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JPMorgan Extends Winning Streak in Latin America Sales

BTG Pactual and Credit Suisse rose to the top three in II’s annual ranking of the region’s best equities sales teams.

  • Staff

From The Latin America Sales Team 2017 ranking

JPMorgan Chase & Co. was voted the best sales firm for a third straight year in Institutional Investor’s annual ranking of Latin American equities sales teams.

The bank continued its reign in regional equities sales as others fell to the competition in this latest survey of buy-side analysts and money managers investing in Latin America stocks. Local investment bank BTG Pactual jumped to No. 2 from No. 6, while last year’s second place finisher, Bank of America Corp., dropped to No. 10 in the 2017 survey.

Respondents rated firms based on characteristics such as research communication, idea generation, and overall quality of service. JPMorgan scored highly across multiple attributes, with voters taking a favorable view of its specialty services and quality relationships with clients, as well as the global context provided by the firm’s salespeople for Latin America portfolios.

Camila Penna, JPMorgan’s head of Latin America equity sales, said her team regularly leverages the firm’s position as a large, global investment bank by working with counterparts in other regions. “We work hard, as a team, to partner and add value to our clients,” she said.

Rodrigo Goes, who leads BTG Pactual’s equity sales and trading, attributed his firm’s success to its veteran sales team. II’s survey found the bank was valued for its understanding of client needs and accessible research analysts.

“When you look at our team, it’s generally more senior than the industry average,” he said. “We stand out as being more experienced, more seasoned.”

Credit Suisse Group placed third in II’s rankings, rising from seventh in 2016. Itaú BBA, which ranked third last year, dropped to fifth place in 2017.

[II Deep Dive: JPMorgan Tops 2016 Latin America Sales Team]

Although many firms have downsized in the wake of tough market conditions and the rise of regulations focused on unbundling sell-side services, Goes said BTG Pactual has benefited from its partnership structure, as many of the sales team members are partners in the firm.

“We have a lot less turnover,” he said. “We haven’t really changed the headcount or experience of our overall team.”

Emerson Leite, director of Latin America equity research at Credit Suisse, similarly pointed to the longevity of the firm’s sales team as a key trait. In II’s survey, the firm was rated highly for its quality of service, intensity and responsiveness.

“What differentiates us from the crowd is that we have a very consistent team that, for the most part, have been working for Credit Suisse for a long time,” Leite said. “In spite of bad market conditions, we’ve been able to keep a stable team of people with years of market experience. Having a team that’s been together for a long time makes a lot of difference.”

Leite also highlighted the importance of an on-the-ground, local presence, saying that Credit Suisse has sales teams in Mexico and Brazil.

“More and more, clients have access to a lot of information, and what they really want is someone who can interpret that information and give a more articulated view of what is happening out there,” he said.

BTG Pactual is expanding its Latin American presence for this very reason, making a “significant” investment in Argentina, according to Goes.

“It was sort of the only missing piece to our service offering,” he said. “Up until a few years ago, we still weren’t quite sure which direction Argentina was headed, but as it became increasingly clear that things were looking up we wanted to have people there.”

Beyond its Brazil headquarters, BTG Pactual already had a large presence in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Goes said the Argentina office is still “subscale” relative to the country’s potential, but expects it to become a substantial source of value for the firm and its clients.

“Our philosophy is that unless you have people on the ground you’re not going to be able to provide value-add information services,” he said. “That’s our MO – we want to have locals working locally, people with significant contacts and significant experience who are actually living what the markets go through. Anyone trying to understand these markets from New York is going to be way behind.”