Brent B. Erensel, a top analyst of Latin bank stocks, has left Warburg Dillon Read as part of a reorganization following last year's merger of Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corp.
Mr. Erensel, who was ranked the best Latin banking stock picker in 1998 by the monthly Latin Finance and No. 2 Latin bank analyst by Euromoney magazine, confirmed that he is no longer working at Warburg. He declined to comment further.
He had covered banks in Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. Laurence Madsen, who formerly worked at Warburg as an analyst for banks in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, has assumed responsibility for banks across Latin America. She reports to Tim Baker, who moved to New York from Mexico last October to take over as head of Latin America equity research. Mr. Baker reports to Anthony Daniell, head of equity sales, trading, and research in London.
Sources said Mr. Erensel's departure underscores the difficulty former Union Bank of Switzerland staff have had in retaining their jobs in competition with former SBC Warburg staff.
"All the operating positions went to former SBC or Warburg staff, and most UBS people have been at a competitive disadvantage for some time," said one source, who asked not to be identified.
Close to 2,000 positions have been eliminated since Swiss Bank Corp. merged with Union Bank of Switzerland last June. The combined investment banking unit now employs about 5,000.
However, Mr. Baker denied that any favoritism is being extended to former SBC Warburg staff.
"We had two very good senior analysts with strong analytic and marketing skills, but we decided we couldn't run a team with two senior analysts," Mr. Baker said.
Ms. Madsen joined Warburg Dillon Read in 1995 as a credit analyst following Latin banks. In addition to Ms. Madsen, the Latin bank equity team now consists of Linda Rodriguez, a former UBS analyst, and Andrea Coelho.
Mr. Erensel, a graduate of Lawrence University and New York University's Stern School of Business, previously worked as a U.S. regional banking analyst at Dean Witter Reynolds, and as a senior banking analyst at Donaldson, Lukfin & Jenrette. He joined UBS Securities in 1991 and was named director of Latin American bank equity research in 1996.
The reorganization in Latin America research at Warburg Dillon Read is the second by a major bank this month. Last week London-based ING Barings, a unit of Holland's ING Group, said it was adding a Latin American equities unit to its current equity business in selected European markets. The bank last year dismantled its Latin equities business after deciding that it was not making adequate profits.
Mr. Baker denied that Warburg Dillon Read had any plans to cut back on its activities in Latin America. UBS executives suggested last month that they would be allocating less capital to building up investment banking operations at Warburg in favor of expanding more profitable private banking and asset-management activities.
"Latin America is strategically important for all of our businesses," Mr. Baker said.
"There are clearly concerns about what's going on in Brazil and Mexico, but these markets will come back, and we believe the capital flight out of Latin America is essentially over."