Wealth management firm Dolfin has been fulfilling its franchise for offering its services in the emerging markets by partnering on a recent event and report on the Dominican Republic.
It’s a home from home for Nick McCall, head of wealth management at Dolfin, who grew up in Latin America, has worked there, and is fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese.
“Latin America is under-represented in our coverage of emerging markets,” McCall says. “We wanted to develop it as a business area for high net worth individuals. There are two sides to our initiative, targeting high net worth investors but also looking for investment opportunities there may be with financial institutions which would enrich our exposure to emerging market securities, so a double pronged approach.”
McCall feels that it is good timing as Latin American investors are increasingly looking at the UK rather than Miami.
“Primarily, I think some of the economics in Latin America point to both high net worth and institutional investors, such as pension funds, looking to invest more outside their own domestic markets,” McCall says.
Interest rates are dropping in Brazil and Miami, and the US generally, is not as popular as it once was with the Trump administration becoming more hostile to Latin America, McCall says.
Switzerland is less attractive these days as its famed discretion has been slightly lessened, and the UK, which is also discrete, has the added advantage of London with its shopping, theatre and property market. “It gives the UK the competitive edge,” McCall says.
Dolfin’s plan is now to organise a road show and establish links with Latin America, using the Department for International Trade’s scheme for supporting exporters. “As a UK company we are a financial exporter – equally as important as industrial and commercial exports,” McCall says.
Dolfin’s head of investment management, Simon Black comments that the firm is looking at the Dominican Republic as an access point to Latin America, in both listed and unlisted opportunities across the region.
“The fixed income side has a lot more tradeability from a listed security perspective,” he says. “We see some volume and flow of interest from our client base and we are using it to build up a diversified portfolio of opportunities that we can consider in Latin America.”
He comments that anyone can buy a listed tracker fund for Latin America, but it will be dominated by Brazil and Argentina.
“Latin America has been going through an interesting period for the last five years so we are not trying to have a massive allocation which is driven by energy and metals prices but to go one step deeper than that, seeing what we could do on the cash side.”