Santander eyes move into investment banking

Santander wants to become a key player in the European investment banking market, according to a report from the Financial Times (FT.)

Santander, which has traditionally focussed on its consumer banking network, is Europe’s biggest retail bank.

The newspaper said with European rivals like Deutsche bank downsizing their investment banking operations, Santander believes there is an opportunity to take advantage of what it identifies as an intensifying uneasiness about the dominance of US banks.

“In Europe it is fair to say that we started being probably a tier two to tier three [investment bank]”, José María Linares, who was recruited from JPMorgan to expand Santander’s corporate and investment banking division, told the FT. “The ambition is to be one of the leading European banks.”

Investment banking made up 15 per cent of the bank’s revenues and 28 per cent of pre-tax profit in the first quarter of 2021. However, most of this comes from Latin America and the Iberian peninsula, hence the bank’s decision to concentrate on the European market moving forward.

Linares told the newspaper that Santander would never be “all things to all people”, but added the bank had already made good progress in several markets like high-grade credit.

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