Infospectrum Credit Risk Forum 2017

Acquisition Consultancy

On 11th September 2017, Infospectrum held its annual Counterparty Credit Risk Forum in London, providing an excellent opportunity for our clients to network with over 100 risk managers, ship owners, lawyers and financiers and, of course, the Infospectrum team. Our forums, which are open to all Infospectrum clients at no cost, are also designed to add to our client’s industry knowledge, with a hand-picked selection of speakers.

The morning session was based around the fundamentals of our sector, from the perspectives of market forecasts, the application of risk management, and the avenues available should such management fail. Stephen Gordon, the Managing Director of Clarksons Research, set the scene by bringing the audience up-to-date with a detailed outlook of the shipping markets. This was followed by a presentation on the key challenges faced by risk managers in today’s environment by Maria Taylor, former Head of Credit at EDF Trading Ltd, and now an established consultant in the risk management sector. Maria’s talk sparked a number of questions relating to the downsides of performance-related bonus structures. Finally, Eleanor Midwinter, a Senior Lawyer from Wikborg Rein LLP, spoke about the benefits of knowing your counterparty, and how such knowledge can help ascertain whether legal action is worthwhile.

Our late morning session started with a panel of four experts from the shipping and banking sectors talking about the availability of alternative capital in shipping. Moderated by Frank Pedder from Auld Partners Ltd, and supported by Robin Perkin from Breakwater Capital Ltd, Mikal Boe from DCC Bulk Transport Pte Ltd and Stacy Zhang from ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd, the panel members gave their own perspective drawn from their diverse backgrounds on alternative capital, and faced questions from the audience on asset security, sale and leaseback arrangements and the establishment of Ultimate Beneficial Ownership.

Finally, Infospectrum’s team added its own flavour, with Senior Analyst Ian Staples providing an illustration of the flaws in seeking patterns in data, and Magnus Evjebraten, Infospectrum’s Chief Technology Officer, providing an introduction to the new Infospectrum Counterparty Management System (ICMS).

Feedback on the 2017 event has been excellent. We regard these forums as an integral part of our service to our clients, and very much encourage our clients to join us at our next event.

20/07/2017 – Two heads are better than one

Infospectrum is delighted to announce that shipping trade and finance specialist, Anthony Elliott, will join his brother Frank in our London office. Having completed his MSc in Shipping, Trading & Finance at Cass Business School with distinction, Anthony previously worked as a consultant at DNV GL’s Maritime Advisory in Dubai, focusing on maritime finance and governmental shipping projects.

Anthony also holds a BSc in Information Management for Business with First Class Honours from University College London, and in addition to his time at DNV GL, Anthony brings further industry experience having undertaken several internships, including as an equity analyst in shipping hedge funds and various roles with a Greek shipping company.

Commenting on Anthony’s appointment, Infospectrum’s Managing Director said “We are very happy that both Frank and now Anthony have chosen to further their careers here at Infospectrum and we welcome Anthony as a member of our Infospectrum team”.

23/01/2017 – Infospectrum continues to build on expertise in Asia

Infospectrum continues to add strength to its Asian operations with the arrival of Nikolaos Deonas (Nikos) in the Singapore office. With over 15 years of experience in physical bunkers and products procurement, trading and marketing, technical expertise in blending, shipping and storage, Nikos brings a deep understanding of market conditions, trade and operations.   From early 2008, Nikos managed Cargill’s global bunker procurement desk as well as handling operations for their physical delivery fuel oil forward contract initiative.  Moving on from Cargill in 2012, Nikos joined ICAP Energy in Geneva from where he traded bitumen, bunkers and distillates, and brokered biodiesel products.  Nikos then moved to Singapore to set up ICAP’s physical oil broking desk.  Choosing to take a sabbatical, Nikos continued to operate between Geneva and Singapore as an independent consultant working on feasibility studies, analysis and research in the energy and transportation industries. Nikos is an MIT graduate with an MSc in Transportation and completed his BA in Business Administration in Greece.  With a mix of Greek and Swiss heritage he also speaks English, French and Bahasa Indonesia.   Infospectrum’s Managing Director, Panos Panousis commented  “As a company that values breadth of experience as much as specialist knowledge in its pool of talented analysts we are extremely pleased that Nikos has chosen to further his already remarkable career here at Infospectrum.  We are very confident that Nikos will quickly gain the confidence of the bunker market and reinforce Infospectrum as the provider of choice in this sector”. Nikos added:  “Credit risk is now one of the most critical components in the business decisions of every participant in the shipping and commodities trading world.  I am very much looking forward to bringing together my background in oil trading & risk management with my analytical skills to help Infospectrum cement its place as the primary business intelligence provider in the industry.”

