In a move that signals Natexis Banques Populaires “enhanced ambitions in the international trade finance market, Rodney Ballard has joined the bank as head of structured trade finance. Ballard will build a London-based team to advise on, originate and execute structured trade transactions with a particular focus on the power, telecoms, capital goods, pulp and paper and transportation sectors.
The team will cover the full range of trade products from pre-export financing through to conventional term-finance with ECA and/or multilateral support. Geographically, the team will initially focus on European producers and end users within the Natexis global network in the Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.
“Natexis Banques Populaires has a wide-ranging product mix, a wide geographic spread – especially in the emerging markets – and a strong heritage as a trade finance bank,” says Ballard. “It also has a very strong reputation as a corporate bank, which is a franchise the bank wants to build upon and internationalise.”
The bank’s aim is to build a centre of excellence for structured trade – based in London and headed by Ballard. It will complement the market-leading natural resources and related industries division in Paris, which undertakes pre-export finance and other structured transactions for commodity and energy-based clients.
Ballard will report to Philippe Fricquegnon, general manager of the London branch, who is also the senior country manager for the UK and indirectly to the trade finance business line in Paris.
“The bank’s goal is not just to participate in trade transactions,” says Ballard. “Natexis has the products, relationships, balance-sheet and geographic spread to be a world-beating structured trade bank and will be looking to further develop its relationships in Europe by taking senior level roles in deals as well as leveraging its existing relationships to advise and lead transactions. Using the bank’s geographic network of relationships, underwriting capacity is available to take serious positions.”
Ballard joins the bank from Standard Chartered, where he set up and led the bank’s structured export finance and forfaiting business in Southeast Asia before being promoted to director and head of its UK/Europe, structured export finance group.