LATIN AMERICA - Speculation has mounted that Santander will sell its pension interests in four major Latin American markets.
The development comes two weeks after the bank confirmed its intention to open 1,000 offices to concentrate on affluence growth within the region.
Santander confirmed Chilean AFP Bansander, its largest pensions operation in the region managing some US$12 in assets, was the subject of sale negotiations, but declined to comment on activities in other countries.
The Madrid-based giant sold the Peruvian arm of its pension operation a year ago for $142m.
A spokesman for the bank said this sale of a stand alone asset was in line with the group's policy.
Despite citing the Latin-American region as a main operation for pensions in its 2005 report, and increasing revenues from that side of the business by 62.9% in the same year, it has been suggested that operations in Mexico, Argentina and Columbia may be sold in future.
In a press conference on 5 July 2007, director and general manager of Santander, Francisco Luzón, said: “Our objective is to become the best wholesale bank in the region and the reference for companies and corporations in all the countries where we are present.”
He added: “Over the next three years our goal is to exceed 30 million customers in our banks, which implies attracting more than nine million new customers over that period.”
When presenting new products to the market, Luzón failed to mention any pension offerings.
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