Physical challenges in Singapore

Singapore’s latest move to clean up its bunkering sector has already claimed its first major casualties, following the high profile closures of the bunkering operations of Panoil Petroleum Pte Ltd and Universal Energy Pte Ltd.

We will discuss the direct impact of these moves soon, but it is worth noting that there are wider forces at play here, not least Singapore’s mandate forcing the use of mass-flow-metres (MFM), and the increasing reluctance of lenders to finance the physical supply business.

There is evidence that Singapore’s Maritime Port Authority (MPA) is keen to reduce the number of accredited suppliers from circa 50 at present (already down from over 100 in 2012), to less than half this number (note that Fujairah, the 2nd largest bunkering anchorage with annual volumes of circa half of Singapore operates with less than 20 licenses). The implementation of the MFM rule alone has seen an unprecedented imposition of barging fees, and delivered prices that are now consistently higher than ex-wharf.

The MPA’s greater willingness to issue demerit points has also seen the revocation, or non-renewal, of bunker fuel supplier and/or bunker craft operator licences. This uncertainty appears to be already making itself felt in the trade finance community, with reports that major banks are becoming more reluctant to lend to physical suppliers, which may increase costs to unsustainable levels (particularly for smaller suppliers); in an attempt to bring more transparency we may have to first navigate through even darker waters.

Recieve further updates regarding this topic & more here

20/07/2017 – Infospectrum speak to Bunkerspot

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“When we were asked to provide our perspective on credit issues in the light of perceived ongoing contraction and changes in various vessel segments, and our view on consolidation and restructuring in the bunker sector, instinctively I paused to think of the meaningful application of the words ‘contraction’, ‘consolidation’ and ‘restructuring’ and to ask myself, putting literary definitions aside, what do these terms really mean in the segments of the shipping industry that we follow closely from a counterparty credit risk angle. More importantly, are they used correctly? We can quickly forget that consolidation is not contraction, and restructuring, along with new favourites like ‘market disruption’, are often inserted into discussions to replace solid demonstrable facts.”

To read the rest of the piece by Panos Panousis and Bunkerspot click here.

15/04/2017 – Infospectrum increases commitment to North American market

Infospectrum has further expanded its global presence with the hiring of experienced shipping analysts, Felix Yamasoto and Ms Juleng Koh, who will be based in Stamford and Vancouver, respectively. Felix has close to 17 years’ experience as Shipping Analyst and before joining the well-known bunker trader/supplier Peninsula Petroleum for three years in a physical supply credit management capacity. Juleng comes with five years’ experience as a research analyst with Oldendorff Carriers in Singapore where she handled the Handy and Supramax markets and regularly researched vessel demand and supply, working closely alongside the chartering department. The new North American presence will complement Infospectrum’s long-standing presence in Bogota, Colombia. Felix and Juleng can be contacted on On the expansion of Infospectrum’s Americas presence,  Managing Director, Panos Panousis comments “Infospectrum is not only respected for the quality and integrity of its reports, but also for the efficiency of our service which is of significant importance to our time-sensitive clients. The appointment of Felix and Juleng in Stamford and Vancouver adds even more depth to that capability, in addition to on-the-ground knowledge of two key North American shipping hubs.”

Proud sponsors of London International Shipping Week.

Legal Support for Maritime

Infospectrum has been a sponsor of London International Shipping Week since the event’s formation in 2015, and will be running our annual London Counterparty Risk Forum for our clients during this year’s event. We are a firm believer in the sharing of knowledge, and feel that London International Shipping Week and Infospectrum’s regular client forums offer excellent networking opportunities to the shipping sector. We are proud to offer our continuing support for the event.

