In 2012, bolstered by 3 investment grade ratings, improved security within the country and a strong regulatory environment within the financial community, Colombia attracted a record of $16.7 billion USD to its bond and stock market as direct foreign investment.
The market had 14 % foreign participation in 2012 and a traded volume of $40 billion. By March of 2103 there was a market capitalization of $254 billion.
Currently there are 5 international companies listed on the Colombian stock exchange including Canada’s Pacific Rubiales and there are hopes for at least 2 more for 2013.
In May, of 2011, the Colombian stock exchange along with those from Chile and Peru formed the ”Latin American Integrated Market”. In its first year it had a market value of $633 billion making it the second largest in Latin America behind Brazil’s $1.6 trillion. Of the four most traded stocks in 2012, three were Colombian : Bancolombia, Ecopetrol and Pacific Rubiales. Currently (2013) there are 556 companies listed with a capitalization of $712.5 billion.
Global Finance magazine in 2013 named Bancolombia the best investment bank in Colombia, a position that it has held with the Latin Finance magazine for 6 years. Other investment banks in Colombia include Banco de Bogota, BBVA and Scotiabank (Colpatria).
Private equity funds are quite active in Colombia as well. They tend to be involved in a combination of corporate acquisitions, joint ventures, and minority investments. A great deal of the foreign funds are flowing from the Chile, England and the United States. Investors in this market are often foreign funds, insurance companies and multilateral organizations such as the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
There are numerous brokerage houses throughout Colombia. If you plan to do business here it is wise to investigate how long they have been in business and how much capitalization they have. Of course one can always be surprised. In November 2012 the Colombian government ordered the close of the Interbolsa Group which was involved in asset management and other types of investment banking for default of debts within the Colombian banking system. At that time they held approximately 29% of the trading activity within the country. It has been reported that the Canadian entity, Scotiabank (Colpatria) is looking at the possibilities of opening a brokerage business in Colombia.