A new trade and export finance outsourcing firm, Iftra (International Finance for Trade), has been established.

“Iftra’s role is not only to provide services to develop the instruments, techniques and structures that accompany imports and exports but also to provide market intelligence on the evolution of the trade and export finance sector,” comments founder Jaime Teke.

Teke was most recently vice-president of the global trade finance group at Louis Dreyfus. Before that he worked for Chilean Telecom Cie, before being hired by Schlumberger Group to create and head its export finance department.

“The strong consolidation trend in the banking industry has had a major impact in its trade and export finance departments. In some cases this concentration has triggered the development of trade and export finance services and in others, the function has disappeared within the bank, leaving an unsatisfied need in the market for a group of customers. On the other hand, the private insurance industry has made huge progress in adapting insurance products to trade and export einance structures. Capacity for political as well as credit and performance risks has been increasing, despite the catastrophic previous years (September 11, Enron, World Com, Argentina  and so on).

The market for Iftra is not only small and medium-sized companies who cannot afford trade and export finance departments, but also big groups who look for diversified experiences or need support for specific big or complex projects, adds Teke.

” Iftra’s expertise is also aimed at providing advices on organisation, strategy and training for trade and export finance departments, thanks to its diversified experiences through its consultants in different functions: trade and export finance, treasury, corporate finance; and in different sectors including telecoms, electronic equipment, oilfield services, agricultural commodities, energy trading, insurance and banking,” he says.