AN AGENDA TO EXECUTE

Peru 2017 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks Christian Laub, CEO of Credicorp Capital & Chairman of Board of the Lima Stock Exchange (BVL), on economic recovery, market integration, and building a successful business culture.

 Christian Laub
BIOGRAPHY
Christian Laub is Chairman of the Board of the Lima Stock Exchange and CEO of Credicorp Capital, Credicorp’s investment banking subsidiary. Previously, he was responsible for the corporate banking division of Banco de Crédito del Peru.

As 2015 comes to a close, how would you rate the performance of the financial sector this year?

On a macro level, 2015 has been a year of adjustment. The economy was hurting and we hit some lows. However, we are starting to see some recovery. In the short term, we are going to face an El Niño-like storm, and we do not know how strong it will be. The other consideration is investment and confidence from private investors. The huge success of Peru in the past has been driven by investment. In terms of numbers, we have reached an investment ratio that is close to 28% of GDP, comparable only to countries in Southeast Asia. That has been the main driver in sustained growth. In terms of the numbers for 2015, the private sector has gone down, which is bad and shows a lack of confidence or concern. As the political agenda becomes more established, things should get better.

Mining companies dominate the local stock exchange. How are you working to educate new companies about the benefits of being listed at BVL?

This is a cultural dynamic. For family-owned companies, getting into the stock exchange was something that nobody would have thought about 10 years ago. We are seeing more and more Colombian, Peruvian, and Chilean companies becoming regional. When companies become regional, acquisitions become more attractive. Another advantage of coming to the market is the obligation it has upon firms to operate properly. They need to report activities and have independent board members, for example. It shows that the business is run professionally and is not a closed family business.

How would you assess the progress of Mercado Integrado Latinoamericano (MILA) after four years, and how is it creating synergies between its members?

First, we might say to get the ball rolling is tough, but once it starts it gets easier. MILA is where the exchanges meet, but what sustains MILA as a market is what happens in the real sector, such as a Colombian company operating in Peru and Chile. As long as the real sector continues expanding on a regional basis, MILA will be sustainable and successful. There are more Colombian, Peruvian, and Chilean—even Mexican—companies investing every month. Between Colombia, Peru, and Chile, we have a USD700-800 billion economy, and if we add Mexico, we are the size of Brazil. We have 200 million inhabitants with a combined GDP of USD2 trillion. As companies continue expanding, MILA will continue to expand. In the past, we lacked a clear agenda, but the Pacific Alliance meeting in July 2015 gave us a specific agenda to execute. This includes pension funds, IPOs, and secondary markets on fixed income.

Credicorp Capital won the Best Securities Brokerage MILA 2015 award for the region. What factors are behind this remarkable achievement?

We have received a lot of recognition in recent years. As the brainchild of three successful companies, it is important to remember that ours is a platform built on regional knowledge and flavors. After all, people like to do business with their own kind. Our advantage is the regional platform that we have built even on top of this for things like asset management and corporate finance. This is what gives us an extra advantage.

What are your targets and ambitions for 2016?

One goal is to continue building the business and gaining market share as we have been doing over the past three years. Most importantly, we will continue building the culture of Credicorp. We come from three successful companies with three different backgrounds. Building up a culture takes three-five years; it is a process. As we enter our fourth year, we want to become a one-culture company.