On August 4, law firm VANEPS organized a seminar for its clients about structured finance; the collective term for special ways to finance companies. This means that a company is not financed by an ordinary loan, but by instruments such as securitization, covered bonds and factoring. Based on recent practical examples, the 60 participants were updated on assets (for instance loan portfolios and lease portfolios) and how to secure them for financiers.

The participants were welcomed by Focco Lunsingh Scheurleer, managing partner of VANEPS. He introduced guest speaker Kees Westermann; a specialist in financing and assets/liabilities transactions, just like Lunsingh Scheurleer himself. Westermann worked as an attorney in Curaçao from 2000 until 2004, and was a member of the Cifa board during that period. He advised ABN AMRO on the takeover by RBTT and the government on the privatizations of Aqualectra and Hato. Currently, Westermann is a structured finance specialist at law firm Rutgers & Posch in Amsterdam. He is a co-drafter of Dutch laws and regulations on securitization and covered bonds. About these laws and regulations he advises Dutch and European banks and government bodies, and rating agencies.

The seminar lasted 2.5 hours and provided an understanding of innovative financing techniques, that can be used by for instance banks, lessors, insurance companies and governments that have assets, and investors that want to invest in those assets (such as pension funds and insurance companies). After the break, René Römer of the Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange (DCSX) gave a brief introduction about the Curaçao stock exchange. He explained how local companies can attract financing through the stock exchange in cooperation with their banks, and as a supplement to their existing sources of financing (such as bank loans and crowd funding). Westermann added that this fits well within the international trend of bank disintermediation, in which parties get their money from investors directly, instead of through the banks. Banks encourage this trend worldwide, because it reduces the pressure on their balance sheet which results in savings in costs.

According to Kees Westermann, the seminar was a success: “It turned out that there was a great practical need for more information on structured finance techniques. This made the seminar dynamic and gave extra substance to the concluding happy hour.” Focco Lunsingh Scheurleer adds: “Clients mentioned that the seminar added a lot of value, because they were given in-depth and high level knowledge in a brief period of time. That was exactly our intention, so we are happy to hear that.”