ING’s Swiss unit has announced a reshuffle of its trade and commodity finance (TCF) business, dividing its portfolio between global trading house clients and those requiring specialised lending. 

The bank’s Geneva-based branch will serve larger commodity finance clients through its Swiss global merchants groups unit, headed by Patrick Arnaud. The unit will focus on traders with a multi-location and multi-product strategy. 

The other unit, called transactional commodity finance, is led by François Broussard and targets clients where relationships are rooted in specialised lending, including product and technical sector expertise. 

Trade heads Arnaud and Broussard report to Maarten Koning, global head of trade and commodity finance, and both also join the management committee of ING in Switzerland.  

Arnaud joined ING in 2007, and has been a director in its TCF energy and metals team since 2016. He was most recently in charge of its large trader desk.  

Broussard joined the bank in 2010. He was previously responsible for the TCF metal desks and was also global lead for structured commodity finance. 

The move follows the promotion of former Swiss commodity finance head Gregory Lambillon to chief executive and country manager. 

Lambillon says the decision reflects Switzerland’s status as “the undeniable European hub for the sourcing and delivery of more than a third of the world trading flows in energy, metals and agri markets”, with ING’s Geneva office acting as a hub for commodity finance across Emea. 

“We have decided to revise the set up of the [trade and commodity finance] business to better address the global ambitions of our clients with a clear portfolio segmentation, allowing us to provide tailor-made advisory services and targeted sector expertise,” he says. 

Koning adds it is an “exciting time” to lead ING’s commodity business, which he describes as a “critical and very significant contributor” to the bank’s global trade business. 

The distinction in financing requirements between global trading houses and their smaller rivals has become increasingly pronounced in recent years. 

Since 2020, small traders have reported difficulties obtaining trade finance lines, with many lenders focusing efforts on the larger end of the market. 

The largest traders, meanwhile, have enjoyed record returns and continue to draw on a range of financing products, including revolving credit facilities and export credit agency-backed loans, despite a dent in demand from last year’s interest rate hike.

Lambillon says ING’s Geneva branch will remain active across “all the segmentation of TCF clients” and remains committed to the sector. 

“The distinction between global trading houses and more specialised traders has always been there although not as marked in the past,” he tells GTR. 

“What we are targeting here is to increase the organisation’s focus to the benefit of both client segmentations.” 

Larger traders can benefit from enhanced advisory services, for instance around capital structure, corporate finance and energy transition, while niche and mid-sized traders can “leverage on the TCF expertise across the value chain”, Lambillon says.