Opening doors Knowledge exchange FAR may not be the primary reason people bank with Rabobank, Bott says, but it is a great differentiator in a very competitive market. "It means that we can bring something extra to the table, and gives us a vital edge in talks with clients and potential clients. Add that to Rabobank's reputation, its products, and the expertise we have at every level of the bank and you have a winning combination." FAR and the business have worked closely together for many years in Australia and New Zealand, and they are now looking to replicate this level of cooperation in other regions, like North America and Latin America. The challenge for FAR as a whole, Fiunt says, is to demonstrate that it can be part of the Rabobank proposition as the bank develops the rural banking business in other regions. On the corporate banking front, FAR has to prove it can deliver through its interaction with relationship managers. "Our clients are getting bigger and we're increasingly dealing with international and multinational companies. We have to show that we can deliver research, analysis and advisory services that they cannot get elsewhere. Kaushik Modak, head of Corporate Banking in India, say he uses FAR strategically, to open doors to major clients. He says the increased focus on F&A is now coming through in transactions. "We recently completed a USD 30 million syndicated loan transaction for India's biggest coffee retailer. We had a solid relationship with the cliënt, so where FAR really came into play was getting other banks on board for the deal. For instance, Germany's DEG Bank participated because of our familiarity with the cliënt business and knowledge of the Indian coffee market." John Baker, Head of Food Agribusiness Research and Advisory Asia, says FAR is one of Rabobank's truly global divisions, with around 80 specialists all over the world focusing purely on agricultural markets. "You don't see that in any other bank. Given that agriculture is emerging as a mainstream investment class, the time and effort put into building this network is really paying off. It gives Rabobank a real edge," he says. In Asia, FAR focuses on supporting the bank on the credit administration front, and providing research across the F&A sectors, at a regional and global level. Not to mention the unique role FAR advisory plays advising external clients and potential clients, Baker says. "But what really attracts clients to Rabobank is the total package." FAR advisory is certainly a big plus for clients looking to enter the Indian F&A market, Modak says. "They want to know how the market works and who the main players are. The next step is often an M&A mandate. Clients come to us because we know all the Indian F&A sectors much better than other commercial banks. And given that India is huge in most agricultural commodities, the potential for growth is enormous. Also, Indian companies are currently investing The Rabobank dealing room in London heavily in increased production and quality, which I believe will help India move from being a producer for largely domestic consumption to a major player on the global commodities markets. We're in the perfect position to take advantage of that," Modak says. Given this increased focus on F&A, Carel van der Hamsvoort believes FAR needs to become more involved at the cliënt interface. "FAR will become more important to the bank. Whether this is an M&A mandate or a TCF lending application, we will be asked to participate more in these processes." This has been the case in India for some time, Modak says. "If l'm visiting major clients, I usually take someone from FAR with me. FAR is much more of a business partner these days, and I fïrmly believe this partnership will pay off more and more in the future. We've actually moved our FAR team closer to the commercial team, which makes us feel more of an integrated unit." Van der Hamsvoort also stresses FAR's role as an educator, briefing relationship managers and key management on how various F&A markets work and how to penetrate those markets more effectively. Baker: 'There aren't that many specialised F&A bankers out there, so we need to extend FAR as much as we can, to transfer the knowledge we have into the group, so that we also leverage that knowledge through our front line people,". Modak agrees, adding that when Rabobank announced its revised strategy, he asked FAR to organise workshops on the various F&A sectors in India for his commercial people. "We need to know the markets and the players. Basically, who our potential clients are and what they might need. FAR's research and advisory services for us and our clients makes it an indispensible part of the total Rabobank package." ISSUE 22 JANUARY THE WORD 33

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

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