Financial services and fintech investment had picked up following a 2016 pact with left-wing rebel group Farc.

Financial services and fintech foreign direct investment (FDI) into Colombia slumped last year as the Covid-19 pandemic caused the country’s economy to shrink by 6.8%, according to the World Bank.

Investment into the country had picked up following the historic peace deal with left-wing rebel group Farc, which was ratified in December 2016. After a dip in 2017, the number of financial services and fintech FDI projects quadrupled year-on-year to 12 projects in 2018, with capital expenditure increasing 568% year-on-year to $95.5m, creating 447 jobs, according to FT-owned greenfield data monitor fDi Markets.

The post-peace deal momentum continued into 2019, which saw 10 financial services and fintech FDI projects with a total capital expenditure of $103m creating 477 jobs. Notable deals in 2019 included Ecuador’s ARS Internacional, which provides asset management, credit recovery and call centre services, opening a shared services centre in the country; Argentina’s Koibanx, a software company focused on smart contracts solutions and blockchain services, opening of a new headquarters in Bogotá; and Banco de Chile establishing a presence in Colombia.

However, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic — which has caused 127,833 deaths in the country as of November 16, 2021 — has negatively impacted investment. The number financial services and fintech FDI projects fell to six in 2020, with total capital expenditure falling 45% year-on-year to $57m, with 106 jobs created. Notable deals included Brazilian neobank Nubank opening of a new office in the country; Chilean investment manager Toesca Asset Management opening an office in Medellín; and Arval PHH, a subsidiary of French bank BNP Paribas, opening an office in Bogotá.

To end-September this year, there have been five financial services and fintech FDI projects with a total capital expenditure of $52.6m creating 255 jobs. Notable deals include Australia’s QBE Insurance opening an office in Bogotá; US financial services firm Insigneo opening an office in the country; and US group Camino Financial, a small-business lender, opening an office in Bogotá. 

Peru was the top investor in Colombia between 2015 and 2020 (marginally ahead of Spain), but investment from the US has shot up this year. More investment came from the US in the first nine months of 2021 than the rest of 2015-2020 combined.

Trends identified using fDi Markets, a comprehensive online database of cross-border greenfield investments, covering all countries and sectors worldwide. Contact us. 


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