Helping Clients Reach their Ambitions


3 Questions to Zvi Wohlgemuth, UK Head of Global Banking and Advisory (GLBA)

How does Global Banking & Advisory (GLBA) UK support its clients?

Whether it’s a multinational looking to grow its business or a local authority wanting to finance an infrastructure project, our clients fundamentally need three things: capital to support their growth ambitions; advice on the best way to do so; and financial products to mitigate risks. Our teams offer a wide range of capital markets solutions, structured financing, and together with our markets division, tailor-made hedging solutions, as well as full advisory services for corporates, financial institutions, family offices, sovereigns and local authorities in the UK and abroad.

More specifically, our sector and product teams provide in depth advisory and investment banking services to our client base, in particular across our strategic pillars: Energy Transition, Healthcare, TMT (technology, media and telecommunications) and Infrastructure. Furthermore, our teams also consist of engineers, geologists, and scientists reflecting the many sectors we support. By having a deep understanding of the sectors, we are better positioned to advise our clients across the range of products and services they may require.   

Financing often involves direct lending from Societe Generale where we can leverage our expertise to structure innovative solutions across the capital structure. We also play a key role in raising debt from other banks and institutional investors, such as asset managers and pension funds who are looking to allocate capital towards longer-term projects. Here, as part of our role, we leverage our deep relationships with these institutions, bringing together issuer and investor clients across the various product markets.

How has your business model evolved considering the paradigm shift towards net zero, the energy transition and the wider ESG challenges? 

As a bank, we recognise our core role in driving a more sustainable future, and we do this by supporting our clients in their own transformations to help them have a positive impact on society, and on the real economy.

Globally in GLBA, including in the UK, we are today undergoing a fundamental shift in our business model in order to prepare, with our clients, the world of tomorrow. Placing decarbonisation at the heart of everything we do, each of our businesses is tasked with innovating our product offering to support our clients in their transition to net zero. For example, our Energy Product Group has developed a strong hydrogen and power expertise and is advising on key projects in the country relating to hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage, which will significantly reduce carbon emissions. Our Metals & Mining Industry team is a leader in providing solutions in support of electrification, working across the full client value chain, from mining companies to gigafactories with our Infrastructure team exploring electric vehicle infrastructure solutions. The real estate market will require many billions of investments to retrofit buildings to higher environmental standards, a sector we are seeking to support. 

While these are just a few examples, across all these activities and more, we bring client solutions by leveraging the expertise across all our teams in these value chains. As well as helping to support our collective climate commitments, the projects often lead to significant job creation, hence supporting the real economy. 

To support projects of this type, it’s also important to ensure the appropriate frameworks are in place. Our experts are actively helping to shape industry-wide initiatives that look at decarbonising specific sectors. For example, as a member of the Hydrogen Council, and founding members of the European Battery Alliance, the Poseidon Principles for shipping, the Steel, the Aircraft and the Aluminium Climate-Aligned Finance Working Groups, we are working with other banks to shape the policy framework needed to unlock the full potential towards decarbonisation. 

With regards to the UK market, what are your main priorities? 

London retains its status as one of the largest financial centres in the world and a significant investment opportunity for the international community. Some of the most significant corporates in the world are based here as well as European head offices of our financial institution and financial sponsor clients. Our role is to provide solutions to these clients, both in the UK and abroad. 

As a bank, we are committed to doing our part in the financing of the energy transition, to driving the digital transition and delivering positive impact for our clients and wider society. In the UK, these goals fully match the Government’s 2050 net zero strategy and its levelling-up agenda to ensure that regions outside of London also benefit from attractive investment and job opportunities. 

Our expertise is well placed to advise and finance our clients to contribute to these objectives. For example, our infrastructure and structured solutions team have recently provided financing to Zenobe, for electric bus infrastructure in the UK and Ireland. Our structured export finance team has worked with UK Export Finance to finance JDR’s subsea power cable manufacturing that will enhance the UK’s growing offshore windfarm capabilities. As mentioned earlier, we are the sole financial advisors on two of the most significant hydrogen projects in the country – HyNet and Net Zero Teesside. Furthermore, when considering ‘Levelling-up’, we are also a market leader in providing fibre capex financing and advisory solutions to a number of UK clients, such as CityFibre, which will ensure that millions of households can access ultra-fast broadband technologies.

As well as directly supporting our clients, once again, we leverage the expertise of our teams to help shape policy frameworks through industry groups in the UK, but also by directly sharing our views with the UK government on their green and net zero strategies in order to unlock the country’s full decarbonisation potential.

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