Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Behind the looking glass: trade finance insights you don’t want to miss

At the 2022 ITFA Annual Conference in Porto, Portugal, Trade Finance Global (TFG) was delighted to have the opportunity to speak face-to-face with some of the biggest names in trade finance.

TFG had the privilege of peering behind the looking glass and delving deeper into current affairs in the trade finance industry.

So whether you are a bank, corporate, small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME), insurer, fintech, policymaker, or ratings agency, take a look around and see what’s on offer.

For your convenience, we have grouped the videos into four categories:

  • Trade digitalisation
  • Trade finance––emerging markets 
  • Trade finance as an asset class 
  • Sustainability and ESG


Trade digitalisation

VIDEO | Energy crisis: difficult decisions and the cold winter ahead

One of the recurring themes coming out of the ITFA conference was the growing need for businesses to successfully analyse and make difficult decisions.

Speaking to Natasha Condon, global head of core trade within payments at J.P. Morgan, TFG gained insights on how the banking industry is changing. 

Given the volatility in the market, emphasis must be placed on banks remaining involved and keeping a keen eye on their three fundamental priorities: regulatory compliance, serving new clients, and increased efficiency. 

After the challenges posed by COVID-19 on a largely paper-based industry, trade digitisation has developed at rapid paces. 

Catherine Lang-Anderson, a partner in the banking and finance team at Allen & Overy, expanded on the issue, particularly within English jurisdiction. 

As more countries adapt their laws to be in alignment with the new digital reality, the pace of legal digitalisation is expected to increase continually.

VIDEO | The future of trade: NFTs and a metaverse economy

The metaverse poses lots of opportunities for trade, facilitating promissory bills of exchange, cross-border commerce, and supply chain visibility. 

Despite the vast potential posed in the metaverse, the industry can often be met with apprehension. 

To explore the futuristic potential of the metaverse for trade finance, TFG spoke with Megha Shrestha, co-founder and CEO of Metabloqs.

ITFA fintech chair André Casterman on the metaverse, distributed ledger technology, and NFTs

The fintech space is a broad and densely populated one. Over the last few years, different developments have come thick and fast 

André Casterman, founder and managing director of Casterman Advisory, shed some more light on recent industry advancements. 

Distributed ledger technology (DLTs) and their value add––especially in a sustainability approach––NFTs and AIs are but a few topics discussed.

ITFA chair André Casterman on the metaverse, distributed ledger technology, and NFTs

Trade finance – emerging markets

Emerging markets roundtable: understanding and addressing the trade finance challenges for SMEs

The solution for improving access to trade finance is not linear. Rising inflation rates, declining relationships between correspondent and respondent banks, supply chain finance barriers, and regulatory constraints are but some of the market’s current pain points. 

Discussing these facets with industry leaders from Standard Chartered, ITFA, EBRD, and ARC Ratings, we were able to learn more about the nuances of these problems.

Featured Image - Carter Hoffman - Emerging markets roundtable_ understanding and addressing the trade finance challenges for SMEs

VIDEO | Trade in emerging markets: managing the opportunities and risks

TFG spoke to Lucio Lopez, managing partner of one of Brazil’s leading commercial law firms, about how businesses looking to expand into emerging and developing markets like Asia, Africa, or Latin America.

Brazil especially has become a major producer and exporter of soft and hard commodities over the past ten years, creating more liquid companies willing to engage in trade.

Trade finance as an asset class

VIDEO | Has asset management embraced trade finance and what more is left to be done?

TFG spoke with Jason Barrass, chief commercial officer at ARC Ratings, to learn more about the role that credit rating agencies have been playing in helping trade appear like a more investable asset class. 

Credit risk agencies have a large role to play in this regard, helping to educate other parties in the sector on the advantages of different financial instruments.

Sustainability and ESG

VIDEO | George Wilson on African SMEs, FX, and sustainability

Speaking to George Wilson, head of institutional trade finance at Investec, TFG was able to find out more about the African ecosystem and how sustainability is factoring in. 

Unfortunately, there is a danger that well-meaning international sustainable development goals (SDGs) and environment, social, governance (ESG) requirements may actually heighten the trade finance gap and limit funding even further to African SMEs.

Though certain sustainability frameworks help to provide guidance for businesses on a global scale, but there needs to be more input from African trade finance.