Online Databank

Introduction to service area:

We understand the time-sensitive pressures our clients face when responding to emerging trade opportunities. Whether your business market is maritime, freight or commodity trading, timely access to accurate information enables businesses to maximise on developments swiftly, with confidence.

To help our clients make informed business decisions, we maintain a comprehensive online databank containing detailed up-to-date information, and resources on thousands of companies. This process is strengthened by our active analyst team, which is directly accessible to all of our clients at any time, to help with queries and reporting.

Case background

Our client was alerted to an opportunity to trade with a newly-formed Chinese ship owner at 00:30 GMT. While the vessel concerned was modern, and had no Port State Control record, information on the corporate ownership of the vessel was limited.

Our client had no knowledge as to the corporate structure, background, or reputation (past and present) of the Chinese principals. Given that subjects were due to be lifted in a matter of hours, our client needed rapid, cost-effective insights into the risk of chartering the ship concerned.

How did InfoSpectrum proceed?

Our client was able to log in to Infospectrum’s database of over 19,000 companies and download a concise due diligence report on the target company, which had been compiled two months prior to the enquiry. Using our advanced search functionality, our client was also able to download reports on two companies registered in Hong Kong and the BVI, which were believed to share common ownership.

These reports had been compiled even more recently. After saving the reports for future reference by their colleagues, they called our Australia office. Our team there was able to confirm whether any further information had been lodged with us in the intervening period and to answer further questions to help them better understand the counterparty.

What were the impacts?

The reports downloaded from our online database enabled the client to accurately assess the trading opportunity. The information learned from the reports helped them to understand the size, reach, and trading potential of the company in question.

While the client chose not to pursue the trading opportunity in this instance, the availability of the database meant they were able to reach this decision quickly. The ongoing availability of the database and the downloaded reports means that the client can review this decision at a later date, should future opportunities to trade with the Chinese ship owner appear.

Legal Support Investigations

Introduction to service area:

Legal disputes and major commercial investigations are intense affairs requiring detailed analysis, planning, and foresight. Cases reinforced with comprehensive evidence, accurate data, and forensic analysis are stronger and more likely to lead to the desired solution. Commercial investigations are similarly dependent upon the availability and accuracy of company knowledge. Whether deciding on the merits of pursuing or defending a legal case or preparing for dispute resolution, our clients come to us for in-depth, independent analysis. Our experience of forensic investigations and evidence preparation has been put to work for a wide variety of organisations including law firms, P&I clubs, shipowners and charterers, energy companies, and commodity traders.

Case background

Our client needed to establish the structure of what appeared to be a major Chinese group investing in a range of asset classes, as a company seemingly forming part of the group had defaulted on a charter party. Given the difficulty of enforcing their potential claim within China, our client needed to discreetly ascertain whether the group had operations outside China and how closely these could be tied to the defaulting party. Given the high likelihood of any links being severed as a result of the ongoing litigation, the request was time sensitive.

How did InfoSpectrum proceed?

Within two weeks, we were able to use our local registry and business contacts, language skills, and knowledge of such structures to put together an organigram which covered almost 150 onshore and off-shore registered companies, including where possible the latest valuation of assets owned by these companies.

What were the impacts?

Our research clearly outlined the corporate structure of the group, demonstrating to our client the limited level of control exercised by the target company over these entities. As a result, our client was able to save time and money by discarding a significant number of the more “obvious” group members and focus on those where clear links to the defaulting party remained. Our research also prevented the potential for the wrongful arrest of assets.

Bespoke Research for Business Intelligence

Introduction to service area:

Many of Infospectrum’s clients have highly specific requirements, which require us to use our sector knowledge and high-level market contacts to produce a more tailored product. Such bespoke work is fully discussed with our client, and quoted, before we proceed.

Case background

Our client was approached by its trader to onboard a potential counterparty and allocate a credit line. This kind of onboarding can be high risk, and should be subject to extensive assessment. The trader had provided background details and other evidence, but our client wished to support this with information from a trusted intermediary, without undermining the relationship.

How did InfoSpectrum proceed?

The client asked us to provide a report within 48 hours, making the process highly time sensitive. Having covered the subject for over 10 years, and based on a strong relationship with the counterparty’s management team, our analysts were able to access information not in the public domain, and combine this with documentary evidence and feedback from well-placed market sources to provide an assessment and rating. As a third-party, our assessment proved invaluable, providing the client with genuine, unbiased information concerning background and performance levels.

What were the impacts?

Our historical data showed that the subject had performed over multiple industry cycles, and we were able to rapidly secure up-to-the-minute performance data from our global sources. When combined with our rating, our insight gave the client the confidence to move ahead rapidly, gaining a useful client without harming the relationship at an early stage.

Consultancy

Introduction to service area:

Investment propositions require thorough research and expert advice in order to ensure their viability. Without this information, investment opportunities carry higher than normal risk. Across the freight, maritime, and commodity industries, where investments are typically large, this risk is exaggerated, ensuring the need for professional consultancy and benchmark analysis prior to investment assurance. We are internationally renowned for our Consultancy service, delivering the in-depth insights crucial for risk management and industry insights.

