Local Firms Dominate Trading and Execution in Latin America
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Local Firms Dominate Trading and Execution in Latin America

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And one firm stands above all the rest, according to II’s 2023 Latin America Trading Team.

BTG Pactual remains on top in Latin American trading and execution.

The firm extended its reign for a third year in Institutional Investor’s Latin America Trading Team, based on the opinions of 120 buy-side traders and money management professionals with investments in the region’s equities.

The firm was voted No. 1 in overall trading and execution and once again also topped the additional three categories: electronic trading, portfolio/program trading, and high-touch sales trading.

This was no easy feat amid another volatile year that included election cycles in Brazil and Colombia, high interest rates, and record local fund redemptions. Brokers in the region had to deploy various strategies to help their clients navigate the region.

“Presidential elections will always bring extra volatility to the markets and last year was no different with events in Brazil and Colombia,” said Guilherme Martins, global of head sales and trading at BTG Pactual. “As usual Brazil was the focus and the change in government and high interest rates led to record levels of redemptions in the local fund industry. As a broker in that scenario our mission was trying to minimize slippage for our clients, providing natural liquidity either using our local reach or taking advantage of our new suite of algos.”

Martins credited the firm’s continued success to its experienced team and strong local and international relationships; however, he reported that technology played a larger role than ever before.

“Significant advances in our trading technology made our traders more efficient with no need to increase headcount,” he said. “Our algos are tailored to each Latin America market, which has helped reduce price impacts in the markets. Being present in every single relevant market in Latam helps our clients solve their needs in a one-stop-shop format. Overall, we believe we did well despite the challenging scenario and lack of ECM transactions.”

In addition to BTG Pactual, a passel of local firms dominated this year’s trading and execution rankings—with some big improvements from last year. Itau BBA, jumping four spots, placed second in the overall ranking, followed by Bradesco BBI in third place, up five from 2022. BofA Securities was the only bulge-bracket bank to crack the top five. BofA took fourth place, up from seventh last year, and Santander rounded out the top five.

The electronic trading and high-touch sales trading categories mirrored the overall trading standings. In portfolio/program trading, Itau BBA took second and BofA Securities placed third. Bradesco BBI and Morgan Stanley took fourth and fifth, respectively. The latter three were unranked in this category last year.

While it has been a difficult year, there are opportunities on the horizon — mostly around Mexico — according to BTG Pactual’s Martins. “On the bright side we have noticed a recent increase in interest for Mexico and I believe this is the challenge for this year, to make LatAm product relevant again,” Martins.

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