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GIS rebrands $8bn broker-dealer after Northeast acquisition

GIS rebrands $8bn broker-dealer after Northeast acquisition

The $8 billion broker-dealer born out of the integration of Global Investor Services (GIS) and Northeast Securities is shooting to be the top firm advising Latin American clients following its rebrand as Insigneo.

Based in Miami, the combined company will offer wealth and asset management, as well as multi-family office and institutional services, according to a statement Tuesday announcing the name change.

The firm has a total of 120 advisors in Latin America in countries such as Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia, said Raul Henriquez (pictured), who founded GIS in 1989.

GIS was part of Hencorp Group, which included firms HB Asset Management, Alpha Capital and Hencorp Wealth Advisors, which are now also integrated into Insigneo.

‘We're coming in with a desire to be the focused firm that is embracing Latin American wealth and we’re willing to service the needs of these clients from our base in the US but also closer to their needs by having local presence,’ Henriquez said in an interview with Citywire Americas. 

A holding company led by Henriquez acquired a controlling interest of about 87% in Northeast Securities in a deal announced in February. 

The transaction, which was approved by regulators in May, included the firm’s international business, which mostly caters to Latin American clients, as well as Benchmark Capital Advisors, a US firm serving local clients.

Benchmark has become part of the Insigneo group but it will operate as standalone firm under its own name, Henriquez said. 

He added that he sees opportunity in Latin America as countries in the region have clarified wealth disclosure regulations and as international players have cut down their international businesses. Merrill Lynch was among the firms to pare down its presence in the region.

‘As these markets develop, the overhang and the risk that may have led some of the major players to exit is dissipating are going away. [...] We’re taking a contrarian approach because as other are exiting we’re doubling down,’ said Henriquez, who will serve as the group's CEO. 

The group hasn't defined what role GIS chief executive Daniel Schwartz and other employees will have moving forward, a spokeswoman for the firm said.

Henriquez added that the firm is evaluating opening a local broker-dealer in Argentina but hasn’t yet made a decision. Insigneo is also looking to bolster its advisor ranks, though it hasn’t yet made any hires. 

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