Long lead times, hectic peaks
It’s rewarding to see a transaction come to fruition after we’ve been working on it for so long
As I write this blog, I’ve just got back from Paris where I had the privilege of participating in a fascinating training course on export finance, which was organised by the global platform for trade and export finance. I see courses like that as a terrific gift from ING; I love the fact that I’m allowed to attend. I learnt a lot because it was directly relevant to my field of work, and the fact that it was in Paris was a bonus. I took my sports gear with me so that I could explore Paris a little in the evenings by going for a run.
And now I’m back at work, bursting with new knowledge from the training course and raring to go. In my department, Structured Export Finance, we work on transactions involving the export of capital goods (for large-scale projects) to developing countries and emerging economies. As an analyst, I’m a member of several deal teams so I see various different transactions in different phases. Right now, for example, I’m involved in a transaction for a Dutch company that works on infrastructure projects abroad. In this case, it’s a transaction for a large-scale infrastructure project in Africa. It’s a customer I know from my first rotation, when I helped to write the credit proposal. The transaction was approved back then and reached an advanced stage since then; we’re now making the final preparations for the money to be released. The ‘conditions precedent’ (outstanding conditions or CPs) have to be formulated, and that can sometimes be a long, slow process. We regularly discuss the CPs by phone with a local partner in Africa who liaises with the various ministries on behalf of us and the exporting customer. As is often the case in our transactions, this one involves a grant which covers part of the project financing. That’s a precondition of The World Bank and/or the IMF. Without a grant or, to put it more formally, without ‘loans on concessional terms’, financially weaker countries like these would end up in too much debt.
It’s rewarding to see this deal now coming to fruition. It also shows just how long the lead time can be for the kinds of transactions we work on. If you want to close a deal from start to finish within a couple of weeks, this isn’t the right department for you. I like digging deep and getting my teeth into things. And I also enjoy the peak times when things get hectic and we have to step up a gear, such as when we have to get the analysis done and gain internal approval all within the space of a week so that we can send the customer an indicative term sheet for example. Our customer – the exporting company – takes our term sheet to their customer, who is often based in a developing market. It can help to strengthen our customer’s negotiating position if they already have an indicative finance proposal. That dynamism – coupled with the fact that we’re always working on several transactions at once, all in different phases – is what makes my work so interesting!
Chloé studied International Economics at the University of Amsterdam and then worked at KPMG. She likes cycling, rollerblading, skating and running – anything as long as it’s outdoors – and is an enthusiastic visitor to the College Club, an organisation that provides courses for young professionals on a wide range of subjects. Her favourite hobbies are eating out with friends and cooking at home, as well as travelling. Now that she's working in Hong Kong, she plans to take weekend trips to the Great Wall of China, Japan and Taiwan. And apparently hiking is also fantastic around Hong Kong.