UK Export Finance (UKEF) has appointed trade finance specialist Ken Ackroyd as its first head of UK trade finance and insurance advisory services in its increased drive to support exporters who are seeking to grow by entering new global markets.
UKEF, the UK’s export credit agency, helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by sharing financial risks that the private sector is unable to shoulder alone.
Ken, who has amassed three decades of commercial banking expertise, joins UKEF from Barclays Bank where he held a number of senior trade positions including co-head of corporate trade finance for Asia.
In his new role, Ken will oversee UKEF’s 21-strong team of export finance advisers, who help companies across the UK to support their growth in new international markets and to boost the wider UK economy.
Paul Croucher, head of trade finance & insurance solutions (TFIS) group at UK Export Finance commented: “Ken’s appointment comes at a formative time for UK Export Finance, whose three year strategic plan is committed to accelerating support for exporters seeking to take their businesses further.
“Ken’s expertise in working with medium-sized businesses (MSBs) will be particularly invaluable as we are appointing an additional three new roles to advise mid-market companies. Ken will also be pivotal in collaborating with UK Trade & Investment on a new initiative to expand the level of support and funding for more MSB firms.”
Ken, who will be a member of UKEF’s senior management team, said: “I have been passionate about helping businesses to access trade finance to export for more than 30 years. I welcome this opportunity to contribute to UKEF’s strategic direction and to lead such an experienced team of export finance advisers.”
Yorkshire-born Ken, who lives near Grantham, Lincolnshire, has held a number of senior management positions with banks, including UK head of global trade finance at Fortis Bank, where he led the development of its UK trade finance offer and the creation of Asia Link, a dedicated South Asian trade finance business development team. He has also undertaken a number of pro bono positions with organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce, trade associations and the former East Midlands Development Agency, where he has advised on international trade.
Providing guarantees and insurance policies that complement those on offer in the private sector, as well as guidance on sources of export finance, UKEF’s products and services include working capital schemes, bond support and letters of credit guarantees.
UKEF’s export finance advisers based around the UK are available to offer guidance on the support available to UK businesses with export growth plans. For further information on UK Export Finance and its support schemes, please visit the website at www.gov.uk/uk-export-finance, or contact our national customer helpline 020 7271 8010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK Export Finance is the UK’s export credit agency and a government department. It complements the private market by providing assistance to UK businesses, principally in the form of insurance to exporters and guarantees to banks. In doing so, it works with exporters, banks and project sponsors to support UK exports to, and investments in, markets across the world.
In 2013/14, the agency provided UK business with £2.3 billion of support. Since 2011 when UKEF re-introduced short-term products (under 2 years maturity) its trade finance and insurance solutions team has helped over 170 companies – many of them smaller and medium-sized businesses – to fulfil export contracts worth almost £1bn. In many cases, delivered via risk sharing with the banks, this support has enabled firms to reduce their level of risk without restricting their cash flow, increase their working capital facilities and, in some instances, significantly increase their turnover.
The Prime Minister launched the government’s ‘Exporting for Growth’ challenge last year and the government has now set an ambitious goal to increase exports to £1 trillion per annum by 2020.