Infospectrum – Asian Counterparty Credit Risk Forum

Legal Support for Maritime

On 12th July 2017 Infospectrum held its first Asian Counterparty Credit Risk forum at the Intercontinental hotel, Singapore.  Already well established as an eagerly anticipated annual event in London, credit industry participants had voiced a desire to see a similar gathering in Asia. With a total of six sessions, the forum was curated particularly with Asian shipping concerns in mind.  Ocean Shipping Consultants’ Jason Jiang began proceedings with the tough task of delivering a concise look at the topic-du-jour of China’s One Belt One Road initiative, and the implications for existing trade routes.  This was followed by a shipping market overview by David Jordan, General Manager of Research at Clarksons Platou Asia.  As it is well known that we all would like to have a crystal ball, both sessions were well received. Moving on to a look at the local bunker market, Infospectrum’s own Nikolaos Deonas took the stand.  Having previously held the position of Head of Bunker Trading at Cargill, Nikos delivered an insightful overview of the challenges and trends facing the sector.  Alongside Nikos, Tina Anand, who works from Infospectrum’s London office caught the audience’s attention with her look at how one could mitigate third party risk in the context of anti-bribery and corruption regulation.  As compliance becomes increasingly central to trade and counterparty decision making, clearly the need to protect your company from unintentional, but potentially damaging third party exposure is of great concern. Up next, the UNCITRAL Model Law on cross-border insolvency.  Lauren Tang, Partner at Stevenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance guided the audience through Singapore’s quest to become the hub for international commercial arbitration, and following on from the theme of insolvency the final session of the morning focused on company failures, with Hanjin as a case study.  Dean Hilton, one of the company’s founding partners, now based in Australia, delivered a sobering account of the demise of one of the biggest shipping companies in the world.  Dean tracked several key factors including the inherent weakness in the structure of the Chaebol system, poor performance and ever more desperate borrowing, with corrective measures taken only when too late.  The case study also served to highlight the importance of counterparty vigilance and the help that a third party, independent specialist service can provide in sounding early warning signals. Finally, Infospectrum’s Managing Director, Panos Panousis, took a few moments to introduce our new Infospectrum Credit Management System which will be rolled out 3Q 2017.  The system will be available complimentary to our annual open-access subscription customers and will provide a comprehensive, compliance-focused counterparty risk management process which will enhance the customer experience alongside Infospectrum’s present database access package. A glance at the audience who took advantage of the opportunity to network at the ensuing lunch with fellow industry participants only served to confirm the breadth and depth of Infospectrum’s presence in the field of counterparty due diligence, with customers representing all fields of shipping, commodities, legal and financial services.  Feedback was very positive and as Panos commented, Infospectrum is very happy to have taken the initiative in Singapore to give something back to the industry.  Infospectrum will host its forum in London in September, and without doubt will build on the success of its inaugural Singapore forum in 2018.

4/04/2017 – Expansion of Infospectrum’s Greek desk

With the Greek shipping industry continuing to drive demand for our in-depth due diligence reports, Infospectrum has added two more analysts to its established Greek desk. The new members of the team will work closely with our established team, which includes individuals that have covered the Greek shipping sector for over 30 years.

Francis (Frank) Elliott graduated with a BA in International Politics from King’s College and continued his education at CASS Business School where he attained an MSc in Shipping, Trade and Finance, with distinction.  During the course of his studies he took on various internships in the private equity & asset management space with a focus on shipping.  He will be based in Infospectrum’s London office.

Another CASS graduate, this time with an MSc in Insurance & Risk Management, Efthymios Yfantis  has joined Infospectrum’s Head Office in Oxford.  Having also qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Business Economics and Finance from the University of Surrey, Efthymios worked for over 3 years with Minoan Lines (part of the Grimaldi Group) where he was responsible for managing the company’s cash flow and credit lines, as well as involvement in Business Strategy projects. While in Oxford, Efthymios has completed an MBA at the Said Business School.

Infospectrum’s Managing Director Panos Panousis comments “I am extremely pleased that Infospectrum continues to attract graduates and young professionals of the calibre of Frank and Efthymios. We have covered the Greek market since our formation in 2000, and we have a reputation for an in-depth understanding of the sector and its participants; I expect Frank and Efthymios to help us build on this reputation”.

5/4/2016 – Infospectrum strengthens Greek desk

Vasilis will be particularly involved in enhancing Infospectrum’s already strong presence in the Greek shipping market. After working for almost two years as a shipping analyst with prominent accounting firm Moore Stephens LLP in London, he takes up his post armed with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, and a MSc with distinction in Shipping, Trade and Finance from Cass Business School.’ Quite the sportsman, Vasilis is a competitive skier, wakeboarder and snowboarder and surely will bring his competitive edge to the fore here at Infospectrum. Managing Director, Panos Panousis, said “We are always on the look-out for talented and creative individuals who can add value to Infospectrum’s risk reporting service and we welcome Vasilis to the Infospectrum family”. Vasilis said “Infospectrum has a colossal reputation in the shipping and commodities market as a provider of impartial and pertinent credit risk assessment and I very much look forward to contributing to the team and making my mark in this industry.”