Case background

Our client, a financial institution, was a potential major investor in a network of physical bunker facilities. The client was not familiar with either the potential counterparty or the region, but had existing experience in the bunkering field. Infospectrum has particular strengths and expertise in the bunkering sector and in many regions worldwide. We had been initially recommended to our client by another company active in the bunker sector elsewhere, who admired our local expertise and extensive bunkering contacts in the subject region.

How did InfoSpectrum proceed?

We tailored a consultancy package to fit the client’s precise needs, first providing a regional analysis of the sector before investigating key companies comparable with the subject group. We undertook a site visit and had face-to-face meetings with senior management at the subject group, before meeting with key potential customers of the proposed bunker network.

What were the impacts?

The findings of our report assisted the client with their investment (which went ahead with some alterations) and enabled them to make an informed, considered decision.

Counterparty and credit risk assessment

Introduction to service area:

Commodity and freight typically require the coordination of several parties in order to operate successfully. When established means of security are not available or desired, these transactions often involve a significant level of trust, and often open credit terms. As such, the management of counterparty and credit risk is crucial to protect the parties to the transaction, and reduce transactional, counterparty and reputational risk. Infospectrum addresses these challenges by providing expert analysis and business intelligence through our counterparty and credit risk assessment reports, which provide the comprehensive, up-to-date information that companies need to properly assess potential partners.

Case background

Our client was approached by its trader to onboard a potential counterparty and allocate a credit line. This kind of onboarding can be high risk, and should be subject to extensive assessment. The trader had provided background details and other evidence, but our client wished to support this with information from a trusted intermediary, without undermining the relationship.

How did InfoSpectrum proceed?

The client asked us to provide a report within 48 hours, making the process highly time sensitive. Having covered the subject for over 10 years, and based on a strong relationship with the counterparty’s management team, our analysts were able to access information not in the public domain, and combine this with documentary evidence and feedback from well-placed market sources to provide an assessment and rating. As a third-party, our assessment proved invaluable, providing the client with genuine, unbiased information concerning background and performance levels.

What were the impacts?

Our historical data showed that the subject had performed over multiple industry cycles, and we were able to rapidly secure up-to-the-minute performance data from our global sources. When combined with our rating, our insight gave the client the confidence to move ahead rapidly, gaining a useful client without harming the relationship at an early stage.

Pre-Fixture Reports

Introduction to service area:

nfospectrum has supported the dry bulk and wet freight markets since we started trading in 1999. Our pre-fixture service aims to help our clients make the rapid, but high value, decisions required in chartering, where time and information are often extremely limited.

Our global positioning enables us to address the industry’s key issue of timing through our ability to start rapidly (we have six offices worldwide, ensuring our clients a constant line of communication), our immediate access to company information, and our experience in understanding the complex structures used in the freight markets. We continue to work on very urgent projects for highly demanding clients in the commodity trading, ship owning and operating sectors.

Case background

Our client had been provided only with an abbreviated name of a ship operating counterparty by brokers and had six hours to agree terms. The client approached us based on our reputation for expert analysis and business intelligence.

How did InfoSpectrum proceed?

Our team knew the usual full name of the subject, and the fact that the abbreviation covered as many as six similarly named, offshore-registered entities, all represented by a single managing agent. Our global offices carried out discreet research using discussions with market sources, corporate registries, and our proprietary database of over 80,000 freight and commodity trading companies to establish the exact company to be used in the trade. We then provided immediate feedback, reporting its structure, ultimate beneficial ownership, asset base, performance during and after fixtures, and historical claims brought against its predecessors.

What were the impacts?

Based on the information contained in our pre-fixture reports, the client was able to adjust the structure of its transaction in hours, ensuring that it dealt with the most transparent of the potential counterparties, with appropriate security, thus minimising the risk of default, and maximising the chances of recovery should a default occur.

KYC/Due Diligence

Introduction to service area:

Over the last 30 years, the global commodity trading and freight markets have faced an increased requirement for transparency. The traditional layers of trust and long-standing relationships have been broken down by a flood of new industry entrants, including completely opaque physical or derivative market speculators, and longer term investors from outside the industry who wish to enforce more established KYC and compliance procedures.

This process has accelerated more recently, as external compliance requirements have been enforced, in particular anti-bribery and sanctions avoidance. Infospectrum’s long experience in the commodity trading and freight sectors, and its knowledge of the unusual and often highly complex corporate structures used in these sectors, helps our clients meet their KYC and due diligence obligations, even for some of the most low-profile, off-shore registered companies.

Case background

Our client had the opportunity to trade with a Geneva-based commodities trader, but was concerned about the subject’s potential exposure to sanctioned entities in Russia. Our client had significant business dealings in the United States, and could not afford the significant financial and reputational damage that would have occurred if it had been found to be dealing with a sanctioned entity. It already had access to online data sources, but wanted to ensure it had up-to-date and more informed feedback.

How did InfoSpectrum proceed?

We are well aware that certain Russia-linked companies have been viewed as being sanctioned, without due cause. Equally, we are aware that others have made efforts to distance themselves from sanctioned individuals and companies (but not to the extent that dealing with them could be described as free from sanctions-related risk). Using our contacts in the region and in the specific trades, we were able to provide clear advice as to the ultimate beneficial ownership of the company concerned, and that the beneficial owners were not sanctioned at this time.

What were the impacts?

The client was able to make an informed decision and were able to trade confidently with the target company, with greater awareness of the near-term risk of sanctions being imposed.