J. Sidlow Baxter (Australia, 1903-1999) put it simply: “What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty and every difficulty has an opportunity”.
In one of the regions strongly hit by a pandemic similar to others we have only read about in history books, we could have doubted about the capacity to react and to overcome the whirlwinds ahead. Truth is, though, that after nine months into such troubled waters, the Latin American markets stand still and have been able to find opportunities within the tremendous difficulties the region is living in.
Brazil, on the one hand, has gone through very successful reformatory steps on local labor regulations (in 2018) and social security (in 2019). In face of an extremely challenging 2020, the country is well aware of the need to keep attracting foreign investment. Once we are back to a less traumatic situation, the pillars that must sustain the local economy need to be in place. So, alongside the enormous impact that the pandemic is causing to the country, the authorities keep working on the conclusion of the required Administrative Reform and the so much desired Tax Reform. Combined with this, Santander CACEIS continuous to be an active contributor to the local securities industry decisions, but not only; simultaneously, it has found means to face several historical market challenges in a way that dramatically ease its clients’ day-to-day activities, hence proving Sidlow Baxter’s words, by turning difficulties into clear opportunities.
But this is “only” one case amongst several others, where the decision not to wait for better days to come but, instead, to weather the storm and stay put in face of unprecedented challenges, proved to be the correct way forward.
Despite how strongly this region is being hit, word must be spread out on the high level of resilience that we have been witnessing. A good number of industry players and individuals alike have stood still, supported, on one side, by powerful technology (which enabled them to continue operating normally in a 100% remote working mode) and, on the other hand, by an incredible capacity to adapt to totally new, often frightening and certainly unfamiliar circumstances.
If we take a look at Colombia, for instance, hard work – albeit executed remotely – has resulted in extremely successful opportunities for Santander CACEIS, as we started new partnerships with local public entities and, simultaneously, successfully migrated new businesses from a number of non-resident institutions, hence proving the high level of resilience of our staff in overcoming an extremely puzzling environment.
Looking northerly, into Mexico, another one of Santander CACEIS’ local markets in Latin America, even though badly hit by the pandemic and living amongst troubled times in all fronts (social, political and economic), the bank’s behavior could well be different than the reality is showing. Here again, were it not for our capacity to believe that, in order to succeed, resilience is key, we would not be witnessing incoming business from various partners (existing and new), a sign that the course of action we have been taking leads to results that one would not have expected when spring came.
Winston Churchill once said that “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” We believe that the course of action we have been taking, do prove him right.