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Duarte Pedreirato lead trade finance divisionfocused on becoming the leading trade bank for underserved emerging markets; Colin Westlake to develop the bank into the first-choice partner for emerging market commercial banks

Crown Agents Bank (CAB) has made two senior appointments as part of its strategy to become the leading trade and correspondent bank for emerging markets. The bank has appointed Duarte Pedreira as Head of Trade Finance to help invigorate a growing trade finance function that provides emerging market clients with transparent, trusted, and bespoke trade finance services. Meanwhile, Colin Westlake has been appointed as Sector Head of Commercial Banks, where he will spearhead the bank’s core purpose of linking emerging market commercial banks with major money centres.

The appointments form part of a holistic transformation strategy for CAB following the bank’s acquisition by funds managed by Helios Investment Partners – an African-focused private investment firm. In particular, the bank is focused on growing its capabilities in trade finance and correspondent banking, and consolidating its strong reputation in often-underserved markets.

Pedreira is an industry expert in trade finance, having held senior structured trade, commodity and working capital finance roles in the UK, South Africa and Angola. He joins CAB from AIG’s award-winning trade credit team, having previously held roles at Banif Bank, Caspian Sea Capital, and Standard Bank in Africa.

“This is an exciting time for Crown Agents Bank, and it’s a unique opportunity for me to help broaden a trade finance department that demonstrates in-depth product knowledge, operates with integrity and provides the highest-quality services to our clients,” says Pedreira. “We have the ambition to be the leading trade finance provider across the world’s emerging markets – and especially to underserved markets. I’ve had a strong focus on these markets throughout my career, I understand the challenges they present as well as the opportunities they offer.”

Trade finance is vital for financial inclusion,” says Richard Jones, CAB’s Group CEO. “Yet mainstream banks are withdrawing from many emerging markets – creating a major opportunity for CAB. We want CAB to be the leading trade finance partner for entities in emerging markets and I believe Duarte is the ideal person to drive this ambitious project. He has the combination of experience, expertise and drive required to succeed, and I’m delighted to welcome him on board.”

Westlake has been appointed to lead CAB’s team focussed on commercial banks: expanding the bank’s capabilities to partner with local commercial banks across emerging markets, providing them with access to global money centres. From its London base, the team offers access to institutional payments and cash management, trade finance and treasury services, and can make investments on behalf of clients. An experienced business planning and strategy executive, with both a corporate and institutional client coverage background, Westlake was previously at Standard Chartered Bank for over 38 years – most recently as Head of Network Banks Europe.

“The fact that many major players are de-risking from emerging markets provides a major opportunity for CAB,” says Westlake. “It is an opportunity I intend to explore – helping make CAB the number-one choice for commercial banks in regions that are increasingly underserved by mainstream banks.”

“Positioning Crown Agents Bank as a partner to commercial banks in the markets in which we specialise is one of our core aims,” says Richard Jones. “We are a natural partner for commercial banks in emerging markets – we don’t compete, we just facilitate, and we help our client banks find access to major money markets; something they might otherwise not have been able to achieve. Colin Westlake has extensive experience – having spent much of his career at Standard Chartered Bank – and I am sure our commercial banking efforts will flourish under his charge.”