost anywhere around the globe, at a reasonable price, and at a brisk pace. Also, we are able to meet clients from other regions more often.”
For Sequeira and BTG Pactual, the goal remains to provide clients with the insights and ideas that help them manage their businesses. “We have been providing a combination of short-term ideas and more fundamental, long-term calls and research aiming at covering all our clients’ needs,” he said.