SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Itaú Unibanco Holding SA tapped Charles Ferraz to oversee asset management activities in the United States, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, as Latin America’s largest bank by market value looks to expand in the segment outside Brazil.
Ferraz replaces Charles von Breitenbach at the helm of Itaú USA Asset Management, said the source, who requested anonymity since the decision remains private. The media office of Itaú (ITUB4.SA) confirmed the appointment, but declined to elaborate further.
The unit invests in Latin American equities, U.S. debt and funds of funds for Itaú’s Brazil-based and overseas clients. In his new task, the Harvard Business School-trained economist will move to New York and report to Fernando Beyruti and Marcello Siniscalchi, both the co-heads of Itaú Asset Management, the source noted.
Itaú, Brazil’s largest non-government bank, is growing asset management activities inside and outside Brazil, where a recent change of government is expected to bring about more market-friendly policies. Itaú is the nation’s No. 2 money manager with 480 billion reais (£92 billion) in client money as of April.
Brazil’s $900 billion (£615 billion) asset management industry is responding to the nation’s longest recession in eight decades, rising borrowing costs and mounting political turmoil by offering clients a broad mix of investment options, including offering them to invest in developed and emerging markets.
Expanding outside Brazil could help some banks stem the impact of slowing business growth in the country. Executives expect assets under management to expand below 10 percent this year, down from about 20 percent annually between 2008 and 2013, when the number of Brazilian millionaires surged to a record.
Ferraz joined Itaú after the São Paulo-based lender acquired FleetBoston’s BankBoston domestic operations in 2006. During his stint at Itaú, Ferraz has led investment strategy and was chief investment officer of Itaú’s private-banking unit.
Editing by David Gregorio