Brazil’s XP Eyes Efficiency Drive After Doubling Headcount During the Pandemic

The Brazilian broker saw net inflows drop 7% year on year and by 19% compared with Q2, but sees its business as “resilient, no matter the macro conditions,” CFO Bruno Constantino says

Brazil's XP ended the third quarter of 2022 with net revenue 14% higher compared to Q2 2021.
November 08, 2022 | 07:25 PM

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Bloomberg Línea — Brazil’s largest broker XP (XP) says it will look for more efficiency in the near term, as the company posted net revenues of 35 billion reais ($6.8 billion) during third quarter, a 19% drop on Q2 and a 7% decrease over the same period of 2021. The broker’s assets under management swelled by 17% to 925 billion reais ($179.8 billion) during the quarter.

XP is a tech-enabled platform providing low-fee financial products and services. The company’s shares rose 0.55% in after-market trading on Tuesday.

As interest rates rise, XP says the macroeconomic environment is a headwind to bringing new money to the platform, but denied that the departures from its independent financial advisory (IFA) network are affecting that.

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“XP invested a lot in new verticals, digital accounts, cards, offshore accounts, the digital asset platform, the insurance business. We have done all those investments and now it’s time to consolidate the investments we have made,” said CFO Bruno Constantino.

“We will look for more efficiency, we can be more efficient than we are right now. We more than doubled our base headcount during the pandemic and now we believe it’s the right time to consolidate everything we have invested plus searching for more efficiency in our company,” Constantino said in a call with investors late Tuesday.

“At the beginning of the year, we reduced the pace of hiring and identified initiatives that could limit expense growth without affecting the progress of new businesses. Thus, most of the expense increase of 2022 so far was due to decisions we made in 2021, when we significantly expanded our commercial team,” the company said.

“Our plan is to conclude 2022 and go through 2023 with headcount addition primarily concentrated on internally trained advisors, as seen in the third quarter. Therefore, we do not expect to see expense growth of the same magnitude in 2023 as we did in 2022,” it added.

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Several questions to XP’s shareholders were concerned with the departures from XP’s IFA platform, and Constatino said that it is a competitive market and it is natural if advisors want to leave.

The company says it currently had more than 13,000 IFAs,

“What we lose is basically growth through IFA offices. When the IFAs migrate, the client already has the XP account and the app. We have more than 13,000 advisors in our ecosystem who are more than willing to serve clients,” he said.

Gross profit for the quarter was 2.61 billion reais ($507.2 million), up 15% year on year, and up 6% from Q2, while net income was 1.03 billion reais ($200.2 million), a 10% year-on-year increase and 13% higher than Q2.

“The business is resilient no matter the macro conditions,” Constantino said during the investor call.

“The macroeconomic scenario in 2022 proved to be more challenging than expected. In the history of XP, we went through several other difficult moments which demanded a strong adaptability and focus on efficiency and profitability, which we never took for granted,” XP said in its results statement.