March 14, 2019 / 5:22 PM / in 3 months

Santander Brasil launches digital investment platform

SAO PAULO, March 14 (Reuters) - Banco Santander Brasil SA on Thursday launched a digital investment platform, fueling competition with new brokerage firms vying for investors in Latin America’s largest economy.

The new platform, called Pi, will offer products by Santander and also third parties, a move similar to what competitors Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Bradesco SA have done to regain market share from brokerage newcomers such as XP Investimentos SA and BTG Pactual Digital.

Pi will offer investment products to mass retail customers, including lower income clients. The platform’s managers aim for it to reach up to 1 million clients within four years.

The platform is managed separately from the bank and has partnerships with local asset managers TAG Investimentos, Vitreo Gestao de Recursos Ltda and Indosuez Wealth Management, as well as Santander private banking.

Chief Executive Officer Felipe Bottino told journalists at a news conference that Pi’s model differs from that of competitors XP and BTG, which hires independent brokers and offers to pay clients fee rebates.

“Investors will be able to cash these rebates and reinvest them” he said.

Financial services firms have benefited from the country’s gradual economic recovery and record low interest rates have driven demand for a wide variety of investment products.

In an effort to safeguard competition in the financial sector, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA acquired a 30.1 percent stake in XP’s voting capital last year.

Reporting by Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo Editing by Matthew Lewis

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