As Extinction Rebellion protests disrupted the bustling tourist spot on Trafalgar Square last October, I met with management of commodity trader Gerald Group at their London office.
Gerald Group, one of the world's oldest commodity trading companies, with a global footprint from Stamford to Shanghai, has its origins as a copper merchant. With a trading philosophy embedded in its most valued employees from the days of founder Gerald Lennard, nearly six decades on, Gerald has evolved to become the largest independent, employee-owned metals merchant in the world.
The Group is actively exploring new opportunities leveraging on decades of experience, and investing in new metal merchant transactions, from prepayments to new mining projects.
Gerald plays a vital role in ensuring that global industries have a steady supply of responsibly sourced raw materials. The Group sources, store, processes, and transports ferrous, non-ferrous and precious metals, concentrates, and other raw materials, which are then consumed in our everyday lives in an infinite range of products.
For commodity companies, sustainable transaction flow is critical to ensure reliable, efficient, and timely offtake to supply a growing global customer base. Craig Dean, Gerald's CEO, says it's not just about increasing deal flow: "We must be smart, nimble, and manage a certain amount of risk. Does this fit with our conservative approach to risk management? I would say, risk management is key in our business, and more so if we want to grow in a dynamic industry. We have very talented people who manage our businesses, but there will always be headwinds and dynamic variables. Our strategy is to endeavour to create value and to grow, while staying true to our core philosophy of trading ethically and responsibly."
Min Zhang, a member of the Board of Directors, has been at Gerald for 20 years, and is credited for her analytical prowess in response to changing market scenarios. As Gerald's Head of Copper Concentrates, who formerly worked at Glencore, Ms Zhang expects 2020 to be another challenging year for global markets, acknowledging that trading teams have a lot more to consider in the current...