A new JP Morgan survey named Colombia as the second most promising country in Latin America for investment over the next three years, but determined that it will need to improve its investor relations before it can meet these expectations.
In a survey of 40 institutional North American and European investors, participants’ optimism towards Colombian investment opportunities was second only to Brazil. Nearly 40% of surveyed investors pointed to the Colombian market as highly promising, largely because its economy is emerging.
“Colombia is viewed as being earlier in its growth cycle and ‘more emerging’ that many other countries in the region,” the survey summarized. “Thus, investors see more potential upside in Colombia than in some more developed Latin American countries as it ‘catches up’ and further develops its economy.”
One investor explained that because Colombia is less developed than some Latin American countries, like Brazil, new investments and the implementation of infrastructure will enable future investments and growth.
The outlook on Colombia is overall more positive than that of other “emerging” countries, which participants attributed to the present Colombian government’s economic policies. Colombia and Peru are both seen as “under-penetrated markets with plenty of room for growth,” but Peru is “less promising” due to the country’s government.
Investors “like the fact that Colombia’s government seems pro-business and is taking the right steps towards encouraging investment in the country.”
However, the survey points out that Colombia must improve its investor relations standards in order to compete for future investors.
Colombia, Mexico and Peru “have the most room for improvement” with respect to investor relations standards.
“Colombia’s investor relations are particularly weak because its companies do not interact with investors as they should,” an investor commented.
Colombia’s main investor relations setback, participants said, is Colombian companies’ general inability to communicate in English. English fluency is much more common in developed countries like Brazil.
One investor suggested that Colombia and other countries with low investor relations rankings “could better compete by resolving their language barrier and data issues. By data, I mean that the data must be offered in English.”
Colombia would “benefit from providing all financials and business information in English, as well as providing an English-speaking IRO [Investor Relations Officer],” another investor added.