Blackstar Capital Group has appointed David Phipps and Frances Walsh to its trade finance advisory team.

Phipps and Walsh will be based in a new London-based subsidiary, Blackstar Trade Finance Limited. The business will specialise in providing trade finance advisory and transaction management services to trading firms and their investors, in what the company says is now a fragmented market.

“Given the fragmentation within the trade finance sector within the last five to seven years, it has become increasingly difficult for companies that require trade finance to find suitable funding partners,” says Blackstar CEO Mark Stephens.

“Hence, trade finance advisory firms that have the ability to originate funding, structure complex transactions and manage the funding requirements of clients on an ongoing basis are going to become increasingly important. Equally, for investors that have specific requirements that are not suited to pooled investments, advisory firms play an important role in providing access to the trade finance marketplace.”

Blackstar operates both as a lender, via its lending fund and portfolio, and as an advisor to its client base.

Phipps has worked in the financial services industry for almost 30 years and has broad experience in commodity risk management, commodity trading and financing. He has held senior positions at investment banks, including head of commodities at ABN Amro, and co-global head of commodities at UBS.

Walsh is a highly experienced structured trade financier with extensive practical experience in providing finance within the international trade sector. Her expertise encompasses traditional trade finance, factoring and forfaiting in the export markets. She also has a strong legal background and 25 years in the international banking and finance markets.