Wealth & Finance International - Fund Awards 2015

Wealth & Finance Fund Awards 2015 36 Best Trade Finance Fund - Barak Structured Trade Finance Fund & Best African Alternative Financier Barak Fund Management is the number 1 Africa-based commodity trade finance fund, providing short-term trade finance, asset backed loans with various forms of collateral. The firm uses a time-tested approach to originate, acquire and manage structured commodity-backed transactions across more than 30 African countries. We got in touch with Declan O’Brien, CEO of Barak Fund Management, to find out more. Company: Barak Fund Management Name: Declan O’Brien Email: contactbarakfund.com Web Address: barakfund.com Address: Marbella Road, Pellegrin, Trianon, Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius Telephone: +230 698 0397 Barak Structured Trade Finance Fund seeks to generate equity-like returns in a capital-constrained market with relatively low volatility and limited correlation to the broader markets. This strategy focuses on fully-funded or blended debt in the African commodity markets, using asset-backed loans with various forms of collateral. The business brought in a seasoned external CEO, Declan O’Brien who has a history of building great businesses with great company cultures. O’Brien has been busy deploying his cultural beliefs into the staff with mentorship and leadership principals, which will be maintained and expanded upon going forward. One of O’Brien’s beliefs that retaining the right talent is not only im- portant at a senior level, but should be implemented across the board. “One of the things that separates us from our competitors is that we are always striving to employ and retain the very best personnel we can for the roles we have throughout the business divisions,” says O’Brien. “This goes from junior staff all the way through to management execu- tives.” When it comes to ensuring the success of their fund, the company implements a rigorous approach to assessing both risk and default. As O’Brien explains: “The key component to our fund being successful is the management of risk and default. This is due to having a strict credit and risk management policy that is never compromised in the pre-approval process.” As well as achieving stellar results for their clients, maintaining a close relationship with their clients is equally as important. “Our philosophy is openness and transparency with our investors. We are constantly keeping them in touch with our deals as well as monthly Fund Fact Sheets and quarterly reports to ensure on-going communication be- tween both parties.” Being able to meet their investor’s expectations is an ongoing process, and the company is constantly keeping a close eye on any changes happening within their industry. “To ensure that we keep abreast of changes within the industry, we attend all industry related conferences and are always in close contact with our third party service providers. One of the major trends we currently have our eye on is that asset class trade finance has become much more respected and under- stood.” When asked about the award, O’Brien believes that this accolade is a further testament to their success. “It really does feel great to be rec- ognised for all the hard work that goes into making the fund a success. This success is due to the combined effort of our dedicated team.” Looking further ahead, Barak are looking towards creating new funds and opportunities for their investors. “We are on an aggressive ex- pansion plan to roll out more funds and to create new business units that complement our current suite of funds. As the African landscape evolves, we will evolve with it.”

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