Affiliate in Latin America
Thomas Title launches affiliate in Latin America
Since its founding, Thomas Title had been providing escrow services for Mexico out of its U.S. offices.
From The Title Report– May 18, 2015
When President and CEO Frank Busch wanted to grow the Latin America platform late last year, he entered into a joint venture named TLA with Connell & Associates, based out of Puerto Vallarta.
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Founder David Connell, a U.S. citizen with a Mexican law degree, has practiced law in Mexico since 1995. His law firm has grown into a leading advisor to U.S. and Canadian clients seeking to do business in Mexico. Their joint venture TLA, LLC, operates out of Dallas as well as out of the Connell & Associates’ offices in Puerto Vallarta.
“I lived, studied and worked in Mexico City for a year,” Busch told The Title Report. “I did part of my law school there, and worked at one of the largest global law firms, Baker & McKenzie, in the corporate group, so I’ve always had an interest and strong connection to Latin business. I knew that Mexico could use American-style escrow services, for both real estate and corporate escrow transactions, because there is no such thing as ‘escrow’ in Mexican law. I thought we might be able to help fill a niche in providing U.S.-style escrow services to foreign investors in Mexico.”
In Mexico there are trust arrangements banks can set up in lieu of escrow, but Busch said they are cumbersome and prohibitively expensive to form. He said TLA’s lead product is escrow services, but they are happy to facilitate title insurance as well. Escrow funds are held in U.S. bank accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).
“Our U.S.-style escrow services provide a familiar process
and enable our clients to settle transactions with safety, security and flexibility,” Busch said. “We are able to handle transactions in U.S. dollars or in foreign currencies like the Mexican peso.
We specialize in providing confidential escrow arrangements
for commercial and residential real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, cross-border procurement of goods and services, and dispute settlements and other
sensitive matters. We are facilitating title insurance on a
selective basis through Stewart on the commercial side, and through a U.K.-based company on
the residential side.”
Since Thomas Title began providing these services in Mexico, the landscape has changed dramatically. He said First American, Fidelity and Stewart had formed Mexican insurance companies over the past 10 years, but all are substantially out of the market now.
Stateside, Thomas Title is continuing to grow as well. Revenues from the company’s Texas operations tripled in 2014 compared with 2013, and Busch expects revenue growth of at least 50 percent this year in Texas. Although revenues are diversified across different regions of the state and product types, at least 95 percent of Texas revenues were from commercial transactions. Thomas Title is licensed in Massachusetts, Indiana, Texas and Arizona and expects to be licensed in 25 other states in the next 30-45 days.