UK-based Crown Agents Bank (CAB), which is positioning itself to be a significant provider of trade finance services to Africa and other emerging markets, is strengthening its trade finance and anti-financial crime teams.

Earlier this year, the formerly non-profit bank was sold to Helios Investment Partners, an Africa-focused private equity investor that sees opportunities for CAB to step into trade finance and correspondent banking positions in emerging markets left vacant by international banks exiting those areas.

Priority areas

Financial crime is a priority for CAB given the markets in which it seeks a position. It is looking at trading in areas from which international banks are withdrawing due to concerns over the risks inherent in money laundering, terrorist financing and dealing with politically exposed persons.

The bank is therefore looking to develop a team to manage risks in frontier and emerging markets, primarily in Africa, the Caribbean and South-East Asia, where it wants to act as a commercial gateway.

New appointment

It has started doing this by appointing Paul Nolan as its money laundering reporting officer and head of the anti-financial crime team.

He worked for 30 years at Citi and Northern Trust. His responsibilities at CAB will encompass all aspects of anti-financial crime, including fraud, anti-bribery and corruption.

Filling a gap

The bank is also revamping its trade finance, commercial and credit risk teams to capture more positions in emerging market trade finance and correspondent banking.

The bank was sold to Helios by Crown Agents, a non-profit international development company that partners with governments and donor organisations such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank as well as the private sector in emerging markets.