How are we addressing the $1.5tn trade finance gap?

TFG recognizes the best in trade finance at the 2017 International Trade Awards

The winners of the 2017 TFG International Trade Awards were announced this week (on Wednesday 1st November). The awards recognised and rewarded innovative practice in the industry.

With the recently announced $1.5tn trade finance gap, primarily due to lack of SME finance and trade financing in Asian countries, the international trade awards looked at those stepping in to bridge and address this shortfall, along with ancillary products and services helping businesses trade internationally.

Each category was judged by a panel of professional judges and 2017 was the biggest awards to date, choosing from over 100 companies across 5 markets.

James Sinclair, Trade Finance Global editor said:

“2017 has been a tough year. With Brexit causing nervousness in markets and amongst businesses, and SMEs looking to drive efficiencies and grow the bottom line; trading overseas has been far from easy.”

“We were proud to nominate fintechs and disruptors who are using technology to accelerate the use of paperless trade, automation and eKYC. It’s been a pleasure for the judging panel reading independent reviews, talking to experts in the sector, and reviewing websites.”

Tavistock Group backed Ultimate Finance is continuing to invest within the Trade Finance sector. Vince Tovey, Head of Trade at Ultimate Finance said: “2018 will see Ultimate increasing its market share within the Trade Finance sector as we build on the good work we have done in 2017. This work demonstrates our willingness to support SME’s who are looking for an alternative to their current facilities and for a solution that can be a little more creative and fit their cashflow requirements in a more dynamic way.”

Greensill Capital (Best Supply Chain Financier) on the other hand have been innovating in their product offering. Lex Greensill, CEO, said: “As the WTO continued to forecast sluggish growth in global trade for 2017, we found at Greensill Capital more opportunity than ever to help our clients unlock capital and put it to work. We expanded our product offering into aircraft finance in conjunction with Boeing, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Marsh. We also financed billions of dollars of large, complex acquisitions such as Arrium Steel in South Australia on behalf of Liberty House.”

Winner of Best Alternative Financier, Ebury, have seen significant expansion in European markets, having doubled company size in the last year. Juan Lobato, CEO, said: “In terms of challenges, 2017 has been a year in which SME’s in the UK had to begin to adjust to the new Post-Brexit economy. We have seen a lot of businesses adapt to the changing tides by beginning to source goods from within the UK. It seems that the larger margins inherent when importing from location such as China have been reduced by a weaker Pound.”

The winners of the TFG International Trade Awards were greatly received and well deserved. Steven Beck, Head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance at Asian Development Bank has supported over 2312 SMEs in 2017, up 134%, through it’s Supply Chain Finance Programme. He said: “ADB’s TFP really appreciates the recognition. It’s a great team that always strives to innovate and maximize client support. Thanks for the recognition.”

Winners for the Awards and Interviews with CEOs can be found here, and were as follows:

Best Trade Finance Company – Ultimate Finance (Winner), Woodsford TradeBridge (Runner Up)
Best Supply Chain Financier – Greensill Capital (Winner)
Best Alternative Financier – Ebury (Winner), UK Bond Network (Runner Up)
Best Business Finance Provider, Europe – Funding Circle (Winner), Working Capital Partners (Runner Up)
Best Business Finance Provider, Asia – Asian Development Bank (Winner)
Best Business Finance Provider, Australia – Scottish Pacific (Winner)
Best Business Finance Provider, North America – BlueVine (Winner)
Best Business Finance Provider, South America – BBVA (Winner)
Best Freight Forwarder – Universal Cargo (Winner)
Best Trade Finance Recruiter – Johnson Associates (Winner)
Best Foreign Exchange Provider – Smart Currency Business (Winner)
Innovator in Global Trade – TradeIX (Winner)
Disruptor in Mobile Banking – ipagoo (Winner), Atom (Runner Up)