In a move to expand its investment banking business in Latin America, Bank of Boston Corp. has acquired a majority stake in an Argentine securities brokerage.

Rafael M. Machado Malbran, head of distribution for Banco de Boston, the U.S. bank's Argentine unit, said the decision to purchase a 51% interest in Lynstal SA came in "response to a change in overall strategy for business."

No price was disclosed for the purchase last week of Lynstal, which will be renamed Boston Securities.

Adding to Branch Network

The U.S. bank is well implanted in Argentina, where it is the third-largest bank in deposits and is adding six more branches to its existing network of 36.

Despite the growth, the Argentine unit has been scrambling for new business after many of its corporate borrowing customers turned directly to local and international capital markets for funding.

The bank hopes to compensate for the loss of corporate lending through other activities, including asset management, trade finance, and private banking.

Asset Management

Bank of Boston already has an Argentine brokerage unit, Boston Inversora de Valores, but that unit's operations were limited to the over-the-counter market. Mike Stump, investor institutions representative for Bank of Boston, said the bank plans to expand asset management in both equity and fixed-income securities as Argentina eases constraints on pension and social security fund management and the government and private companies increase the amount of securities they issue.

"There will be a significant increase in capital markets in Argentina," Mr. Stump said.

He added that Bank of Boston's latest move in Argentina is also part of a broader plan to expand the bank's trade finance, corporate banking, corporate finance, and treasury activities in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile and to link activities in the four countries under a single operating unit.

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