MADRID - Banco Santander, Spain's biggest bank, has obtained approval from the National Association of Securities Dealers to engage in securities brokerage activities in the United States through Santander Investment Securities Inc.

The New York-based brokerage unit will open for business early next month, focusing mainly on offering Latin American and southern European investments and research to U.S. institutional investors.

Santander last month opened a Mexican investment bank, Banco Santander de Negocios, as part of a broader program for developing its worldwide capital markets operations. The bank has also applied to the Federal Reserve Board for approval to open a full-fledged investment bank in the United States.

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