Trafigura has appointed a team of three former Bank of America Merrill Lynch executives to boost its trade and commodity finance business.

Christoph Gugelmann, Stefano Sabbadini and Philip Jan Kok will join Trafigura’s Galena asset management unit at the beginning of July.

The new appointments will expand Trafigura’s sourcing, structuring and trading capabilities in the trade and commodity finance sector, and will work to achieve Galena’s target of reaching US$4bn of funds under management by the end of 2013.

The team will also develop new investment vehicles that will focus on sourcing and investing in bank trade finance portfolios. Vehicles developed by the team will be seeded by Trafigura and will leverage Galena’s existing trade finance capabilities, the bank says in a statement.

“Trafigura is uniquely positioned to broaden its funding model and deliver greater opportunities for growth. By participating in the financing of commodity trading operations investors will be able to monetise the value of liquidity in a market that, until recently, has only been open to banks. Notably this initiative will also provide distribution channels for those banks seeking to deleverage their balance sheets,” says Pierre Lorinet, chief financial officer at Trafigura.