Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Scotiabank Plans to Increase Services to Hedge Funds

Bloomberg, Sean B. Pasternak, 12 September 2006

Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada's third-biggest lender by assets, wants to increase the services it can offer hedge funds and brokerages, Vice Chairman Sabi Marwah said.

There will be "an increased focus on the alternative asset segment" and prime brokerage, said Marwah, 55, speaking today in Toronto at an investor conference sponsored by the bank's Scotia Capital arm. "This market represents a significant growth opportunity for us."

Scotiabank, based in Toronto, is also considering ``many acquisition opportunities'' to expand its asset-management, international banking and capital markets businesses, Marwah said. He didn't elaborate.

The lender, which has operations in more than 50 countries, has invested more than C$1
billion ($894 million) on acquisitions in the past year, including purchases in Peru and the Dominican Republic. In 2007, the bank will add 100 new branches in Mexico, 20 in South America and eight in the Caribbean and Central America, said Rob Pitfield, executive vice-president of international banking.

"As a general guideline, our goal is to have at least 10 percent share in all the markets" the bank operates in, Pitfield said today at the conference.

Earlier today, the bank received approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission to open a bank branch in Shanghai.
Peru Interest Rates to Fall on Competition, Scotiabank Says

Bloomberg, Alex Emery, 12 September 2006

Peruvian bank interest rates are likely to fall this year on growing competition among lenders, Scotiabank Peru Chief Executive Carlos Gonzalez-Taboada said.

Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada's third-biggest bank, aims to boost retail and corporate lending at its Peruvian unit by 20 percent in 2006 as consumer demand drives Peru's economic expansion into a sixth year, Gonzalez-Taboada said at a news conference in Lima.

Competition among Peru's 12 banks cut annual lending rates in soles, the Peruvian currency, to 23.94 percent through Sept. 11 from 26 percent a year ago, according to the Banking & Insurance Superintendency. Banks boosted lending by about a fifth to an eight-year high of $14.4 billion through July.

``We foresee more competition this year, which will have an effect on interest rates in the Peruvian market,'' Gonzalez- Taboada said. ``Interest rates will tend to fall in the coming months.''

Scotiabank, which in March completed a $330 million takeover of Banco Wiese Sudameris SA, Peru's third-biggest bank, from Milan-based Banca Intesa SpA, will have an additional rival as London-HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest bank by market value, applied this year to operate in Peru.

Scotiabank, which has a 17 percent share of Peruvian lending, plans to launch more sol-denominated products this year to take advantage of the stable exchange rate, Gonzalez-Taboada said.

The sol, which has gained 5 percent so far this year, was little changed at 3.2525 soles to the U.S. dollar. About 68.2 percent of Peruvian bank loans were in U.S. dollars through July, down from 75.6 percent a year ago, according to the Peruvian Banking Association.