The Greek-British shipping business relationship goes beyond any imagination and same can be witnessed everywhere on the globe, Posidonia being no exception. Be it marine equipment for the Shipbuilding, Shiprepair and Conversion industries, Marine insurance in its entirety, Administrative relationships and Associations’ common participation, Security and of course Banking and Shipfinance are leading in the menu of business contacted between the citizens of both nations, on a private and state – public level very successfully for over 250 years, needless to mention the relationship with the Eastern Roman Empire, that is to say Byzantium the citizens of these Isles had with the Hellenes – as this is is their appropriate name… The British Embassy in Athens and its diplomats, assisted by the Commercial Attaches and other officers, enhance day by day this special relationship to all intents and purposes. John Faraclas was there with his camera:
In the sphere of Banking and Shipfinance the Royal Bank of Scotland holds one of the most important positions in the Greek Shipping International cluster for many decades and its success since 1969 is epitomised with the biennial reception which is for years now being held at the Yacht Club of Greece.
Over the last five Posidonia – spanning ten years due to the fact that this is a biennial event, if my memory doesn’t fail me, this reception takes place immediately before the of Posidonia’s Exhibition Grand Opening. Shipfinance is one of the healthiest and most robust division/sector of this publicly owned these days British bank, public due to the world’s economic crisis, but this division is doing well!
This RBS reception will be the last for its Shipping Division head, Lambros Varnavides who has been with the bank ever since the days of Williams and Glyn’s back in 1974. Lambros Varnavides one of the best shipping bankers of his generation paves the way for new and fresh blood to take over. His legacy will remain there also as one of the best in RBS’ 254 year history. One of the biggest ever shipping portfolios was managed during his leadership, and very successfully!
I had a good relationship with Lambros Varnavides, always open for discussion, always a good listener, but above all, Lambros Varnavides was a real gentleman accepting every reality that was coming/introduced in the shipping field. I remembered once in the late nineties when he took me out for lunch at the Caravagio in the City and I had one of the best encounters in my life. 16 more or less years have passed by and his views on the shipfinance field were correct, in many ways very close to mine!
For sure there will be exceptionally more to do in Greece except shipping which holds the bank’s core operations, and given the successful model established all these years, it looks possible to see the continuation and enhancement of the bank’s presence in many fields in the Greek business world. Of course the problems of RBS had nothing whatsoever to do with its Shipping Division, which as said above was the bank’s best by far from all others; it made the bank known in every corner of the world, in any port and terminal if you like it.
Except many of Greece’s shipowners, shipmanagers, financier brokers were there too, shipbrokers, marine insurance specialists both hull and machinery as well as P&I, risk assessment companies’ officers, shipmanagement executives, chartered accountants, master mariners, naval architects and marine engineers, class societies executives, maritime lawyers diplomats, journalists and many many others complimenting the event, and paying fair-well to Lambros Varnavides. Modestly I can say, there were over and above 500 guests! A great gathering, an event deserving applause!