Montevideo has the highest quality of living in Latin America

28 May 2018

Montevideo has been named the city in Latin America with the best quality of living, coming in at 77 on Mercer’s 2018 Quality of Living Index Index.

The Uruguayan capital, Montevideo has been named as this year’s Latin city with the best quality of living in the region. Several cities in North America ranked above Montevideo including Vancouver and Toronto, which placed 5th and 16th respectively, with San Francisco the first city in the United States to appear on the list.

The global consultancy firm Mercer has been conducting surveys on the quality of living in cities worldwide for the past 20 years. The consultancy firm, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of professional services firm Marsh & McLennan Companies, then take the data generated from the survey and incorporate it into the ranking. 

By evaluating and ranking over 450 cities worldwide, the index is used by Mercer to advise its multinational clients on expat renumeration and international employee transfers. To cumulate the data, the firm analyses 39 factors which are split into 10 categories including political stability, environmental stability, education and housing, sanitation and hygiene, as well as the economic marketplace.

Top 5 global cities for quality of living per region Mercer Index 2018

This year’s list was once again dominated by European cities with the majority of the top ten being situated in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Vienna took the top spot with Aukland placing third and Toronto being the first North American city to appear on the list. Pointe-à-Pitre, the economic capital of French overseas department Guadalupe, scored 73rd in the ranking, making it the first to appear in the Caribbean region. 

Montevideo is largely considered to have a European influence and a laid-back lifestyle. The city of 1.3 million people has appeared first again in the Mercer Index as having the best quality of living in Latin America. Having one of the lowest rates of inequality in the region coupled with one of the highest GDP’s per capita, makes Montevideo an attractive as well as secure location. 

Following the Uruguayan capital, Buenos Aires and Santiago both made an appearance coming in at 91 and 92 respectively. Both are considered to have a relatively European outlook as well as being major financial hubs within the southern Latin region. However, the economic environment in Argentina and Chile is less stable than in Uruguay, giving Montevideo an upper-hand in the rankings.

In Central America and the Caribbean, Puerto Rico’s San Juan came in at number 96, ranking on par with Panama City. Brasilia was the first Brazilian city to make the list at number 111, with Monterey the first Mexican appearance. The majority of Latin cities appear between the 110 and the 130 mark with San José, Costa Rica (113), Asuncion, Paraguay (115), Rio de Janeiro (118), Quito and Sao Paulo (122), Lima (124), Bogota (128) and Mexico City (129) in the bracket.

Biggest improvement in quality of living per region Mercer Index 2018

On the other end of the spectrum are Venezuela’s Caracas (193) and Haiti’s Port au Prince (228) as the lowest ranking cities in the region. The two cities are considered to have the worst political environments in the region, extreme levels of inequality, poor hygiene, and security issues. Havana has made the most progress in Latin America, increasing its score 6.5% over the past year. Managua, Nicaragua and El Salvador’s San Salvador have both seen an over 5% rise as well.

“The highest increases have occurred in Central America, including Havana, Cuba (+6.5%). Several locations in Central and Latin America saw living standards increase following improvements in the political environment and expanding availability of consumer goods for expatriates, combined with a slight development in infrastructure,” states the report.

In general, Latin America and the Caribbean fair better than other developing regions with the ten cities with the poorest quality of living situated in Africa, Central and Southern Asia and the Middle East, excluding the natural-disaster ravaged Haitian capital. However, Latin American cities are thought to be entities unto themselves with a large range of urban spaces representing, in real terms, large levels of socially geographical inequality. 

“Although they are challenged by economic and political turmoil,” experts at the consultancy explain, “cities in emerging markets are catching up with major cities, after decades of investment in infrastructure, recreational facilities, and housing for the purpose of attracting talent and multinational businesses.”

Top 10 and bottom 10 global cities for quality of living per region Mercer Index 2018

Mercer’s Quality of Living Ranking

Mercer’s annual report is one of the most comprehensive global studies and helps MNEs and other international organisations along with HR relocation specialists. The results are also intended to be used by expats who must choose between international postings and to calculate hardship allowances. 

“How successful an international assignment is hinges on the personal and professional wellbeing of the individual expatriate and the welfare of their families,” said Slagin Parakatil, Principal at Mercer and Global Product Owner for its Quality of Living research. 

