This article is part of the special report: Challenging perceptions: Brazil makes a comeback
TMF Group, which provides administrative services to help clients invest and operate around the world, established its Brazil operations in 2006. Rodrigo Zambon, managing director at TMF Brazil, talks about the company’s expansion in the country and reflects on how the investment environment is changing.
Q: What are your firm’s activities in Brazil?
A: The 2015 acquisition of the PwC outsourcing company turned TMF Brazil into the biggest TMF Group branch globally, and made us the largest such provider in Brazil. We employ more than 700 staff to meet clients’ needs for accounting, tax, treasury, payroll, structured finance, trust and corporate services, corporate secretarial, fund administration and compliance solutions.
This year, we acquired Paraty Capital — now rebranded as TMF Funds — a Brazilian fund administration platform that specialises in private equity, infrastructure, venture capital and private debt funds. As a result, we can now provide end-to-end fund administration in Brazil.
The acquisition is a milestone in TMF Group’s strategy of growing our global fund services business and bolstering our capabilities in the Americas. As well as offering fund manager coverage across South America, we can now also provide administration services to regulated Brazilian funds.
Q: How would you describe the investment environment in Brazil, and how has it changed since the start of the pandemic?
A: Brazil is an attractive investment destination, given that it was the world’s 12th largest economy in 2020 and has grown rapidly in recent years.
To help companies looking to invest abroad, every year we prepare our Global Business Complexity Index report, where we rank around 80 jurisdictions using almost 300 parameters to determine the complexity of their business environment. Last year, Brazil was considered the most complex jurisdiction in which to do business. This is due to a multi-layered registration process when incorporating a company.
While the country has been hit hard by Covid-19, the pandemic has modernised many business practices, such as permitting electronic documents for a variety of business activities. However, many businesses were slow to take up the support packages provided by the authorities because these were often unclear, and companies were reluctant to commit to schemes that could potentially leave them with unknown liabilities.
Last year, Brazil introduced some short-term changes in response to the pandemic. These included temporary government incentives to help businesses reduce their payroll costs and tax cuts to help companies retain their workforce. However, these changes came with a heavy administrative burden. This year, the cessation of these incentives comes with a similar administrative workload as businesses return to normal.
Q: What are the opportunities for firms investing and operating in Brazil?
A: Brazil continues to be a commodity superpower, and its trade balance benefits from the increases in commodity prices. Foreign investment is growing and has reached its highest mark in the past five years. It has been oriented mostly towards the e-commerce, technology, fintech, energy and agribusiness sectors.
In association with Apex-Brasil. Writing and editing were carried out independently by fDi Intelligence.