Keith Martin joined Aon Brazil as its first director of international trade and investment on January 4. In his new position, Martin reports to the vice-president of Aon Risk Services, Marcelo Homburger, and is based in Rio de Janeiro.

The department of international trade and investment, the first of its kind in Latin America at any brokerage, will assist Brazilian enterprises and banks exporting and/or investing abroad through a range of consulting and brokerage services.

On the consulting side, the department will support companies by analysing potential non-commercial risks in their foreign exposure and proposing mitigation measures (which may include, but is not limited to, insurance). The department will also provide brokerage services for political risk and export credit insurance. These services will similarly be available to foreign corporations establishing or expanding their presence in Brazil.

Martin was previously general manager of external affairs and policy and political analysis at Rio de Janeiro-based Vale (CVRD), the world’s second-largest mining company and Brazil’s largest private-sector corporation.

He spent 10 years at Miga, the World Bank Group’s political risk insurance arm, and at Opic, the US government agency financing and insuring US investments abroad.

Commenting on the move, Martin says: “I am very excited to accept Aon’s timely invitation. We believe that Brazilian companies are becoming increasingly aggressive and sophisticated as they expand abroad, but in many cases still lack the appropriate mitigation tools to protect themselves – and their shareholders – against potential risks they face outside of Brazil.

“This includes the many enterprises who have exposure in neighbouring Latin American countries, such as Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador, as well as natural resource companies investing in Africa and exporting to China, India, Ukraine, etc. However, it also includes thoroughly analysing the regulatory risks that they may face in Europe and the US.

“We believe that Aon’s experience globally and in Brazil can help these corporations maximise profits and shareholder value, while minimising risk, as they expand beyond their home base, and will enable them to better compete with companies from other BRIC countries, Europe, Japan and the US.”