When it comes to analyses of financial power in Latin America, there has been a tendency to assume it is mostly external, relatively homogeneous, and usually constraining of domestic policy autonomy. Increasingly, however, when speaking of financial power in the region, a focus exclusively on foreign capital misses a significant part of the empirical landscape, one inhabited by large domestic institutional investors: public and private pension funds. A focus on these funds reveals that a neat state–finance dichotomy is often unrepresentative of the type of blurred web of interests, influence and ownership that characterizes even those economies that have embraced a significant degree of liberalization. In fact, pension finance is far from uniform across countries. In order to capture this diversity in Latin America, a new typology is suggested that departs from the Anglo-American notion of ‘pension fund capitalism’ and further specifies pension finance as also revealing dynamics best described as ‘pension fund developmentalism and statism’. The typology is not only aimed at capturing more empirical nuance in Latin America; it can also serve as reference for cross-regional analyses of these often neglected, but increasingly powerful financial actors in emerging economies.