SAO PAULO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Grupo BTG Pactual SA's Chilean unit obtained a permanent banking license to operate in the country on Wednesday, allowing Latin America's largest independent investment bank to start operations in Chile by the end of January.
In a statement, BTG Pactual said the unit, known as Banco BTG Pactual Chile, wanted a full banking license in Chile to "grow in the country through a multi-service platform." BTG Pactual entered Chile with the $600 million acquisition of brokerage firm Celfin Capital SA in February 2012, but until now has not been allowed to operate in Chile under its own platform.
The license from Chile's banking and financial institutions regulator SBIF will allow Banco BTG Pactual Chile to start operations before Jan. 30, the statement said. It added that the focus will be on entering the local credit and derivatives markets and reinforcing current services such as institutional investing and wealth management.
The last time that SBIF awarded a license to a bank in Chile was in 2004, the statement said. Last year BTG Pactual began operating a broker dealer in Mexico.
Chile is a key stepping stone for BTG Pactual's international expansion, which Chief Executive Officer and controlling shareholder André Esteves said is justified because today's highly integrated world demands that regional banks become more global in scope. Under Esteves, BTG Pactual has expanded in global reinsurance, commodities trading and wealth management over the past year.
Units, or a blend of BTG Pactual's shares in its investment banking and private-equity divisions, surged 5.2 percent to 27.50 reais on Wednesday, on the back of a global rally in equity markets. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Aluísio Alves; editing by Matthew Lewis)