The Kylla Corporate Transactions team is expanding in expertise and scope as Hugo Berkhout joins us as Partner Investments & Treasury Services. An introduction.
Hugo launched his career in finance while a university student in Amsterdam, where he was reading history and law. A series of fortuitous coincidences led him to join Delta Lloyd Bank NV as a fixed income manager and FX trader in the wholesale bank’s treasury/ dealing room environment.
While working there, Hugo secured his banking and financial markets credentials from the Dutch Institute for Banking & Securities Industry and the Amsterdam Institute of Finance. He obtained a Registration in the Treasury Registers (Trading & Advising) of the DSI (Dutch Securities Institute). Later, he held extracurricular positions as Chairman of the Function Committee of the DSI and Treasurer of ACI The Netherlands (The Financial Markets Association).
What did you do in your early years with Delta Lloyd Bank NV, and what did you learn from it that will benefit Kylla’s clients and stakeholders?
I went to work in the bank’s Treasury Front Office/Dealing Room environment as a Fixed Income (Governments/Corporates/Structured Credit) & Securitizations Portfolio Manager, and as an FX & Money Markets/Rates Derivatives Trader. When I began, I was analysing and managing fixed income portfolios with a variety of classes: (regional) governments, (distressed) corporate debt, asset backed securities (RMBS/CMBS), structured credit (CBO/CDO/CLO/Synthetics) within the treasury front office. This provides me with a broad and solid basis for what I am going to be doing within Kylla Corporate Transactions.
You then moved to Amsterdam Trade Bank NV, where you were in charge of funding, liquidity and maintaining relationships with investment banks, brokers and asset managers. What did you gain from those roles?
It would be serving as a member of the Asset & Liability Committee (ALCO), the main governance body of a bank. As secretary, I prepared the ALCO-pack and acted as a spider in the web to all stakeholders, clarifying issues ahead of ALCO meetings. In addition to executing ALCO decisions and implementing new policies and procedures, my colleagues and I developed insights and ideas to streamline and optimise the balance sheet. The idea was to achieve maximum profitability while maintaining high standards with regards to complying with dynamic, regulatory boundaries. The other thing I took away was experience of arranging wholesale funding with a variety of investment banks and brokers and managing excess liquidity in a mix of fixed income Hold to Maturity, Available for Sale and Trading portfolios comprising government/ corporate bonds, asset backed securities and structured credit.
Just before joining Kylla, you set up a treasury department, in Cyprus, for an Australian fintech/ regtech PSP focusing on international e-money, payments and identity technology. That must have been quite different to working for established wholesale banks. What did you do and what did it teach you?
This was my first experience of working with a balance sheet for a company that did not have a full banking licence. This changes the dynamics and governance as well as the applicable rules and regulatory boundaries. Central to this is the need to hedge the FX/ interest rate risk on the balance sheet at all times. Also, there are very strict liquidity management procedures without any leverage possibilities. I learned a lot about payments and the more obviously accounting/ finance approach needed to run treasury effectively in a company like this.
What will you be doing at Kylla and what will our clients notice?
My main focus at Kylla will be on corporate transactions deals. I can add an additional network of financial institutions to the existing ones Kylla works with and, through this, increase the possibility that funding transactions for our clients will close successfully.
My role also includes setting up and leading a treasury services arm for Kylla clients. This will cover asset & liability and FX & interest rate risk management, short-term funding, cash and liquidity management and first line of defence risk management. The idea is to translate my banking, treasury and financial markets’ knowledge in a way that will help Kylla’s clients to detect first line of defence risks in currencies, interest rates and liquidity. On the back of that, we will provide them with top-notch treasury services at a cut-to-the-bone cost.
Along with working on corporate investments and transactions, and rolling out our complementary treasury services arm in the course of 2021, I aim to continuously grow and extend Kylla Corporate Transactions’ client base.
What would you say drives you in general?
I believe strongly in permanent education to be up to date with international rules, regulations and integrity standards, and I thrive while working in dynamic, professional teams with an international footprint and many different nationalities. I also love building and maintaining relationships, sharing knowledge with colleagues and educating more junior colleagues.
Final question. Who are you outside work?
I’m a married father of one daughter, and I enjoy reading books about financial and economic history, exploring nature, birdwatching, skiing and cooking.