Unicredit to rely on local partners in Asia, Latin America-FT

MILAN, July 8 Mon Jul 8, 2013 2:43am EDT

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MILAN, July 8 (Reuters) - Italy's Unicredit will rely on partnerships with local banks to fill in the gaps in the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America rather than developing a full business there, its head of investment banking told the Financial Times.

"In the U.S., Asia or Latin America, it doesn't make sense for us to develop a fully fledged presence," Jean-Pierre Mustier, head of Unicredit Corporate Investment Banking, told the newspaper.

"What we can do, a bit in the spirit of what we did with Kepler (for equity research), is strike agreements with other banks where they can service our clients."

Under Mustier's management the Italian lender outsourced equity research and sales to pool its business with that of independent brokerage Kepler.

Following the same strategy the lender may strike partnerships with local banks in Asia or Latin America, offering in exchange a reciprocal deal with its unit in Italy, Germany or Eastern Europe.

At the same time, Unicredit's corporate and investment banking will focus on "transaction banking", such as cash management and export finance.

"In the 1990s, the battlefield was about derivatives; in 2013 it's about transaction banking. This is where profitability will be generated," Mustier said. (Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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