“As well as a significant hinder to a city’s, business and talent attractiveness, poor quality of living can considerably impact on an expatriate’s lifestyle. Younger generations, millennials in particular, often have high expectations in terms of lifestyle, leisure and entertainment opportunities. Companies sending expatriates abroad need to get the full picture of conditions on the ground in order to compensate their employees appropriately for any decrease in living standards.”

Top consulting firms in Brazil for restructuring and turnaround

23 January 2019

A new analysis of surveys among clients on track record / engagement satisfaction and management consultants on reputation has identified Brazil’s top consulting firms for restructuring and turnaround services. 

Companies in Brazil facing financial and operational difficulties, including rapidly deteriorating commercial performance, liquidity concerns, loss of key management / clients or refinancing risk, can according to data sourced by best place their faith in ten consulting firms specialized in restructuring, turnaround and crisis management. These ten consultancies are: Alvarez & Marsal, FTI Consulting, G5 Evercore, Moelis & Co, Rothschild, KPMG, Laplace Financas, Pantalica Partners and RK Partners.

When companies fall in financial distress, executives need to move swiftly to stabilize the business, while working towards a more long term strategy for sustainable strategic, operational and financial change. Working alongside debtors, lenders, shareholders and other stakeholders, consultants support with solving short-term liquidity requirements and action-planning to quickly preserve value and address potential risks to stability.

With stabilization in place, broader restructuring plans are designed and executed, including activities that enable cost optimization, operational restructuring, improved cash and working capital management and asset / debt restructuring. In the case of (potential) bankruptcy, restructuring consultants work with shareholders, debtors, creditors, regulators and other insolvency stakeholders on executing the administration or bankruptcy process – the procedures differ per country.

Top consulting firms in Brazil for restructuring and turnaround

In Brazil, the bankruptcy law covers three main proceedings. The first proceeding (‘bankruptcy’) is the actual process of liquidating a company’s assets in order to pay off debts. This involves selling all property and goods to meet the debt’s requirements. The ‘court-ordered restructuring’ proceeding has been put into place to help the company restructure its debts while carrying on its day-to-day operations (only applicable for companies that have been in business for at least two years). The third bankruptcy proceeding, ‘extra-judicial restructuring’, involves a private negotiation between the debtor and the creditor. Restructuring and insolvency consultants typically team up with lawyers to mediate between the two parties – if however no consensus is reached, the judge takes over the process.

Top restructuring consulting firms

Brazil’s list of top consulting for restructuring and turnaround services includes three advisory players that operate globally. Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) is one of the most well-known names in the restructuring landscape, which it for a large part owes much for its key role on the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of the collapsed banking giant Lehman Brothers. Globally, Alvarez & Marsal has over 3,000 professionals in 50+ offices, including a Latin American presence in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) and Mexico (Mexico City). Rival FTI Consulting is with a headcount 4,700 employees worldwide larger than A&M. Both consultancies provide a range of management and economic consulting, financial advisory (corporate finance and restructuring) and technology advisory services.

KPMG is one of the Big Four accounting and consulting firms. Its Restructuring & Turnaround practice has over 1,200 professionals worldwide. The Brazilian team operates mainly from the firm’s national hubs in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Brasília and Belo Horizonte.

Four of the industry’s top players are local Brazilian consultancies. G5 | Evercore is one of Brazil's largest independent financial advisory services firm, operating bases in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife. Formerly known as Arion Capital, São Paulo-based Laplace Finanças provides a wide range of financial advisory services to private sector and private equity clients, including restructuring and turnaround. Pantalica Partners, also located in São Paulo, has completed more than 70 restructuring engagements in Brazil with a restructured debt value of over $25 billion since inception in 2014. RK Partners specialises exclusively on turnaround and crisis management offerings, and in recent years played a role in the turnaround of among others Bom Bril, Rossi, Bertin Energia and Property Brasil.

Completing the list of Brazil’s best consulting firms for restructuring and turnaround services are the advisory arms of three international investment banks. New York headquartered Moelis & Company was founded in 2007 and today employs over 750 employees in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia. The company serves the Latin America region through its locales in São Paulo and Mexico City. Lazard and Rothschild rank among the globe’s most prestigious investment banks – they both provides financial advisory and asset management services to corporations, governments and non-profit institutions. Lazard was founded in 1848 in the US, while Rothschild – which is owned by the Rothschild family, one of the wealthiest families in modern world history – was established in 1838 and is currently headquartered in Paris, France.

Related: Consulting market of South America grows 4% to $2.6 billion.