As investor interest waxed and waned in Latin America, the region’s corporate access providers have had to stay one step ahead of the markets.
“After a period of strong search for access to markets in Latin America, especially Brazil, due to low interest rates and abundant liquidity in 2021, at the start of 2022 we saw a different scenario, with rising interest rates, a new Covid variant and the war in Ukraine. This partly scared off investor interest in Brazil,” said Juliana Dias, head of corporate access for BTG Pactual. “But the scenario rapidly changed, since the focus shifted much more to commodities, and due to the more attractive levels of the Brazilian market.”
Due to the limitations imposed by the pandemic, Dias said BTG Pactual swiftly adapted its offering to the online world again. “We chose the best platforms and tools to offer the best experience in online events, ensuring that interactions continued to take place, and with no loss of content quality,” she said, reporting that in 2021 the firm had 40,000 interactions thanks to online events.
“These transformations enabled us to massively scale up the scope of our activities as we no longer had geographical barriers for companies, speakers, and investors, meaning we could boost attendance levels and offer each event [and] activity to all our global clients,” she added.
It seems BTG Pactual’s efforts have paid off, as the firm continues to impress both the buy-side and corporations. The Brazilian bank was once again the No 1. firm in Institutional Investor’s 2022 ranking of Latin America’s Top Corporate Access Providers, based on feedback from participants in the region’s research and executive team surveys.
More than 200 investors at 165 buy-side firms voted to recognize the top providers across six corporate access attributes: conferences; field trips; logistics; roadshows; team quality; and virtual events across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and the North Andean countries.
A trio of local firms followed BTG Pactual in the buyside’s ranking, with Bradesco BBI in second, Santander in third, and Itau BBA in fourth. Credit Suisse, rounding out the top five, was the highest-ranked global firm.
BTG Pactual also topped the leaderboard based on the executive point of view, where 151 corporates ranked their top sell-side firms on the following attributes: investor feedback; investor introductions or ad hoc requests; non-deal roadshows; reverse roadshows or site visits; and virtual conferences. Global firms had more traction here with Credit Suisse in second place and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in third. Itau BBA took fourth.
As corporate access returns to the in-person world, BTG Pactual’s Dias cautioned that the gains from the industry’s digital transformation shouldn’t be abandoned.
“After the peak of the pandemic, with the return to on-site work activities, our parameters and forecasts regarding behavior must be constantly monitored so that we can understand the modus operandi of this new behavior going forward,” she said. “The main challenge is to have our minds and eyes open to perceive how our clients are engaging in the different forms of corporate access that we offer, and to format our actions, instead of repeating pre-established formats.”
As foreign investor interest increased in Latin America, BTG Pactual organized more visits to Brazil. “On these occasions, we noted that these investors increasingly seek more in-depth knowledge of companies — i.e., offering meetings with C-level executives is no longer enough. We need to think about site visits that give clients a 360 degree view of the operations of the companies they are interested in,” she said.
Increasingly, Dias said, institutional investors are seeking access to market experts that can refine their analyses, Dias added. “Our constant challenge is to be at the forefront of market trends and proactively offer new approaches and content,” she said. “We also always think about formats that are conducive to qualified, more in-depth talks, unlike large presentations that do not permit more organic interactions.”
For example, BTG Pactual has been investing in technology and platforms for increased client experience for hybrid events. “Technology is clearly the No. 1 ally in our daily work,” Dias said. “We are always seeking the correct and most modern tools to improve our processes and integration with sales, research, trading and IBD.”
Recently the firm transformed all of its one-on-one conferences into virtual events, organized with live assistance to companies — despite a large number of participating companies at the same time. “How to be present in 100 meetings at the same time, at every hour?” said Dias. “Using BTG Pactual´s space, equipment and technology team, we can deliver a live concierge service, so that all participants feel welcome and all meetings take place fluidly and on time.”