Neuberger Berman Group is looking south for a place to spend its private-equity dollars.
The firm is eyeing five Central and South American countries in particular, according to alternative investments chief Anthony Tutrone: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The three have one thing in common, he said: A growing middle-class.
"We really like Latin America right now," Tutrone told The Wall Street Journal. "Similar to Australia, our interest in Latin America is not in the private-equity transactions that are natural resource-related. It's more the burgeoning growth in the middle class, who want more consumer products, retail, healthcare, financial services, education, so you have a tremendous tailwind behind those industries."
"It sets up for a great future arbitrage, because end-buyers are often multinationals seeking to enter the market, or when you take companies public, there's an appetite from pension funds to invest," he added.
Tutrone said that he assumes Neuberger Berman will "open at least one more office there in the next 12 to 18 months." The firm already has a base in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but Tutrone said "the one market we could use more density in, in the short term, is South America."