Merrill Lynch Announces the Acquisition of Equities Broker Ureta y Bianchi as Part of Expansion Plans for Chile
NEW YORK. — Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MER) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire the Chilean equity brokerage firm, Ureta y Bianchi Corredores de Bolsa S.A, as part of a larger plan to build a broad, wholly owned Global Markets and Investment Banking (GMI) platform in Chile.
The acquisition provides Merrill Lynch with an immediate presence in the equities business in Chile and a top-tier equities management team.
It also provides a platform to grow the GMI business as opportunities develop across the full suite of Merrill Lynch’s capabilities in Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities (FICC) and Investment Banking.
Merrill Lynch’s previous experience in Chile has confirmed its positive outlook and expectations for the local market.
“The acquisition of Ureta y Bianchi is consistent with our long-term strategy of pursuing a broad Latin American business platform that spans multiple countries, asset classes, industry sectors and clients,” said James Quigley, president of Latin America and Canada at Merrill Lynch. “We view the Santiago presence as a necessary addition to the portfolio of capabilities we have developed in major Latin American countries in the past few years. Having a GMI operation in Chile will help us service local, regional and international institutional investors and corporate clients seeking opportunities across the major economies and capital markets in the region.”
Ureta y Bianchi was identified by Merrill Lynch because of its meaningful market share in Chilean equities, its long trading history since its inception in 1936, its strong private client relationships and its high-quality management.
The brokerage will be renamed to incorporate the Merrill Lynch brand name. Francisco Ossa, one of Ureta y Bianchi’s partners, will head Merrill Lynch Chile’s local equity business and will be joined by the other Ureta y Bianchi partners, Manuel José Ureta, Alfredo Ureta and Ignacio Perez. Hans Trautmann, Merrill Lynch’s senior fixed income banker based in Santiago, will oversee the development of FICC business in the country.
Daniel Gonzalez will continue as the head of the Southern Cone countries, overseeing Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.
Merrill Lynch’s first step will be to solidify relationships with key institutional Ureta y Bianchi clients, which will be the firm’s primary focus in Chile.
As part of its Global Wealth Management (GWM) initiatives in the region, Merrill Lynch will also move to strengthen its relationships with important Ureta y Bianchi high-net-worth retail clients.
“Chile is one of the most attractive private banking markets in Latin America, due to its stable government, prospering local economy and established capital markets,” said Darcie Burk, managing director and head of Merrill Lynch’s GWM business in Latin America. “The acquisition gives us the opportunity to explore different alternatives to expand our wealth management offering.”
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