MOVES-JPMorgan hires four for Brazil private banking unit, sources say
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal
SAO PAULO Dec 7 (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co hired four executives to increase coverage of private-banking activities in Brazil, where competition for existing and new clients is mounting as Latin America's largest economy plunges into recession, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.
The New York-based bank, which has served wealthy families in Brazil for over half a century, hired Ricardo Taira, Leonardo Bulgareli, Carlos Amarante and Jayme Freixo last month to focus on increasing JPMorgan's customer base in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states and the country's south, said the sources, who requested anonymity since the decision is private.
Taira, a banker with over two decades in the industry, had quit rival Credit Suisse Group AG before joining JPMorgan, the first source said. Bulgareli, Amarante and Freixo also left the Swiss lender, one of the largest wealth managers in Brazil, the second source noted.
The four bankers will report to Juliana Pagetti, a managing director for JPMorgan's private banking unit based in São Paulo, the first source added.
A spokeswoman for JPMorgan in New York declined to comment.
JPMorgan and other players in Brazil's $190 billion industry are responding to a recession and rising benchmark interest rates by offering clients a broader mix of investment options. Industry players expect Brazil's private-banking assets to expand less than 10 percent this year and next, down from about 20 percent annually between 2008 and 2013, when the number of Brazilian millionaires surged to a record.
According to the sources, JPMorgan's expertise in fund management, foreign exchange and brokerage services is already attracting clients from rivals. Increased demand for succession and estate planning, now that the government is raising taxes to plug a swelling budget deficit, is also expected to bring in more businesses.
A new window of expansion in Brazil's private-banking industry has also opened for local and international shops in the wake of massive client fund withdrawals from Grupo BTG Pactual SA, which until the Nov. 25 arrest of founder André Esteves was the nation's largest independent wealth manager.
According to the second source, JPMorgan and other banks have been getting former BTG Pactual clients since Esteves was arrested for allegedly trying to obstruct investigations in Brazil's largest corruption scandal ever. (Additional reporting by Tatiana Bautzer in São Paulo; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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