May 23, 2017 / 3:33 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-UBS to buy stake in Brazil's Consenso in LatAm expansion push

(Adds quotes and background)

ZURICH, May 23 (Reuters) - UBS has agreed to buy a majority stake in Brazil’s Consenso, its first purchase in Latin America in four years as the world’s biggest wealth manager looks to grow its business in the region’s largest economy.

Sao Paulo-based Consenso, a wealth management and multi-family office, manages around 20 billion reals ($6.13 billion) in assets. UBS, with more than $2 trillion in invested assets, will acquire a significant stake, it said without giving specifics.

“This transaction will allow UBS to accelerate its expansion in Brazil and demonstrates our longstanding commitment to growing our wealth management business in this key market,” UBS’s head of wealth management for LatAm, Alejandro Velez, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The pair will combine their operations in Brazil in a business to be run by UBS executives and Consenso’s founding partners. UBS has roughly 8 billion reals in assets under management in Brazil.

They expect the deal, the price of which was not disclosed, to close in the beginning of the third quarter.

The acquisition is UBS’s first in the region since it acquired Link Investimentos in Brazil in 2013, a deal it agreed in 2010 and which had heralded the Swiss bank’s return to the Brazilian market.

It comes on the back of a challenging period for UBS in LatAm, which included a leadership change, the departures of key bankers in Mexico and billions in withdrawals in 2016 by clients participating in tax amnesty programmes.

The situation improved somewhat in the first quarter of 2017 with net new money in UBS’s emerging markets division, which includes LatAm, totalling 2.1 billion Swiss francs ($2.16 billion).

Private financial wealth in LatAm is seen rising to more than $7 trillion in 2020 from $4.8 trillion in 2015, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group.

($1 = 3.2834 reais)

$1 = 0.9718 Swiss francs Reporting by Joshua Franklin and John Revill, Editing by Michael Shields

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