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The 2014 Latin America Research Team: Local-Markets Strategy, No. 1: Ilan Goldfajn, Ciro Matuo & team

Ilan Goldfajn, Ciro Matuo & team Itaú BBA First-place appearances: 2

Total appearances: 3

Team debut: 2012

Itaú BBA repeats in first place on this list. Leading the four-person, São Paulo–based squad this year are Ciro Matuo, 41, and Ilan Goldfajn, 48. Matuo also captains the top-ranked team in Corporate Debt, while Goldfajn directs the No. 3 teams in Economics and Sovereign Debt. “The quality of their research is excellent,” observes one fund manager. Another client admires their ability to “analyze the macro fundamentals based on economic data and their long experience.” The strategists forecast a weakening trend in the region’s currencies as a result of expected U.S. rate hikes, interest rate increases in markets like Mexico and steeper yield curves. “Amid faster global growth, especially in the U.S., and higher international interest rates, countries more dependent on global financing, like Brazil, should underperform countries more dependent on global demand, like Mexico,” Goldfajn says. In the latter market the team expects a pickup in economic activity, led by a better U.S. cycle in 2014 and the initial effects of reforms that should kick in next year. Meanwhile, Goldfajn adds, in Brazil inflation “should remain a challenge in coming years.” Although the researchers forecast that the nation’s interest rates will remain stable at 11 percent next year, that level is only enough to keep the rate of price increases at 6.5 percent. “More effort would be needed” to reduce inflation to the 4.5 percent center of the Banco Central do Brasil’s inflation target band, he advises. Goldfajn joined Itaú in 2009. He previously worked as an economist with Washington’s International Monetary Fund; a deputy director of economic policy at the BCB; and a portfolio manager at two Brazilian asset management firms, Gávea Investimentos and Ciano Investimentos Gestão de Recurso. He earned three degrees in economics: a bachelor’s from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, a master’s from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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