World’s Best Private Banks 2021: Latin America

Latin America’s best wealth management providers are building their presence within the region and in global financial centers to better serve their wealthy clients.

Methodology: Behind the Rankings

Global Finance staff select winners for these awards based on entries submitted by banks, company documents and public filings. No proprietary information was sought or shared in the awards process. We consider local market knowledge, global footprint and investment breadth and sophistication. Because metrics are rarely public in this sensitive corner of finance, we incorporate perspective from analysts and consultants. Performance data are also drawn from industry sources including Scorpio Partnership’s annual Global Private Banking Benchmark and Asian Private Banker magazine’s regional league tables. Size and growth are a factor, but Global Finance also considered creativity, uniqueness of offering and dedication to private banking as a core business either globally or regionally.



Brazilian banks have been extending their private banking networks across Latin America, aiming to benefit from the gains the region’s richest have made even in a turbulent economic environment. BTG Pactual has been especially aggressive as it seeks to consolidate its position as one of the biggest players in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico.

The 37-year-old investment bank’s objective is to triple its $41 billion in wealth management assets over the next three to five years. Besides the richest family accounts, it is targeting the business sector in Brazil, its Latin American neighbors and Portugal, the main refuge of many Brazilian millionaires.

This year, given the economic troubles in Brazil and the rest of Latin America, BTG overhauled the portfolio allocations of its multimarket, real estate and private debt funds. It also struck out in a new direction with the launch of impact investments targeting entrepreneurial businesses with social and environmental impact in Latin America and with Brazil’s first sustainable debenture, to finance a solar power company. The institution is prepared with other offerings in the sustainability sphere, including a reforestation fund.

BTG’s private banking clients get a tailor-made program that includes succession planning, access to vehicles for real estate alts and other illiquid sectors, and an additional service: changing of domicile to countries including Portugal, the US and the UK. And BTG has not ignored the need to build better digital communication with its clients. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit Brazil and Peru hard, it has invested some $30 million to improve its digital tools, especially their security and verification features.



The leading bank in Brazil, Itaú Unibanco has consolidated its position at home as the largest local provider of private banking services, with $304 billion in assets in its hands, giving it a 30.7% share of the market.

Results for the first half of 2020 were significantly positive in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis. Private banking income rose 11%, and overall investment performance spiked by 21%. Like BTG Pactual, Itaú Unibanco is spreading its wings across Latin America, having established a strong presence in Chile, the Bahamas and Paraguay, as well as in Portugal, the US, Switzerland and other countries in the Americas and overseas.

Thanks to its long-time investment in innovative technologies and financial services, Itaú Unibanco is well placed to appeal to entrepreneurs. Easy access to its digital platforms, and an assortment of sustainable investment funds help attract new business. So did the bank’s 220 web conferences during the first half of 2020 with top government officers and financial experts, including Roberto Setubal, co-chairman of the board of directors.

“Itaú Unibanco’s private banking segment has the sophistication of a boutique investment bank,” says Luiz Severiano Ribeiro, global head of private banking. “It provides safety; a large range of investments, from fixed return options to the most sophisticated international funds; and credit access. We understand that every crisis gives opportunities to our clients, and we value our customers.”



A long-time private banking player, Bradesco focuses on managing the patrimonies of company founders as well as those of wealthy families. Most of its operations are devoted to serving Brazilian clients, making it the second largest private banking provider, with 22% of the local wealth management market. With three branches overseas—in New York, Luxemburg and the Cayman Islands—it offers clients an array of foreign investment options as well.

Bradesco has made two major movements to expand its wealth management sector. First, it signed an agreement to operate JP Morgan’s $4 billion of assets in Brazil. In parallel, it acquired the BAC Florida Bank, allowing it to operate in Miami, another refuge for wealthy Brazilian citizens and companies. Given Brazil’s economic crisis, Bradesco Asset Management recently offered its wealthy clients a new portfolio that invests in short-term plus assets that meet sustainability standards.