UK Export Finance (UKEF) has appointed its first head of UK trade finance and insurance advisory services.

UKEF has appointed trade finance specialist Ken Ackroyd into the role. Ackroyd, who has amassed three decades of commercial banking expertise, joins UKEF from Barclays where he held a number of senior trade positions including co-head of corporate trade finance for Asia.

He previously worked as the UK head of global trade finance at Fortis Bank, where he led the development of its UK trade finance offer and the creation of Asia Link, a dedicated South Asian trade finance business development team. He has also undertaken a number of pro bono positions with organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce, trade associations and the former East Midlands Development Agency, where he has advised on international trade.

In his new role, Ackroyd will oversee UKEF’s 21-strong team of export finance advisers, who help companies across the UK to support their growth in new international markets and to boost the wider UK economy.

Paul Croucher, head of trade finance and insurance solutions (TFIS) group at UKEF, says: “Ken’s appointment comes at a formative time for UK Export Finance, whose three-year strategic plan is committed to accelerating support for exporters seeking to take their businesses further.

“Ken’s expertise in working with medium-sized businesses (MSBs) will be particularly invaluable as we are appointing an additional three new roles to advise mid-market companies. Ken will also be pivotal in collaborating with UK Trade and Investment on a new initiative to expand the level of support and funding for more MSB firms.”

Ackroyd, who will be a member of UKEF’s senior management team, says: “I have been passionate about helping businesses to access trade finance to export for more than 30 years. I welcome this opportunity to contribute to UKEF’s strategic direction and to lead such an experienced team of export finance advisers.”