BNP boosts access to Portugal

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French bank BNP Paribas has strengthened its infiltration of the Portuguese market with the recent hire of Luis Brito Ferreira, former deputy-director and head of structured products and institutional clients at Portugal's Banco de Investimento Global (BIG).

Based in Paris, Ferreira will now be responsible for cultivating new and existing relationships with institutional clients and product distributors in Portugal. Recruiting him is a strategic move, as it completes BNP's marketing coverage of the Mediterranean markets, according to Paris-based Agustin Ruiz de Arcaute, head of southern Europe, institutional equity sales.

"We have not had a dedicated marketer for Portugal for over a year," Ruiz de Arcaute says. And Ferreira's local experience will help strengthen BNP's position in this developing market, he adds.

BNP already has dedicated marketers covering Greece, Malta, Turkey, Spain and Cyprus. While Spain is still the leader among its counterparts in the structured products market, young emerging markets such as Greece, Malta and Portugal have great potential, especially on the retail side, Ruiz de Arcaute says.

It is this potential which is driving the Paris-based bank's interest in those markets. "Interest rates should be lower in these markets than they have been in recent years. This should encourage investors to make the transition to equities," Ruiz de Arcaute says. Equity-linked structured products, due to their capital protection feature, are therefore ideal retail investments for such markets, he adds.

Susana Figueiredo will take over Ferreira's position at BIG. Previously head of institutional sales reporting to Ferreira, Figueiredo has been with the Lisbon-based investment bank and brokerage platform since its launch in 1998. BIG manages E287 million in derivatives assets and is the only investment bank in Portugal with its own options book (see page 36).

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