Two senior brokers from Affinity (Shipping) are joining the crush of new hires at expanding Oil Brokerage.

Affinity said Singapore-based Sydney Ng, who is listed as a company director working on LR2 clean tanker business, has left and is free to join Oil Brokerage immediately.

In addition, London tankers partner and aframax specialist Ashley Cadwallader is also heading to the rival shop after serving three months gardening leave.

Affinity managing partner Richard Fulford-Smith told TradeWinds the departure of the two brokers was “not a surprise”, admitting that he might have been tempted to make similar moves himself at their ages.

Fulford-Smith said Affinity was not willing to match the terms offered to the two departing brokers as it would have meant altering the constitution of the company.

He thanked the two for their loyal service. “It’s been a fun journey with both of them and they will surely do well wherever they work.”

Oil Brokerage chief executive James McNicol has been contacted about the hires from Affinity.

McNicol’s company has been hoovering up brokers from rival shops in the last few weeks as it moves to expand its tanker broking arm alongside its trading business.

The company has snapped up at least five from Gibson Shipbrokers, who were previously named as David Pinder, Henry Lee, Ben Crowder, Simon Allen-Clarke and Tom Bassett, and one — Jon Grunsell — from Braemar ACM Shipbroking.

In July, McNicol told this publication he had been interviewing further potential hires in Singapore and New York.

McNicol said his target is to have a team of 40 to 45 tanker brokers in place globally by the end of 2022.

He said the business, which started in 1989, kicked off with physical oil trades, then expanded into paper derivatives and freight forward agreements.

Management has determined that tanker broking is the missing part “of the jigsaw” in its planning to serve the larger oil market over the next decade, McNicol said.

Fulford-Smith describes McNicol as “a cunning operator with sharp elbows”. But he added: “ ..We need his type to keep us on our toes.”

The Affinity chief said McNicol had “upped the ante over the last couple of years talking to a lot of the brokers in many traditional shops”.

“He has taken many others already and may continue so to do,” Fulford-Smith said. “He is using Premier League style football cash — albeit he is still a loyal Hull fan — to lure people in.”

In comments aimed at Oil Brokerage, Fulford-Smith said: “I can speak on behalf of traditional brokerage businesses to say that we should have no regrets in staying honest to our own teams culture.

“Venture capital-backed inter-dealer sign-on terms are not without linkage to success in taking away cargo business from traditional shipping service companies like ours.”

He said newcomers are entitled to try and break into markets, particularly when they are “hot” but for longevity will also need to maintain high-value service.

Richard Fulford-Smith at a TradeWinds’ Shipowners Forum. Photo: Spencer Tan Yun Qi/TradeWinds Events