Meet three Southern Cone wealth managers who are making waves

The ties between Buenos Aires and Montevideo are deeply rooted in the world of wealth management. David Gutierrez met with three Argentinian advisers who regularly cross the Río de La Plata to learn more about their businesses.

Fernando Montefiore

Financial Advisor, Latin Securities

What type of clients does your firm serve?

I am part of one of dozens of teams at Latin Securities and work alongside another advisor and two assistants in Montevideo, Uruguay, where we primarily focus on high net worth individuals, businesses and institutions. Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil, and some other Latin American countries.

What changes have you recently made to your business?

We have made some changes since the end of 2019 to meet the changing demands of our customers.

We have increased our use of mutual funds and ETFs from asset managers available to us in Uruguay and Argentina.

Over the past two years, mutual funds and ETFs have grown from 45% of our invested assets to nearly 65%.

What are your growth plans?

We want to continue to increase our assets in mutual funds and ETFs and devote more time to market research.

We also want to provide better service to existing clients and increase our overall assets under management.

How did you get into consulting?

Until 1999, I worked for an Argentinian oil company in Argentina and Venezuela.

Then a friend I had met while doing a Masters in Finance at Centro de Estudios Macroeconomicos de Argentina asked me to come to a meeting at Prudential Securities in Buenos Aires because he knew I liked the industry. The rest is history.

Martin Sanchez Bazan

Director of IFA Business, Grupo Balanz

What changes have you recently made to your business?

Balanz recently opened an office in Montevideo as part of our regional expansion. We also signed an agreement with Pershing to increase our access to international investment products.

What are your growth plans?

We have several initiatives. One of them is to take advantage of new technologies to improve our business and our investments to maintain our user experience at a high level. We are also launching a financial education project called Balanz University.

Another initiative we have is our fund of funds project with Credit Suisse, which will be available to all of our clients. On the wealth management side, we are making progress with the opening of our soon-to-be-launched Miami-based RIA for independent financial advisors across Latin America.

Is there a technical tool that makes your job easier?

We are researching how to integrate the use of artificial intelligence into our financial advisory strategies. This is a project led by our internal technology development team.

What are you looking forward to?

At Balanz, we aim to be different from other law firms in Latin America. Our goal in Argentina has been to provide a superior investment experience for our clients, and now we want to replicate that model across the region.

Santiago Azol

Managing Partner, Andes Wealth Management

What type of clients does your firm serve?

Our clients are wealthy multi-generational families seeking opportunities to create wealth in an environment mired in economic uncertainty and tax pressure.

Clients come to us not only for advice on managing their wealth, but also to help them make decisions about their business.

What changes have you recently made to your business?

We have created a multidisciplinary quantitative team of mathematicians, physicists and programmers with whom we are developing tools that will help us improve the construction and management of global investment portfolios.

Once tested and implemented, it will allow us to expand our customer base and scale while maintaining our high quality standards.

What are your growth plans?

Over the next few years, we are looking to expand into Latin America. It will be essential to maintain our high quality of service, which is why we are developing our quantitative methods. We plan to continue to grow our team as our business grows.

How did you get into the business?

For about 20 years I worked in the Argentinian financial system, always in the commercial field. Ten of those years were spent leading one of Banco Mariva’s corporate banking teams and it helped me understand the needs of the shareholders who were our clients.

In 2017, I founded Andes Wealth Management with my partner Luis Requesens. He had many years of experience managing global portfolios and I had experience on the trading side. It was then only a question of constituting the rest of our team.

Dolores W. Simon