Itau Unibanco , Brazil's biggest bank, is moving its European investment banking headquarters to London from Lisbon.
Itau BBA, the bank's corporate and investment banking arm, said it was transferring about 20 staff from Lisbon, which would increase its number of London staff to about 70 after extra hiring in areas such as Treasury, capital markets, risk management and compliance functions.
Almir Vignoto, head of Itau BBA in London, said business had been moved due to London's position as one of the major financial centres. The bank plans to serve the 300 largest European groups that own operations or investments in Latin America, he said.
The bank said it expected to get approval for merging the UK and Portugal businesses from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) early next year.
Back-office functions for Europe will continue to be maintained mainly from Lisbon, where the bank has about 100 employees. It also has offices in Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt.
(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)