FBN Bank (UK) has set up a structured trade team headed by John Vowell, assisted by Chaste Nyilimana. Vowell moves from his previous role as director of structured trade and finance at Nedbank.

Vowell will look to establish a diversified bilateral structured trade commodity finance (STCF) customer base with the top tier European commodity traders, producers and manufacturers, and build on the bank’s existing well-established trade finance offering.

FBNUK wants to develop the portfolio across the various commodity sectors, with oil, metals and soft commodities under bilateral facilities being the main focus.

The team will not only look to support Sub-Saharan African trade flows, but will follow clients to Eastern Europe and Asia. Vowell is impressed with the existing strong trade finance focus that already exists within FBNUK. He hopes the latest STCF offering will complement the bank’s existing client relationships and develop new long-term relationships allowing the team to differentiate itself from the teams at the other London-based African banks.

“FBN has an aggressive expansion programme for their STCF product offering which is tapered around client quality and a focused approach to a quality service,” comments Vowell.

FBNUK is a UK registered bank authorised by the Financial Services Authority to accept deposits and undertake banking business. It was incorporated in November 2002 when it absorbed the business of the previous London branch of the First Bank of Nigeria set up in the early 1980s.

It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria and was initially established to primarily service the London banking requirements of Nigerian companies and First Bank.

However, since it commenced business, it has developed into a much broader business looking to opportunities in Europe and beyond for African banks, companies and high net worth individuals.

The bank also has a branch in Paris which looks after business flows from Francophone West Africa and a representative office in Osborne Estate, Lagos, where it can serve the international banking requirements of most West African businesses.

Services to corporate customers include the normal range of multi-currency bank accounts plus a full trade finance suite of products, including structured commodity trade finance.

FBNUK also provides correspondent banking services to numerous African banks with services ranging from simple payment, deposits and foreign exchange requirements to the more complex area of advising and confirming letters of credit.

The bank also provides a full range of services to Nigerian parastatals. In addition, the bank ensures that funds are protected by a very conservative investment policy.

The bank’s Tier I capital now exceeds £100mn, and Tier I and Tier II capital exceeds £117mn. Capital adequacy ratio is strong exceeding 17% and the balance sheet exceeds £1.3bn.