TFG heard Cyril Broutin, Account Delivery Executive at Trade IX and
Eric Henry, Head of Innovation, Trade Finance & Supply Chain at BNP Paribas, about the banking ecosystems in the Marco Polo Network.

Trade is the lifeblood of the modern global economy. Each year, hundreds of trillions of dollars in goods, assets, credit, and money change hands in support of global trade. The current IT and financial systems that manage and facilitate these trade flows are now straining under the weight of increasingly complex supply chains, trading relationships and interactions between parties.

Existing systems are woefully inefficient, siloed or still paper-based and many of them have not improved for decades. They introduce bottlenecks and create an unnecessary cost, time, complexity, and risk in every step. The Marco Polo Network is working with Financial Institutions, Corporates and Technology & Service Providers to remove the barriers preventing them from operating at their best.

Marco Polo

Featuring: Cyril Broutin, Account Delivery Executive, Trade IX
Eric Henry, Head of Innovation, Trade Finance & Supply Chain, BNP Paribas

Host: Deepesh Patel, Editor, Trade Finance Global

Eric:  So I’m Eric Henry, I’m Head of Innovation in Trade Finance at the Trade Finance Competent Sector. So I’m based in Paris, and I’m in charge of innovation, now, in my department for the BNP group. 

Cyril:  I’m Cyril Broutin from a TradeIX, I joined TradeIX one year and a half ago, having a broad experience in working capital, management and trade finance, of course.

Similarities DLT Challenges

What are the pain points for corporates in trade finance?

Cyril:  That’s a very interesting question. In fact, today, most of the large corporates are asking for better-connected connectivity to their, let’s say, bank partners. Okay, so this is very much the idea of what we are willing to provide access to multiple channels of potential funders or funding. And while providing access to a network of third parties, whatever the third parties are, just to facilitate their transactions with an ecosystem of either funder or other kind of parties. Obviously, there are commercial parties too, for sure.

Eric: I would add a few additional comments. First of all, I think that the first main pain points are about connectivity. Today they have to connect to multiple banking portals, they need to set up multiple connectivity with each and every one of the banks and they do not have any transparency on the funding; they need to get more visibility. And they want to make sure that cash will reach their bank account in the coming 24 – 48 hours. So I think that if, as a bank, we can provide more transparency, more visibility, we will improve the user experience. And definitely we will better serve our clients. As a bank, and we want to serve as better as possible to our clients.

Why is BNP Paribas one of the founding partners of Marco Polo?

Eric: In fact, BNP Paribas was one of the founding banks of Marco Polo Network. We are not developers, we are bankers, and it doesn’t make sense for a bank to develop on its own this type of features of the platform. Therefore, we do consider that joining forces with other banks, makes sense. Our corporates are also multi-bank customers. So we need to better serve our clients and joining this initiative makes sense and for BNP Paribas.

Marco Polo is using blockchain technology. We wanted to improve our internal knowledge of this technology. And definitely we did consider that joining Marco Polo at the very, very beginning, was also very beneficial for us.

What questions are the banks asking Marco Polo at SIBOS 2019?

Cyril: That’s a good question. Because, well, some months ago, okay.. people were coming over just to ask, “What is Marco Polo?”

Now? Well, honestly, this year, it has changed dramatically, because people are coming to ask, “How can I join?”

In fact, because they have been made aware that the momentum over Marco Polo is really great. We are adding some new names almost every week. You have seen the announcement. And yes, it’s kind of a snowball effect; which is really triggering now. Banks are willing to join because they are aware of the value they are going to do to get.

What is working with other banks in the Marco Polo Network like?

Eric: It’s very interesting because each time so we meet our colleagues from the other banks. We want to improve the user experience of our clients, in fact, by joining this consortium, we better collaborate with our clients.

It’s only about collaboration, we really make a difference between collaboration and competition. So here we are not talking about competitive space, not at all, it’s only about collaboration, and I can tell you that it’s also improved our relationships with other banks.


More importantly, I would say, by joining Marco Polo, and we can see these logos are behind us, so banks based in Europe, in EMEA, in America, in Asia, find a way to better communicate, but again, to better serve clients and their counterparts.

So definitely, Marco Polo Network will grow and grow and I’m pretty sure that next year there will be much more logos of banks on behind us. More importantly, again, we hope the answer to the objective of the next month; definitely to attract corporates and to make sure that they will be using this platform.

The second point, we can see multiple consortiums growing in different spaces. What we would like to see: is to make sure that Marco Polo network will be able to interoperate, communicate down with the other consortia. I’m just thinking when we’re talking about Marco Polo, it’s mainly focused on supply chain financing. We would love to see collaboration with other platform providing logistics data because that’s some single critical in supply chain financing. Why not about documentary trade products, and so forth? So the idea is really to create a new digital ecosystem using blockchain technology.