The private bank of JPMorgan Chase & Co is expanding in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, the unit's regional general manager said on Wednesday, at a time when wealth creation and political changes improve the outlook for the sector.
The bank plans to increase the number of its leading private bankers in Latin America by 15 percent, said the executive, Adam Tejpaul, in an interview.
JPMorgan Private Bank employs 450 people in the region and most of them work advising clients. BBVA Bancomer, Citi, Credit Suisse, and Santander also have private banking businesses in Mexico, as well as the largest Mexican financial group Banorte.
The bank's growth priorities are Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia, Tejpaul said, although it also serves clients in Brazil, Chile, Peru, and even Venezuela, despite the economic and political crisis in the South American country.
Tejpaul said the increase in regional staff should help the bank expand its client base by up to 20 percent, although it declined to disclose specific numbers.
"Mexico has had a lot of wealth creation and the number of wealthy people has increased significantly," said Tejpaul.
Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim and many other lesser-known businessmen have accumulated fortunes in recent decades, although wealth tends to be unevenly distributed in Mexico, as is the case in other regions of Latin America.
Tejpaul said the bank would offer more products and services to customers who want to transfer their wealth to future generations, including tax planning.
"If we think about Latin America in general, there is a lot of volatility in the market and political instability," Tejpaul said, adding that this is why clients in emerging markets are generally more conservative in their investment decisions.
The talks between Mexico, the United States, and Canada to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) lasted for months last year, stopping at times.
The leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, now president, campaigned successfully for a dramatic change in policies of the previous government.
"This affects their perception of where and how they want to invest their wealth, more globally, more locally," said Tejpaul.