Some of the most prominent players in trade finance syndications gathered in Arosa, Switzerland from March 10-12 to attend Credit Suisse’s eighth trade finance syndications meeting. GTR attended as the first – and only – media partner to be invited to the annual event.

Delegates from 25 banks attended the conference, which provides a platform for participants to get together on a yearly basis to discuss relevant topics – such as pricing and legal issues – and engage in bilateral meetings with partners from banks across the globe.

The annual meeting has established itself as an important event in the market. This year saw Credit Suisse hosting industry participants at Hotel Eden in Arosa, a Swiss ski resort.

“In our position as a leading market player in trade finance syndications we are pleased to host this event every year. The hosting of the syndication conference provides an excellent opportunity to exchange best practices with our partners and underlines Credit Suisse’s commitment to this business,” says Stefan Vögeli, head of trade finance syndications for Credit Suisse in Zurich.

The agenda for the 2010 touched on the issue of syndication pools and whether they are still feasible now that the market has eased up. Delegates ruled that syndication pools can indeed still be implemented on a case-by-case basis for certain types of risks, and that it is not too difficult to find banks with which to syndicate letters of credit. Other topics up for discussion included the various types of default events in 2009, as well as a debate on the outlook for the insurance market.

Many ideas discussed by the small and focussed group of representatives over the years have led to innovations in the trade finance syndication market, such as the Master Participation Agreement (MPA) introduced by the Bankers’ Association for Finance and Trade (Baft) in January 2008. This MPA had been an important topic during various syndications meetings in the years 2004 to 2007, and Credit Suisse collected feedback from other banks to optimise and standardise the wording.

Comments from conference delegates:

“This is a truly excellent opportunity for the leading trade finance banks in the world to get together to discuss the various issues and business opportunities that affect their respective institutions. We have progressed with some very interesting transactions with several of the participating banks during the conference and exchanged some views on some general market developments that have represented a challenge to the trade finance industry over the past year. We thank Credit Suisse for taking the initiative in establishing this valuable forum.”

Philip Smith, associate director, trade finance, Bank of Ireland Global Markets

“It seems Credit Suisse understands that, in addition to informative speakers, the key to a successful conference is to allow time for the delegates to meet with each other. Furthermore, it was good to see the trade finance market is very much alive and well and looking at ways to adapt its business practices as the world economies start to recover.”

David Ringer, manager, global trade distribution, SMBCE

“I’ve found it to be one of the best for the type of secondary market trade finance I’m involved in – namely unfunded participations under Master Risk Participation Agreements. It’s always a small and focussed group of representatives from the key players in our market, and has always been very well organised with plenty of opportunity for people to discuss the current issues that we all face.”

Paul Coles, trade asset management, RBS NV