Bank of Boston Corp. has beefed up its securities-processing operation by introducing global custody services at its branches in Chile and Uruguay.

The move expands Bank of Boston's presence in Latin American markets, which have become hotbeds of investor activity. According to Bank of Boston officials, foreign investment in Latin America topped $40 billion in 1991, up from $5 billion in 1989.

The rising investor interest is spurring demand for international custody services to clear, settle, and account for Latin American securities acquired by foreign companies and individuals.

"We're in a unique niche because there really aren't many banks down here offering this," said Murray Steinberg, Bank of Boston's senior vice president for institutional trust and custody.

Assets in Custody

Mr. Steinberg said that Bank of Boston holds some $60 billion of assets in custody. About $9 billion of those are held outside the United States, including $3 billion in Latin America.

Securities processing fees represent 5% to 8% of Bank of Boston's annual revenues, Mr. Steinberg added.

Bank of Boston operates extensive branch networks in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay and has provided domestic custody services in those countries for decades. But only in the late 1980s did the bank begin to offer global custody services in Argentina and Brazil.

Subcustodian Role Seen

Harry Totonis, vice president in the financial services practice of the consulting firm Booz, Allen & Hamilton in New York, said Bank of Boston could be attractive as a subcustodian in the four Latin American countries where it operates.

But Mr. Totonis said that Bank of Boston could have a hard time picking up market share in the more lucrative corporate global custody business. This is because most large corporations prefer to work with players that have a larger global presence, he said.

Bank of Boston contracts with other banks to act as subcustodians in most of the more than 40 countries in which it provides securities-processing services.

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