Montevideo-based Ferrere has bolstered its M&A, capital markets, and banking and finance practices with the addition of Jesús Beltrán as partner. Beltrán will be based in Ecuador, although the firm does not yet have a full-fledged office there and is not set to begin practicing local law as of yet.

“We are currently looking into the possibility of opening an office in Ecuador, which we see as the natural next step in our plan to cover the last remaining one of South America’s small jurisdictions,” Ferrere’s managing partner Andrés Cerisola said. “Jesús is someone we are thrilled to have on board, given his deep knowledge of the Ecuadorian market and the alignment of his experience with the goal of facilitating the flow of financing and foreign investment into Ecuador.”

Beltrán was previously at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he served as General Counsel for Latin America and the Caribbean, excluding Mexico and Brazil and Senior Counsel for corporate and investment banking in Latin America. Before joining Bank of America, Beltrán practiced at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Rome. Beltrán represented Bank of America in the merger of CorpBanca with Itau’s operations in Chile and Colombia that was finalized in January 2014. In 2012, he also represented the bank in the $1 billion IPO of CEMEX LatAm Holdings, with listing on the Colombian stock exchange and 144A/Regulation S private placement outside of Colombia and the $4.2 billion IPO of Santander Mexico, with dual listing in Mexico and New York. In 2011, he was part of the team that also represented the bank in the $1.25 billion SEC-registered IPO of Arcos Dorados Holdings

He said his experience at Bank of America taught him a lot about what multinational clients, especially bulge-bracket investment banks, want and need from their external counsel.

“My aim is to use that knowledge to refine further the service Ferrere offers so can we can better anticipate and target those needs,” he said. “I also acquired at BAML a wealth of knowledge about the corporate finance, capital markets, banking and M&A worlds that will strengthen these practice areas at Ferrere.”

Beltrán says he sees Ecuador positioning itself to attract a larger share of the foreign investment directed at the region.

“While other markets, such as Colombia and Peru, continue to offer great opportunities to foreign investors, Ecuador remains a relatively untapped market, but one with enormous potential,” Beltran noted. “I believe investors looking for attractive opportunities and higher yield, will begin to take a closer look at the Ecuadorean market. To achieve that, I see Ecuador moving towards a more transparent and predictable institutional and legal framework. One that allows it to consolidate the gains it has achieved in the last few years.”

So far in 2014, Ferrere has added six partners including the hiring of Alejandro Pemintel in Bolivia, Guillermo Jover from White & Case in Paraguay and the promotion of Paraguay-based Marysol Estigarribia and Uruguay-based Santiago Fontana and Alejandro Pintos.