We caught up with the Head of Trade Origination & Advisory at Natwest Bank, to talk about trade in the UK, given the current uncertain geopolitical climate around Brexit. We asked Rowan Austin about the current outlook for UK SMEs, trade barriers and how the bank is approaching trade and transaction banking digitisation through some of its initiatives at Sibos 2019.
AGTB: New kid on the block. TFG heard from Daniel Gould, Deputy CEO of Anglo Gulf Trade Bank, and its new digital offering for trade finance in the UAE and MENA region. Building a trade bank from scratch without relying on legacy technologies has enabled AGTB to reimagine trade finance, building a competitive product for the corporate banking space.
TFG heard from Joel Schrevens Global Solutions Director of China Systems about the state of the trade and supply chain finance ecosystem. Established in 1983, China Systems is a leading trade services solutions vendor. The company is fully focused on providing an integrated front-end and back-office platform catering for internal and external deployment at a domestic, regional or global level.
The Italian Banking market continues to face headwinds and pressures around new payment service directives (PSDII), challenges from the regulator, and changing customer needs. TFG caught up with the CEO of RegTech innovator CBI about their latest product CBI Globe, and how this is positioned to help Italian banks succeed and grow.
Following the financial crisis, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) recognised the need for a forward-looking approach to account for credit losses. Previously, the IAS 39 accounting standard for assessing provisions was based on an incurred loss model. This approach has been criticised as “too little, too late” as it was perceived as delaying the recognition of potential turbulences while favouring forbearance.
TFG spoke to Mishal Ruparel, General Manager at Banking Circle, about the new applications of technology in banking to help better serve the underbanked SMEs. Using AI-driven credit scoring and new approaches to analyse credit card transaction data, Banking Circle’s proposition is game-changing the world of SME finance.
TFG heard from Alexander Goulandris the co-CEO of essDOCS about the different solutions for paperless trade. He exclusively announced the launch of a new product called CargoDocs Match, which will enable trade finance banks to continue to provide BPO-related solutions to their customers after SWIFT discontinues support for the Trade Services Utility (TSU) in 2020.
TFG heard the latest updates in trade credit insurance and political risk appetite from the Berne Union. The Berne Union represents the export credit (ECA) and investment insurance industry. Vinco David, Secretary General spoke to TFG’s Deepesh Patel at ExCred Commodities London.
The global trading system is in disarray. Global economic growth is slowing, half the G20 are now operating under openly protectionist agendas, and tensions between China and the United States remain high – despite faint promise of a truce earlier this year. But over in the UK, all of this is overshadowed by the continuing dispute over Brexit. The nation is bitterly divided, and we are fast approaching what could constitute a national crisis.
There is, so far as I am aware, little or no precedent for what the UK is attempting to do: seeking to reduce unfettered access to its closest and most important market – which also happens to be one of the world’s two largest. In 2018, 46% of the UK’s exports went to the EU, and 54% of UK imports came from it. Almost all countries in the world try to make trade deals, not dismantle them.
Access to affordable trade finance is a condition of success in international trade, to the same extent as rapid clearance of customs and efficient transportation. For decades, successful companies in developed countries have benefitted from the existence of mature financial industries distributing high volumes of finance and guarantees at low rates. Trade finance is normally a high volume and low-cost source of finance, because the risk of default is small, with a global average of 0.2%, and little difference across countries.
International companies are facing the dual challenge of uncertainty and transformation in how they source, produce, transport, sell and trade their goods and services. The question is how can they get ahead of the curve and thrive in this changing environment.
To advance trade finance’s digital transformation, financial institutions and technology providers alike are ramping up efforts to cooperate through a number of consortiums. But, to ensure these various initiatives do not create a cluster of “digital islands”, a more joined-up approach is required.
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) has been around for several years and has its roots in the world of cryptocurrencies, often referred to as Blockchain. Having brought some very interesting opportunities to the Banking market, attention was sparked in other industries such as Insurance, Healthcare, Shipping, Supply Chains, Manufacturing and Trade Finance.
Over the past 2-3 decades there have been many attempts to digitise parts of the trade and trade finance process, but it’s the complexity of trade that remains the challenge. Most successful attempts at digitisation have had to bite off a small piece of the problem and this has led to silos or what I call a ‘digital island’ phenomena.