ITAU BBA, the finance arm of Brazil’s biggest bank Itau Interbanco, is relocating its wholesale operations to London, taking advantage of the relative weakness of UK and EU banks which are shrinking much of their operations.
The bank is relocating its wholesale arm’s headquarters to its City offices, according to a note sent to clients and seen by City A.M., and has already moved 20 staff from Lisbon to Broadgate Tower. They includes capital market operations, investment and corporate banking roles and treasury operations.
That takes the total UK workforce to 70, and Itau Unibanco is believed to be considering taking on more staff to cover roles including compliance.
The bank’s 100 European back office staff will still be based in Portugal.
The move stands in stark contrast to many other major banks, which are cutting back in London – the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates more than 100,000 City jobs have been lost since the start of the financial crisis, with thousands more set to go in the next year.
“Quite simply, London is one of the world’s most important financial centres,” said a spokesman.
It is thought that the rapid growth of Latin American firms is also a driver of the move, pushing the bank to expand its geographic footprint.