Building syndications corporate finance WHAT'S NewS Issue 2 February 1996 13 product range and what we ave to do is make sure those roducts are flexible enough to be offered to a variety of clients. That's one of the reasons we have defined our products very clearly - we don't want to be distracted by attempting to build up too many things simultaneously. I think the growth in our range of treasury and structured finance products are great examples. But let Neil Robinson of structured finance teil you about that.' STRUCTURED FINANCE - BUILDING REPUTATION Neil Robinson is into focus, he's also very much into ^kelationship banking. 'Put it ^^his way,' he says, 'last year we visited 80 companies. That means around 1.5 cliënt visits per week. Even though we - by we I mean our whole corporate banking and structured finance team - would like to work with all 80 of those prospective clients, there are simply not enough of us to deliver the level of service they demand. While we will continue to call on all of these names, we are focussing our efforts on a more manageable list of about 20. But we're really targeting those clients, and not just for structured finance.' FACE TIME Robinson believes the increase in 1995-results is due to the Branch's focussed approach and also 'to the fact we're a relationship-driven bank,' Robinson says. 'In the past, our corporate bankers didn't have many leading-edge products to sell. Now, that has all changed. Our corporate finance and treasury people here in London are coming up with all kinds of new products. So when the corporate bankers go to see clients, they have a broad range on offer, including structured finance. And the clients are more than willing to sit and Neil Robinson talk. While the cliënt is not always prepared to buy into our ideas, it gives us more face time with them. We can use that time to show the bank has more to offer than cheap money.' SOLID FOUNDATIONS Clearly, the structured finance team does not spend all its time out of the office. It also has its own targets to make and, as already reported, it did that extremely well last year. In fact, the London team came up with a structure which resulted in the biggest deal ever done by an international branch. 'We arranged a very tax efficiënt, multi-jurisdictional GBP 255 million Euro-bond issue on behalf of the bank. A lot of people in the network were involved in this - in the Curaqao office, in financial markets, the tax, legal and accounting departments in Utrecht, and especially Willem van 't Hooft, who played a central role in enabling us to execute this transaction. I'd like to see more of that, more close involvement with the network. In the coming year, we'11 be putting in place a solid foundation to grow the business here. But it's also an ambition of mine to explore ideas of mutual benefit with the other group offices so we can approach potential cross-border business from two sides.' Robert Halcrow and his people have one goal in mind - moving Rabobank up the tombstone. For much of the world except ^he US, London is the obvious centre for syndications. According to Robert Halcrow, the reason is there are hundreds of banks in 'the square mile', another name for The City, which are willing, and even hungry, to lend. 'Many of them have a track record,' he says, 'while Rabobank is a relative newcomer. Our aim is to build the bank into a name in syndications. But it's a bit like the chicken and the egg. Before you can act with a corporate, they want to know you have a track record, but you can't get a track record until you've actually done deals. So it is a slow process.' GROWING CREDIBILITY But it is a process which London Branch is clearly pushing forward. Inward syndications have been handled successfully by Pamela Green for a number of years. 'She does a tremendous job,' Halcrow confirms, 'because you have to make sure you're invited into every deal you want to participate in and the market is very competitive. As I said, there are a lot of banks here hungry to lend.' Halcrow himself is focussing on outward syndication. 'In the two years I've been here,' he says, 'we've managed to develop this area into what I'd call the phase of being thought of as a natural underwriter of deals with a view to now focussing on actually arranging them as well. The way the bank has gone about positioning itself internationally has certainly lent a lot of credibility to what we're trying to do here. And I think the fact we, as a bank, can add a lot of ingenuity into our product range makes a big difference.' RELATIONSHIP BANKING The syndications team works closely with other sections within the branch. 'One cliënt, John Lewis, the top retailer, used to be a loan cliënt. Two years ago, I'd say we were just one lender to them. But by the beginning of last year, we had become their biggest lender. Robert Halcrow TRADE EN COMMODITY FINANCIERING W Vijfjaar geleden bestond het klantenbestand slechts uitvier bedrijven. Nu is kantoor London een van de grootste banken op dit 0®*? gebied. Bij de bestaande klanten wordt steeds meer aan cross-selling gedaan,zowel op het gebied van structured finance, securization en nieuwe treasuryprodukten. Maar ook als het gaat om produkten van de andere kantoren. Op het gebied van commodities richt Londen zich nu, naast de gebruikelijke bulkprodukten als koffie, cacao en rijst, samen met kantoor New York ook op een nieuwe markt: de handel in metalen. Hiervoor kan de bestaande kennis binnen het kantoor worden gebruikt.

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