* Dealmakers Pickering, Evans to join Itau BBA board
* Itau BBA transferring Europe HQs to London
* Itau BBA UK CEO says may hire 20 staff by year-end
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal
SAO PAULO, Jan 14 Itau BBA International, a
London-based unit of Brazilian investment bank Itau BBA SA,
hired two prominent London bankers to join its board as
non-executive members, a move expected to help grow the bank's
European franchise, a senior executive told Reuters on Monday.
Itau BBA, the wholesale banking unit of Itau Unibanco
Holding SA, hired Robert Pickering, a former JPMorgan
Cazenove banker, and former U.K. Financial Service Authority
official Gay Huey Evans as members of its London-based bank
board, Almir Vignoto, chief executive of Itaú BBA UK, said in a
phone interview from London.
The hirings are Itau BBA's highest-profile poaches since a
decision to transfer the headquarters of the bank from Lisbon to
London. The bank could add another 20 staff to the current 50
bankers and traders based in London before year-end to beef up
areas such as sales and products, capital markets and corporate
and investment banking, Vignoto added.
"The main goal of building up a more diversified board of
directors is to take advantage of their expertise in the local
corporate banking market and the British regulatory
environment," Vignoto said.
Itaú Unibanco, Brazil's largest private-sector bank, is
betting strongly on investment banking as a source of revenue
now that interest rates in its home turf are at a record low and
credit growth is slowing. Itaú BBA helps the 2,500 largest
corporate clients of its parent company sell debt and equity,
merge or gobble up rivals and hedge against sudden changes in
interest rates and currencies.
Both Pickering and Huey Evans will be part of a nine-seat
board comprised of five non-executive and four executive
directors. Itaú has had a European office for 17 years, with the
London office having been open for about five years, Vignoto
Pickering, who was a JPMorgan executive for more than 20
years, was the first chief executive of securities powerhouse
JPMorgan Cazenove and was recently a member of the board at
Neptune Asset Management, Vignoto said. Huey Evans was a
high-profile banker with experience at Citigroup Inc and
Barclays Plc, he added.