Samuel Quiros, Andino Capital Markets
Samuel Quiros was one of the founding partners of VestcorPartners.
Today, he continues the tradition of providing financial services
to the region’s under-served firms at Andino Capital Markets,
including asset management, structured finance, and a new
twist-private equity.

On key events in the region’s development…
One positive change is that the financial markets in our countries
have become, at times, a viable mechanism for financing-they’re not
fully developed yet, by far, but you’ve seen some successful
raising of capital by Latin American companies in their local
markets. The equity capital that has been raised was instrumental
in giving us, at least, for now, some solvency. I would have been a
bit more skeptical if, after this seven or eight year expansion
since 1990, we would have some of the same bankruptcy problems that
the Asian countries have today.

On people who have made a difference in Latin

I would highlight the presidents who have actually pushed ahead
with the changes. Alberto Fujimori, for example, who despite all
the opposition, despite all the skepticism, and despite all the
clumsiness in the process, really made a difference. Their own
personalities and their own methods have allowed these leaders to
make these changes. Argentina was a total mess, a horrible mess,
and Carlos Menem in his political way surrounded himself with
Domingo Cavallo and others who were instrumental in making
Argentina what it is today. Fernando Henrique Cardoso will go down
in history as being one of the major architects of change in
Brazil. And Carlos Andres Perez-unfortunately he was asked to go
home prior to the end of his administration, but at the end of the
day he brought something to the table that was basically taboo in
Venezuela, which was the liberalization of trade, the privatization
of CANTV, he privatized one cellular license, and he tried to
expand the role of the private sector in basic industries,
including oil. These were major achievements. It was never
completed the way we all wanted it to be completed, but after his
first year, Venezuela had the highest growth that it ever had.

On the cycle of development in the region…
Ten years ago, I probably would have believed that the changes that
have taken place would have occurred, but slower. It so happened
that we had these spurts of rapid change, then reversals, then
rapid change and then reversals. That creates panic for any
director of any company. How do you price things, how do you
invest, how do you plan acquisition strategies if you don’t know
what’s going to happen? A lot of these investments take time to
recover, so if you add the element of the possible tendency of
politicians to go back to the old ways, and then to go back to the
new ways-it’s crazy. That’s what makes us vulnerable to shifts in
capital flows and commitment to the area. There aren’t a lot of
institutional investors in the US and Europe today that are
aggressively investing in Latin America.Things are going to get a
little hairy in the US and Europe, and the capital flows will come
back here and just drive everybody crazy and the markets will jump
up 500%-another cycle.