What exactly is Leveraged Finance, the finance sub-sector in which the Structured Lending (SL) or Structured Acquisition Finance (SAF) department are active? We asked Femke Schep, Head of Structured Lending at ING, to take us through her world!
Femke Schep, an Industrial Engineering and Management graduate, fell in love with banking many years ago, when she completed an internship with ABN AMRO. After multiple positions within ING and other banks, Femke took on the role of Head of the Structured Lending team at ING. She is leading a team of 18 people, focusing on her team’s development, acting as a sparring partner for transactions, and helping her team to support clients.
Perhaps the most notable aspect about these departments is the complex financing structures that they provide for their clients. Unlike a regular loan from a bank, these teams create a long-term financing package for their clients, tailored to their ambitions and plans, and involving different financing elements in terms of pricing, terms and conditions, tenor, and more!
“Let’s say a company, usually in the mid-corporate segment, has a financing need related to an ‘event’. This can be an acquisition, a CAPEX plan, or building a new sustainable factory. They come to us because they need financing to make their ambitions and plans happen.
Our clients seek an optimal, personalised level of commitment, flexibility, and costs. If you want a lot of flexibility, or a lot of commitment, that will mean higher pricing. Every client has different needs. Some want more flexibility, others prefer lower costs. We structure a package of multiple facilities in such a way that it suits our client’s requirements, but is also acceptable for ING. It’s like solving a puzzle!”
Leveraged Finance is all about advice and services. Both departments work with Dutch companies and a variety of sectors – this means that their teams consist of generalists who don’t specialise in any particular sector.
“This makes the work really dynamic. One day you could be working for a client in IT, and another project will be with a client in construction or wholesale “
The main challenge of your work is to get to the core of a transaction, from all the information that you get from your client.
Your working day depends on where you are in the process with various clients. You work wtih more clients in parallel transactions, meaning that with some you will be at the beginning of the process, and with others closer to the end.
Femke explains the work as consisting of three important aspects:
Working in Leveraged Finance within ING means you can focus on Structured Acquisition Finance (SAF) or Structured Lending (SL). Now, let’s dive into what differentiates these two departments from each other: the types of clients they work with!