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Business brief: Panama's Global Bank product platform expansion plans

Business brief: Panama's Global Bank product platform expansion plans

Global Bank team (left to right): J. Andre Solis, Jose Luis Fabrega, Luis Cargiulo, Monica de Chapman, Juan Delgado, Ana Aguilar and Rodolfo Miranda 

In our Business Brief series, we take a closer look at a firm to find what makes it tick.

We chat with Luis Cargiulo, vice president at Panamanian private bank Global Bank, who says his group is expanding its product platform and enhancing its allocation to alternatives.

Global Bank

Firm facts

Headquarters: Panama City

AUM: $4.4 billion

Number of clients: 3,000 +

Client base: Panama

Number of advisors: 15

Running Global Bank is like managing: A football team. We try to recruit the best team and prepare in the best way to face each game.

What services do you offer your clients?

We offer a one-stop shop for our clients’ financial services. Through our network, we offer all kinds of financial products in one place. We can offer asset management services, trusts and traditional banking products, among others.

What are your growth plans for the next 12 months?

Our growth plan for the next 12 months mainly includes deepening our existing client relationships through the cross-selling of products and services to clients in other areas of the bank. We have been working on a client segmentation plan that will help us better service our client base by offering them the right products.

What is your appetite for taking risk as a business?

We are usually very conservative. We have identified our clients’ needs and this year we are investing in a revamp of our asset management department and the creation of our first mutual fund. We are also developing new relationships with private equity firms to enhance our product platform while managing alternative products that demand a higher level of due diligence.

Name a movie that best represents your daily life at Global Bank: The Pursuit of Happyness. We’re a team overcoming the different challenges thrown at us.

What company do you admire and why?

Apple. Their vision and innovation have transcended decades of development and they continue evolving by identifying customer needs. This is the main reason that they are still leaders rather than followers in their different lines of business.

What are the main challenges facing your business?

We believe there are two main challenges. First, identifying investments that represent a fair return for risk. We believe the market is expensive and spreads are tight and we want to make sure investors are appropriately informed of the risks involved when trying to chase yields.

Another important challenge is regulation. There has been an important focus recently on regulatory demands, creating challenges for firms that need to adapt to the new environment.

How do you use third-party mutual funds?

We use mutual funds as a diversification tool for our clients. We have relationships with the principal funds around the world and they are present in almost all of our clients’ portfolios.

Panama Papers legacy

by Atholl Simpson

It’s been a tough 18 months for Panama’s financial industry since the April 2016 Panama Papers revelations, which hit the country’s wealth industry hard. Some international asset managers opted to sever all ties with local groups but the country had already been implementing measures to improve its image.

‘Before the Panama Papers, the Republic of Panama had been
taking important steps toward transparency and strengthening our financial system and our platform of other services,’ said Mónica de Chapman, Global Bank’s senior vice president of private banking and investment.

These steps enabled the country to escape the Financial Action Task Force’s gray list for money laundering in February 2016, she added.

This achievement was soon drowned out by the juicy revelations hidden within the Panama Papers. However, since then, de Chapman said the country has taken decisive steps toward transparency:

  • From the beginning of 2018, Panama will engage in theautomatic exchange of information on a bilateral basis;
  • A custody regime has been established, applicable to all bearer shares certificates registered in Panama. This will allow the authorized custodian to access information on who is the final beneficiary of the shares.

This article was originally published in the September 2017 edition of Citywire Americas magazine. To subscribe and receive the magazine click here.

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