Scipion Capital, the African commodities investment specialist, has strengthened its London office with three appointments.
The new hires come during a period of significant growth for the firm, and in anticipation of major new investment in 2013.
The increased global popularity of commodities trade finance as an investment strategy has led to a significant uptick in interest in the firm’s Commodities Trade Finance (CTF) Fund. The fund, which finances trade in soft and mineral commodities in Africa, has generated positive returns in every month since inception.
The fund’s track record and the growing popularity of CTF as a strategy among institutional investors, as well as Africa’s increasing influence as the main commodities source for the world’s developed nations, has seen interest in Scipion’s CTF fund surge. In response to this growth the firm has strengthened across its departments in London.
Georgina Fleming joins Scipion to oversee product management and development, a newly created role, which encompasses sourcing investment opportunities and developing investor relations. Formerly a business development coordinator at a leading law firm in New York, Fleming has experience of sourcing lucrative business leads spanning Asia, Europe, and the Americas. She also spent time working for a private equity firm who specialised in agribusinesses in the Sub-Saharan region. She is also the founder of ZOF Africa, an NGO that funds vocational training for orphans in Zimbabwe.
Scipion has also hired George Sanders and Ben Storrs as analysts.
Before joining Scipion, fluent Japanese speaker Sanders worked at London Research International, a boutique Japanese energy, infrastructure and commodities research firm. Prior to this, he worked at a MENA-focused consultancy and assisted SME’s in business development.
As part of Scipion’s trading desk, Sanders focuses on deal origination and commodity research. He will also be working to develop relationships with Asian investors.
Storrs focuses primarily on commodity and energy research, alongside Scipion’s pan-African portfolio of commodity trade finance transactions. Previously, Storrs gained experience working as an economic researcher at the London-based think-tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs. He also travelled to Turkey, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria while working as an analyst for Oil and Gas Year, an industry publication that focuses on the oil and gas energy sectors of developing economies.
Nicolas Clavel (pictured), chief investment officer and founder of Scipion, says: “We see Africa as the key to the global commodities story. The rest of the world, Asia in particular, is increasingly dependent on Africa as its source of commodities, and this has triggered a rise in popularity for CTF as a strategy. It is clear to us that investors have identified CTF as a way to capitalise on Africa’s remarkable growth.
“As a result, we’ve seen a huge amount of interest in our fund. The strengthening of the London team with Georgina, George and Ben will not only help us manage recent investment into the fund, but will also assist us in driving further inflows and identifying new prospects, while providing the high level of investor support that is paramount to our continuing success.”