Announcing the conference speakers in Budapest

The ITFA Board can’t wait to host you all in Budapest. The countdown has surely begun. The ITFA Annual Conference which is being held between the 4-6 September in Budapest Hungary, is sure to be a successful event both in terms of numbers and also with respect to speakers and content. Do not miss out!

We are pleased to announce that Lorna Pillow, ITFA Deputy Chairperson and Head of Communications and Membership, will be moderating the panel session titled: ”Not a bank, not a fintech – the rise and rise of Alternative Finance’’.

Through their global reach, banks dominate trade finance volumes. Fintechs are expanding their horizons to meet the demands for standardization and automation. Alternative financiers are showing an interest in building portfolios based upon the trade finance asset class. In Budapest we gather a panel of participants from various backgrounds who operate in the space between the banks and fintechs, in order to share their views and discuss their respective business models.

This panel consists of Adrian Katz – Finacity, Cem Erseven – COFCO International, Christian Karam – Africa Trade Finance, Ian Henderson – Gulf International Bank (UK) Ltd and Marc Clapasson – Ruvercap Group.

Lorna Pillow is responsible for strategy, insurance and operations at London Forfaiting Co. Ltd. (“LFC”).  Lorna’s expertise within LFC is on structuring transactions ensuring added value to clients, investor relations, minimisation of risk as well as working with the individual regional offices on business development. Her focus is to ensure that LFC continues to play a meaningful role within Global Trade Finance and Forfaiting.

Her career commenced with the setting up of Trusts for an international company and subsequently she was involved in trading international Repos and Securities Lending on behalf of RZB Vienna through an agency company. Her progression ultimately led to Lorna being appointed the General Manager. Lorna is an honours graduate in Banking and Finance. She currently sits on the board of ITFA, as Deputy Chairperson responsible for Communications and Membership.

Adrian Katz is the President of Finacity Corporation, a leadership role he has had since the inception of the business 18 years ago.  Mr. Katz has been involved in the asset-backed securitization industry for more than 34 years, working in both the investment banking and specialty financing industry.

As an investment banker, Mr. Katz was a Managing Director at Smith Barney responsible for all issuance of new asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities. Prior to Smith Barney, Mr. Katz worked for Prudential Securities where he was a Managing Director and Co-Head of the Mortgage and Asset Capital Division. Mr. Katz was the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Vice Chairman of AutoBond Acceptance Corporation, where his duties included building a centralized servicing and underwriting platform, developing supporting technology infrastructure and organizing a national marketing effort. Mr. Katz has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Trade & Forfaiting in the Americas (ATFA). Mr. Katz graduated from Princeton University with a BSE in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Cem Erseven is the Head of Commodity & Financial Services for EMEA region at COFCO International, based in Geneva, being the overseas agriculture business platform for COFCO corporation, China’s largest food and agriculture company. Commodity & Financial Services department structures, originates, and distributes structured trade finance products, while managing the FX for the company and offering financing solutions to its clients.

Before joining COFCO, Cem worked for Bunge SA in Geneva for over 10 years, lately as the Director for Middle East & Turkey for the Financial Services Group. Cem was a banker before his career in commodities. Until the end of 2008, Cem was a Senior Trader in Forfaiting & Loan Trading department of Garanti Bank International NV (now part of BBVA group), originating primary and secondary trade finance assets and loans, managing a trading book, and trading the assets in the secondary market. Cem began his career at Garanti Bank in Istanbul and worked in Payment Systems, Financial Institutions and Trade Finance divisions.

Christian Karam is the Founder and Director of Africa Trade Finance Ltd “ATF”. Prior to incorporating ATF, Christian spent 10 years at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe London, where he set up and headed the Africa Desk. Based in London ATF is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, it focuses on the origination of African trade transactions, with a target to accompany new and non traditional financiers, such as funds and alternative lenders in financing trade into Africa. Alongside this, ATF co manage with ACOFI, a trade finance fund incorporated in Luxembourg which participates in some of the transactions structured.

Many of the transactions Christian has worked in have been awarded top deal prizes. As a key speaker at several trade conferences in Africa and elsewhere Christian has a wealth of knowledge in international trade finance and loan syndication. Christian is fluent in both French and Arabic and has gained his Bachelor and Masters Degree in Finance from SKEMA Business School in France.

Ian’s banking career spans 30 years gained through on-the-ground experience in the Americas, Africa, CEE and Asia. Ian joined GIB (UK) in 2016 as a Senior Portfolio Manager in the Trade Finance Asset Management team. He currently manages a global diversified conventional trade finance fund and segregated mandates. Prior to that, as a senior banker and corporate financier, Ian has been involved in all aspects of trade finance for over 21 years covering origination, structured trade & finance, syndication, portfolio management, asset valuation and asset recovery/ restructuring. He has experience in all commodity groups ranging from oil & gas, metals & mining, to agriculture, and previous roles have given him practical exposure to supply chain finance, physical commodity trading and political & credit risk insurance products.

Ian has held positions at Standard Bank of SA Ltd, Standard Bank London, Banque Belgolaise, WestLB AG, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Texel Capital, MRI Trading AG and Gunvor Group. Ian holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Economics from University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and holds the Islamic Finance Qualification.

Marc Clapasson is the CEO and Founder of Ruvercap Group, a specialized Private Debt Advisor. Prior to founding the Investment Advisor, Mr. Clapasson was the Head of Product & Business Development at SYZ Asset Management, a multi-asset manager. Between 2005 and 2008 he was a Managing Director at Prime Capital where he was head of Business Development and Strategy group in Frankfurt. From 1994 until 2004, Mr. Clapasson started his career with UBS Group and held various international positions. The last assignment was as a Product Specialist for absolute return portfolios at GAM, a leading manager in alternative investments.

Mr. Clapasson holds a Master of Business Administration from IE Business School and was awarded a degree in Financial Asset Management and Engineering from HEC/Swiss Finance Institute.

We look forward to welcoming Lorna, Adrian, Cem, Christian, Ian and Marc in Budapest!

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