Taking the LATAM lead

Chilean investment bank Celfin Capital is growing fast in Latin America – and has designs to advance north


For Celfin Capital, 2010 was a year of consolidation and looking to new horizons. In the Chilean market, Celfin strengthened its leadership position across all its business areas; while in the Peruvian market, the company’s brokerage, wealth management and corporate finance operations achieved significant positions and broke even in their second year of operation.

At the same time Celfin has started to expand into new markets. It received authorisation for brokerage in Colombia and began the process of application to US regulators, which will enable further expansion of Celfin’s operations and complement their geographical presence in the Andean region by the end of 2011.

Pole position
The past year has proven very successful for Celfin’s specific business areas. In Chile, brokerage was placed first in equity trading – by a measure that includes proprietary trading (by its corporate definition Celfin does not engage in proprietary trading, making this leadership position all the more impressive).

The fixed income team maintained the company’s liquidity position and created a distribution desk to serve Latin American clients with fixed income, foreign exchange and structured products. In corporate finance the team was once again a significant player in transactions and issues by non-Chilean entities in Chile, and by Chilean entities abroad; it also managed the first local transaction in Peru, and launched an infrastructure business.

In asset management, Celfin AUM grew by 34 percent and completed an important restructuring process that resulted in the adoption of the industry’s highest standards. The institutional distribution division maintained its lead as the principal distributor of funds to institutional clients in Chile, Peru and Colombia.

Wealth management assets grew by 73 percent, in part due to the strength of the private clients unit. The research team also expanded its coverage to Peru and Colombia, and now covers more than 45 companies in the region.

Industry recognition
In acknowledgement for its impressive results, Celfin has been recognised by a range of leading industry groups. Both Latin Finance and Diario Financiero/Deloitte voted for Celfin Capital as Best Financial Institution in Chile; Bolsa de Comercio ranked Celfin as the Number One Broker in Chile; and the company was named Advisory Broker of the Year in Latin America by World Finance.

“We know that our leadership position is difficult to maintain – and that we will only be able to do so if we go on making the same effort, day after day, to deliver excellent service through innovative products that satisfy our clients’ financial needs,” says Alejandro Montero, CEO of Celfin.

“To achieve this, we have embarked on a five-year plan, charting a course that will position us as one of the principal financial players in the Latin American market,” he says. “Our aim is to maintain a solid position of leadership in the Andean region and a significant presence in the rest of Latin America, delivering the best service and financial advice, so as to be the preferred choice of clients seeking to operate in those markets.”
Among other aims in Celfin’s five year plan is the goal to more than double the size of the company. To achieve this, it has the commitment of every single member of the organisation. “It is our people who make Celfin a company with a unique, innovative, meritocratic, daring culture, focused on results, working as a team that will continue to be the best,” says Juan Andres Camus, President of Celfin Capital.

“We have a great challenge ahead,” he says, “but we are confident that we can meet it, knowing that what has brought us to our present point of achievement is the same thing that will enable us to continue to grow: attention to detail in service to our clients, our close and personal relationship with them, impeccable execution of each transaction and the support and commitment of each one of the members of our team.”

Celfin Capital in figures
– Celfin Capital was created in 1988 as a financial institution with an entrepreneurial spirit
– Leader in third party equity trading volume in Chile (December 2010 market share: 23.21 percent); significant player in Peru (December 2010 market share: 7.1 percent)
– Corporate finance transactions of more than $5bn in Equity, $3bn in debt business and M&A transaction in excess of $3bn (total volume 2006-10)
– Largest distributor of international mutual funds, closed-end investment funds and private equity funds, to institutional clients in Chile, Peru and Colombia, with total volume in excess of $12bn (as of December 2010)
– More than $5.5bn under asset management as of December 2010
– Leading Research department in the Andean region, with coverage in Chile, Peru and Colombia. Operational processes have SAS700 certification
– More than 5.4bn AUM in Wealth Management