Braemar’s new oil derivatives desk head Rebecca Reed-Sperrin believes she is at the right company to help shipowners cut fuel costs.

The former Marex Spectron broker joined the London-listed group in January as it seeks to build up its securities offering.

Reed-Sperrin told TradeWinds she had taken some time out from her previous employer while having a baby, and was then approached by Braemar.

“It seemed the right time to move on. The planets aligned,” she said.

“It’s a really exciting time in general here. They’re expanding in so many areas and it’s nice to be part of a growing team and know the company has these ambitions to grow further,” Reed-Sperrin added.

The new recruit explained that a big chunk of her client base has always been shipping companies “because they’ve always been so exposed to oil price fluctuations”.

But with oil derivatives trading, they can lock in what their cost is going to be months in advance, and then build the business around that, she said.

“It’s definitely something that smaller companies haven’t looked at in the past. Previously, I’ve had to walk clients through how to do it,” Reed-Sperrin added.

She described the process as almost acting like insurance on fuel prices.

Selling certainty

“You run the risk the price might go down from what you paid, but as we’ve seen over the last few years, we’ve had all these black swan events where the price has gone much higher than people were predicting,” Reed-Sperrin said.

“The main thing we’re selling is certainty,” she added.

The International Maritime Organization’s sulphur regulations introduced in 2020 have made the market more complex — and interesting, the desk head believes.

Before the change, bunkers were predominantly fuel oil, the cheapest part of the barrel, the Braemar broker said.

After IMO 2020, the market originally assumed that most companies would start using gasoil, so trading contracts became focused on that product, she explained.

Changing markets

But in the physical market there was more availability of 0.5% low-sulphur fuel oil, so there has been a big push into these contracts, Reed-Sperrin told TradeWinds.

“We see a lot of spreads between the fuel types,” she said.

“It’s really made our market on the derivatives side a lot more interesting and also given me more value as a broker in terms of advising how the market is acting,” the desk chief added.

Reed-Sperrin said these are new contracts to a lot of people over the last couple of years.

“But liquidity is improving significantly,” she concluded.