UK Export Finance (UKEF) has appointed Carl Williamson as its head of trade finance.

Williamson joins the UK’s export credit agency from Lloyds Bank, where he has spent more than 30 years in various roles. Most recently he was a relationship director, managing and developing a portfolio of customers within the industrial sector. Prior to this, he was a director of cash management and trade finance for large corporates.

In this newly-created role, Williamson will head up UKEF’s trade finance arm and be responsible for leading a business unit incorporating a team of export finance managers. A spokesperson for UKEF tells GTR that the new role is a result of an internal reorganisation, and that Williamson will focus on SME businesses looking for short-term financing.

He reports to Gordon Welsh who leads UKEF’s business group and who has been with the agency for more than 20 years.

On his appointment Williamson says: “The right financial support can play a vital role in ensuring that a company is able to compete overseas and grow,” adding he is “delighted” to be joining the department and to be responsible for growing UKEF’s services and products.

Earlier this year UKEF launched the ‘small deals initiative’, which will see the agency guarantee the loans of overseas buyers of British goods. There is no formal minimum value for deals made under the scheme, but the support is most appropriate for contracts upwards of £500,000. This year also saw UKEF reveal its general export facility (GEF), which aims to support the UK’s smallest exporters by assisting with their overall working capital requirements, as opposed to its traditional method of financing specific contracts.

Nearly 80% of support issued by UKEF over the 2018-19 financial year was allocated to SMEs. However, SME business volumes comprised just 1.43% of UKEF’s overall support for that period. Comparatively, Export Finance Australia’s SME business volumes over the same period make up 90.15% of its total support, while Korea’s K-sure’s sat at 35%.