Top banks from Citigroup Inc to Deutsche Bank AG have been retreating from Latin America. They have their reasons, but they’re also leaving big opportunities, said Pablo Pizzimbono, chief executive officer and new owner of Barclay Investments LLC. “I don’t know that there’s been any time in the past 20 or 30 years that Latin America has needed as much capital and funding as it needs today,” he said in a telephone interview. Pizzimbono, who spent 12 years at HSBC where he was the Americas head of global market sales, bought Barclay in March for an undisclosed sum and is expanding his 13-person New York-based broker-dealer with a focus on luring U.S. investors with opportunities in emerging markets and, in particular, Latin America. Barclay Investments has no relation to Barclays Plc.
"Many of the large U.S. and European banks are divesting or closing in Latin American," Pizzimbono said. "Many of the Latin American banks, the Brazilians and others that had begun to make some inroads in global distribution have had to retrench and focus mostly on internal issues in the banks. For us, it’s great timing.” Hires thus far have included managing partners Karim Zahmoul, a former head of emerging markets structuring and co-head of emerging market sales at Barclays Capital, and Marcelo Berenstein, who led Latin America origination and distribution for structured solutions at Morgan Stanley. Hernan Yellati, formerly the head of research and strategy at BancTrust & Co., also joined as managing director and head of emerging market strategy. More key hires are in the works, Pizzimbono said. "