Opportunities for institutional investors to tap into the trade finance markets have been increased by the launch of Rosemount Capital Management (RCM), headquartered in New York and a joint venture between the management of RCM and Wood Creek Venture Fund.

RCM is a new hedge fund investment management company established to actively invest in and manage trade finance debt with global emerging market risks. RCM has completed its first transactions in South America and Eastern Europe. RCM acts as a principal in all transactions and invests in and distributes emerging markets trade finance debt.

RCM’s mission is to sell international trade finance as a “unique under-appreciated asset class with yield and volatility characteristics that compare favourably with other emerging market debt instruments”.

The leading faces behind the company are James Klatsky, Bruce Fields, Jane Belova-Barr, David Lefkovits, James Leonard, and Barbara Meyer. Judielynn Sciacca is office manager.

Klatsky has been involved in trade finance for 25 years. Most recently, he was a senior vice-president of Orix USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orix Corporation, Japan. At Orix he was a co-founder and manager of Orix Trade Capital, an international trade finance business. Before that, he was president of London Forfaiting Americas, a US subsidiary of London Forfaiting Company, a UK merchant bank that underwrites and distributes trade finance debt instruments. In this role, Klatsky expanded the Latin American asset origination capabilities of the group.

He previously spent 14 years with Continental Grain, one of the largest US private commodity companies.

Klatsky will be the principal portfolio manager and will focus on the origination and creation of trade-related transactions at RCM.

Fields has become a managing partner at RCM. His most recent previous position was at Standard Americas, where he ran the group’s trade finance business in the Americas and was instrumental in growing the operation into a leader in the region over the past 10 years.

Fields is a seasoned trade finance professional with 19 years’ experience in related markets. His expertise spans a wide spectrum of the trade finance business including letters of credit, invoice discounting, vendor financing, forfaiting, export credit agency programs, structured pre-export future flow loans and loan syndications.

Additionally, Fields was president of Standard New York Securities, the group’s US broker-dealer. Before joining Standard he was a member of the forfaiting subsidiaries of Banque Indosuez and Midland Bank.

Lefkovits has been a banker to investment funds, commodity trading firms and other financial institutions for 15 years. He is RCM’s chief financial and credit officer. He was most recently director, financial institutions at WestLB New York. He managed financial institutions teams at BHF-Bank as well as HypoVereinsbank, both in New York. Lefkovits created the credit scoring model for investment funds used by WestLB in its implementation of Basel II. He also created the first credit analysis framework used by HypoVereinsbank for evaluating hedge fund credit risk.

Belova-Barr worked at Standard Bank London for seven years and is director of distribution for RCM. She began in London, developing the trade finance portfolio for Central and Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on Russia and Kazakhstan. She also spent two years in New York originating transactions from US exporters. She has expertise in both originating and distributing forfaiting deals, syndications and structured trade finance. Since moving permanently to the US in 2003, she has also worked for IDB Bank of New York originating and monitoring assets for the emerging markets portfolio, and GSTS, a company offering structured trade finance solutions, to develop their business in Ukraine.

As director of transaction administration Meyer has primary responsibility for insuring the validity and marketability of documentation supporting all aspects of Rosemount transactions. In conjunction with this she is responsible for the negotiation and implementation of transaction closings and ensures adherence to all contractual terms and conditions.

Meyer joins with 25 years of experience in the trade finance industry that began with a 17-year run at Midland Bank. Starting on the Africa desk she moved on to become regional manager for Middle East, and after a short time as a US liaison, spent eight years on the Brazil desk managing and coordinating bank limits as well as developing documentation in conjunction with legal counsel for divergent types of trade transactions.

In 1994 Meyer was part of the team that joined National Westminster Bank to start up its New York forfaiting operations. She was responsible for portfolio management functions with a focus on development and implementation of a robust modus operandi covering the global distribution unit.

She spent a year with Standard Chartered followed by a move to Bladex Securities coordinating the functional processing of syndicated/structured trade transactions via the instituting of comprehensive operational procedures. Most recently, Meyer was a vice-president at Orix Trade Capital.

With a banking and securities background spanning over 22 years, Leonard is a veteran finance professional who brings with him a wide range of experience in trade finance, capital markets and corporate lending. He has lived and worked in the US, Asia and Latin America.

As head of marketing for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi New York’s financial institutions group (1997-2004), Leonard led a team proving trade finance and clearing services to over 500 commercial banks around the world. He later spent 10 years with structured trade finance specialist GSTS Group, leading the firm’s business development initiatives in Eastern Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union.

Previously, Leonard also worked for Goldman Sachs, Citicorp Investment Bank and Nippon Credit Bank.

Speaking to GTR, Klatsky and Fields emphasise Rosemount’s maintenance of a systematic, transparent and repeatable team-based investment process that combines fundamental and quantitative analysis. “We want complete transparency,” says Klatsky. “To tell people what we are doing – total openness.”

A major goal is to build a risk-efficient portfolio.

Another aspect that sets RCM apart, believe the two, is that, compared to other trade finance funds, RCM will pursue more of an active management strategy – trading and building liquidity in transactions, rather than just a buy and hold strategy. “More of a hybrid approach,” adds Klatsky.

The two believe that this is a good time to launch a trade finance fund. “In terms of yields,” says Fields, “we have a significant pipeline of deals that have offer good yields. We are confident that we can bring in very decent returns. It isn ‘t easy though – you have to scout around for the best opportunities.”