Aldrich Sevilla-Sacasa joined the bank in April 2012, capping a banking career that spanned three decades, most of it in private banking. That included serving as president and CEO of U.S. Trust Company and as president of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management after U.S. Trust’s acquisition by Bank of America in 2007.
She stepped down in 2009 and in 2011 became the interim dean of the University of Miami’s School of Business Administration.
She said she wasn’t actively looking to return to banking but was drawn to the opportunity to work with “an iconic Latin American brand.”
Itaú’s Miami operation was formed in 2007 from the acquisition of BankBoston International’s private banking office in Miami and the addition of the private banking clients of ABN-Amro’s Miami business. Both had a substantial book of business in Latin America.
Itaú’s private bank in Miami does business through two entities: BancoItaú Europa International bank and Itaú Europa Securities, a U.S.-licensed brokerage firm.
Brokers handle securities trades for clients in a glass-enclosed area of the Miami office that is walled off from the traditional banking side.
While catering to the wealthy is a lucrative sector of banking, it isn’t an easy one.
Competition is keen, particularly in Miami where a host of sophisticated international financial institutions are vying for the same clients.
And the sector is fraught with risks, as authorities are increasingly holding banks responsible for the illicit activity of their clients — even when banks are unwitting participants. A cottage industry has sprung up around selling services, software, and training to banks to help them deal with the spiraling demands of complying with regulations.
“The government for years has deputized banks,” said Charles A. Intriago, president of the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists, a Miami firm that does training and hosts conferences on financial crimes like fraud, money-laundering and corruption.
Aldrich Sevilla-Sacasa said the bank takes its obligations seriously.
“The growth in compliance costs is a reality given the industry’s continuously expanding obligations,” Aldrich Sevilla-Sacasa said, ticking off a list of bank responsibilities pertaining to the prevention of money laundering, know-your-customer requirements, anti-corruption laws, and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA.
“We monitor these very closely to ensure that we keep up with the changes in such laws and in the markets in which we do business,” she said.