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JPMorgan Returns to the Forefront of Latin America Sales

In a reversal, global firms lead II’s annual ranking of the region’s top generalist sales teams.

A global bank has been reinstated as the top equity sales firm in Latin America.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. returns to first place in Institutional Investor’s 2019 Latin America Sales Team. The comeback arrives one year after JPMorgan’s three-year run as the region’s equity sales leader was interrupted by a slate of domestic banks dominating the ranking.

The 2019 results show a slight reversal in that trend. While Brazil-based BTG Pactual maintained its second place finish, other global firms surged in the rankings to dominate the upper half of the leaderboard. UBS improved from last year’s sixth place finish to take third, while Citi rose from eighth to fourth place. Credit Suisse repeated in fifth place. Last year’s winner, Itaú BBA, did not actively participate in the survey this year but was still ranked among the top 10. 

The flurry of movement in this year’s rankings may partly be the result of investors cautiously renewing their interest in Latin American markets, following recent elections in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

“Over the last year, we have seen rising interest in Latin America as a response to improving fundamentals,” said Camila Penna, head of international equity sales at JPMorgan. She pointed to the October general election in Brazil as particularly noteworthy. 

“In Brazil, political leaders are trying to break with the past and embrace a regime change with an emphasis on liberal economic policies aimed at reducing the size of the state and at fighting bureaucracy,” Penna said. “While the execution risk remains an issue, investors are hoping to turn the page and find new growth and investment paths for Brazil.”

This includes recent inroads on an upcoming vote for Brazilian pension reform, which is considered key for restoring the markets, reducing the deficit, and increasing investment in the country. A late-April vote appeared to clear the way for President Jair Bolsonaro’s proposal, but momentum has slowed since then.

Penna believes that JPMorgan’s position as a global house with an on-the-ground local presence — combined with transparency, local market knowledge, and consistency — will continue to be of value to clients. 

“Over the years, we have maintained dedicated and experienced Latin America equity sales teams in key markets around the world — Brazil, Mexico, Chile, U.S., Europe, Canada, China — supported by an extensive global platform,” she said. “This business model has enabled us to provide personalized service to equity clients, and deliver high quality, highly specialized Latin America products that also incorporate a global view.” 

Providing global context for Latin American portfolios was one of the five sales attributes that members of the Latin America Sales Team were judged on, along with adding value to research, understanding client needs, offering good service and responsiveness, and generating quality ideas.

Respondents — including 590 buy‐side analysts and money managers at 363 institutions, representing an estimated $216 billion in Latin America equities — were asked to rank generalist sales teams from first through fourth. The final scores for each firm were used to form the top 10 leaderboard for generalist sales.

In line with other II rankings, a new leaderboard was introduced this year which weighted responses based on commissions paid to the sell-side as opposed to the respondent firm’s assets under management. In this commission-based weighting, JPMorgan, BTG Pactual, and UBS retained the first, second, and third place positions, respectively. Bradesco BBI placed fourth, and Credit Suisse took fifth.

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