Roberto Ladron de Guevara – MetLife Chile
You might say Roberto Ladron de Guevara achieved his business New Year’s resolution months in advance at MetLife Chile.
By smoothing out the legal wrinkles of two real estate financing projects, Ladron de Guevara helped pave the way for the company’s ambitious 2020 growth projections. Those wrinkles included a variety of commercial, legal, tax and accounting issues and by resolving them, Ladron de Guevara helped the Santiago-based insurance company to invest $15 million in an ambitious timetable.
The move, he says, will allow MetLife to better serve its clients, as well as secure its position as in the country.
“These projects were very important for our growth and allowed us to develop an appropriate legal structure for the development of our long-term business objectives,” Ladron de Guevara says.
Investing in the future
And those efforts are taking root and growing.
MetLife Chile is active throughout South America where it provides insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs. Its parent company, MetLife, has more than 90 million customers in 60 countries.
In his role as general counsel, Ladron de Guevara—who joined the organization in 2001—is tasked with protecting the company and supporting its adherence to regulations in the business, as well as seeking to help secure long-term financial backing for the company.
All told, he says his team’s efforts help to keep the business fiscally viable and grow and will better support development of insurance solutions in the areas of life, health and pension-related policies for its clients.
“Although we are a company with large operations, we are looking to be able to deliver the best financial solutions for our clients,” Ladron de Guevara says. “Insurance companies sell promises, but when clients come to us, we must be able to give them the solutions they need.”
If there’s one thing Ladron de Guevara has learned since coming on board, it was never to take anything for granted—or celebrate a deal before it’s finalized.
A second takeaway, he says, is knowing that in-house lawyers contribute more to operations beyond filing legal paperwork. With their knowledge of the insurance business, he says, these attorneys can appreciate the risks of each business they come in contact with and offer legal strategies to help their organizations thrive within a regulatory framework.
“In-house lawyers can make tremendous contributions to the company, but we must first gain a firm understanding of the business in order to collaborate and provide better support for the development of the business,” he says, noting that MetLife has the highest level of real estate investment of any insurance company in the Chilean market.
Faithful focus on the future
Well-suited for his legal tasks at MetLife, Ladron de Guevara earned his law degree from the Universidad de Chile in 1993.
At MetLife for 18 years, his experience was drawn from many areas: from 1992 to 1994 he was pro secretario of the Chilean Supreme Court and for four years until 1996 he was chief attorney of Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones Summa and general manager at Compañía de Seguros de Vida El Roble. He also gained five years of experience from 1996 to 2001 working as deputy manager in the insurance and pension area of Santander Group.
Between serving as MetLife’s general counsel and anti-money laundering prevention compliance officer, his favorite part of the job is a toss-up between designing high-yield legal and financial solutions and working collaboratively with his seven-person legal team on a variety of matters.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that things have to be done well and that everything takes time,” Ladron de Guevara says. “Each stage must be completed and not rushed. If you understand your counterpart and negotiate in good faith, trust is generated and everything is simpler.”
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