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Latin Finance - Best Investment Bank: Evercore Asesores

Former Minister Turns Heads

Mexico's former Finance Minister Pedro Aspe left government in 1994 and started a new life as a financier. He set up Evercore Asesores, an investment banking boutique that wins points for originality and audacity in a market that still suffers from inertia and excessive conservativism.

For these achievements, LatinFinance awards Evercore its 2005 prize for Best Investment Bank in Mexico. Evercore deserves praise for its work in raising capital in the underserved areas of infrastructure, public finance and municipal financing. Now, Aspe says Evercore is setting its sights set on Mexico's fast-growing but increasingly crowded real estate market. Evercore racked up a total of 100 investment banking assignments by the end of last year. It established itself as a pioneer in energy financing in 2000 when it advised Mexican cement multinational Cemex on the financial structuring of a $360 million power generation project, the first project in Mexico involving a private entity purchasing power from a private producer.

Last year, Evercore broke new ground when it advised the Mexican government on restructuring $2.5 billion in peso-denominated debt. It also advised Tlalnepantla, a municipality in the industrial suburbs of Mexico City, on a 95.9 million peso, 10-year bond issue for the construction of a waste-water treatment facility. Evercore has won four mandates for other water projects in Mexico since then.

Aspe has managed to recruit talent that would once have opted for a career on Wall Street or a big local bank. All 26 bankers have graduate degrees, 10 have PhDs and 16 have MBAs and other masters' degrees. Aspe says this level of brainpower is unusual but very necessary. "You need to understand new developments and new laws in Mexico. All of these financial products have been done in developed markets and must be [adapted] to manage the market risk in Mexico." LF