International Trade Finance Awards 2019

Following a year of geopolitical uncertainty, technological disruption and competition, the 2019 International Trade Finance Awards by Trade Finance Global recognise and award those who have succeeded and provided an outstanding contribution to international trade. Trade Finance Global Excellence Awards are totally independent and judged by an expert panel of trade specialists.

Funders

Best Financiers Category

Best Trade Financier

Commerzbank AG

Commerzbank provides almost a third of Germany’s trade financing needs.

As a top player, and one of the oldest financiers in trade and commodities, we have seen Commerzbank continue to digitalise its trade offering, having set ambitious goals to use OCR and other technology to automate many of its processes to help corporates access trade finance. TFG were also impressed at Commerzbank’s efforts to set up an innovation lab investigating fintech opportunities such as using DLT in trade finance.

What were your recent successes?

(a) Blockchain innovation

“In January 2018, Commerzbank supported R3 and TradeIX with the Marco Polo initiative, successfully carrying out the project’s first proof of concept, which allowed the group to kick off the pilot transactions. In April, with the Batavia initiative, the Bank facilitated the export of cars from Germany to Spain for its client, Audi. For another client, Commerzbank has used the platform to ease the export of textiles from Austria to Spain.

A further advancement came in May 2018 as part of Commerzbank’s relationship with R3. Together they conducted a proof of concept that integrated SAP S/4HANA enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with the Corda blockchain platform. The process proved that it is possible for a client to access relevant data from its own ERP system and move it directly in or out of a blockchain network or application. This removes the need for a separate user interface, which would typically involve manually inputting information – saving not only time but resources too. This arguably marked a crucial step towards the implementation of blockchain solutions in the trade finance space.”

(b) Trade automation

“In partnership with fintech, Conpend, Commerzbank has set about automating its trade finance transaction processing. Starting with the automation of some anti-money laundering checks in October 2018, Commerzbank aims to have automated 80% of compliance pre-checks by 2020. And the benefits of automation are evident. Currently the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP) allows for a five-business day turnaround for trade finance transactions. But Commerzbank believes this process could eventually be completed in seconds when pre-checks are automated. This would save time and money for both the bank and for its clients, while still meeting, in full, its regulatory commitments.”

Enno-Burghard Weitzel, Managing Director / Global Head of Product Management Trade, Commerzbank AG

“Naturally, we are very honoured to be awarded for our ongoing efforts to hasten a new era for trade finance. This award not only recognises our team’s hard work to drive forward transformative digitalisation initiatives; it also reflects our strong expertise in mitigating global risk on behalf of behalf of our clients, optimising supply chains and serving our customer’s trade needs as they evolve.”

What are the biggest challenges that Commerzbank AG faces in relation to trade right now?

Modernising trade finance

To make trade finance a more efficient business, we must look to decrease the time, and indeed the costs, involved in this process. It isn’t only about efficiency, however; transparency across the transaction chain can also improve thanks to digitalisation. A clear challenge in this respect is the lack of standardisation. Many crucial documents – such as bills of lading, certificates of origin, invoices and custom clearance documents – have never been “really” standardised. Instead, participants in different countries and jurisdictions have their own versions, practices and regulations
And this is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. Consider that many countries are at differing stages of digitalisation and the challenge becomes even more acute. Yet, to realise the full benefits of digitalisation, the adoption of any improvements must be near-universal. This means all documents in the chain becoming digitalised, and all users having access to the necessary processing technology, which is a major headache.

Sustainable trade

Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to trade – endangering not only the origin but also the movement of goods. Second, the importance of human capital for economic value is unmatched.

It is clear, then, that taking positive action to offset environmental and social risks makes practical, business sense. Such action will comprise industry wide changes – including proper standards, coherent guidelines, and securing stakeholder support – and will likely take time, patience and perseverance. Yet we believe such changes will soon be a key driver of economic growth, meaning that the option of ignoring climate change risk, or the needs of a workforce, is no longer viable.

Choosing to finance green projects, undertaking due environmental, social and governance (ESG) diligence on trade finance transactions, and educating client bases are just some ways to achieve this.

Commerzbank works across our diverse network of counterparties to track ESG risk in its many forms – checking more than 5,000 transactions each year. Trying to ensure that commodities are sustainably sourced is the first port of call. Thereafter, good governance on each part of the supply chain not only serves to protect the environment but also to secure fairer labour conditions. Therefore, rather than retrenching from trade because of unsavoury practices, Commerzbank seeks to finance sustainable practices. ”

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Commerzbank AG?

“To continue to support SMEs with funding solutions that are tailored to their specific needs and delivered with great service. We are continually developing our product range and are currently developing new working capital products that will enable us to help a greater range of small and medium-sized businesses in the future. We are also in the process of building out our digital capabilities to allow our customers and broker partners to interact with us through the channels that they prefer, be that offline or online.”

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

Digitalisation strategy

Commerzbank has pledged €700m of investments in digitalisation and IT per year with the aim of digitalising 80% of relevant processes by the end of 2020 – effectively evolving into a digital enterprise. As part of its strategy Commerzbank has become involved with a number of initiatives looking to apply distributed ledger technology (DLT) to the trade finance space. One such initiative is Marco Polo, which aims to enable end-to-end, real-time, seamless connectivity between trade participants in order to eliminate inefficiencies across the supply chain, to provide payment commitments and financing for mitigating risks and optimising working capital flows. And Commerzbank’s involvement in the project led to a successful proof of concept test, which has since allowed the group to begin its pilot phase in 2018.

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Best Receivables Financier

Stenn International

Stenn International Ltd. unlocks working capital for all companies in global supply chains.

Given Stenn International’s innovative products, from trade to receivables finance, as well as their non-bank status, Stenn is able to finance in sectors and geographic regions currently under-served in global trade.

Having extended its capital program for trade finance by $500m in 2018, we’re confident of Stenn’s ability to finance receivables in light of Basel III restrictions on trade finance, the regulatory landscape, and geopolitical challenges between emerging and developed economies.

What were your recent successes?

In 2018 alone, we quadrupled in size. This achievement is twofold:

As we consistently brainstorm innovative ways to fund the $1.5 trillion gap of global trade, we realized we needed extensive expertise. So in 2018, we hired top notch talent to our company. I am incredibly proud of our team: they are my daily happiness. These people are full of experience and fresh ideas of how we can help the global supply chain. We’ve welcomed many experts in our field this past year.

I’m also proud of the expansion of our geographic footprint. By the end of 2018, our portfolio of countries that we work with reached 70 countries. I’m proud that we can allow suppliers and buyers in even more countries to access our solutions. Moving forward, we aim to work with 120 countries, which is 60% of all countries and 90% of the global GDP.

Kerstin C. Braun, President, Stenn International

I am honoured that Stenn was nominated and accepted as the Best Receivables Financier. It puts in perspective that our hard work has truly impacted the global trade community – that we’re making a difference for international companies. Our core goal is to fuel international trade and finance the potential of every company, so I’m happy to see this mission follow through. I appreciate this recognition and feel even more passionate and motivated to bring innovative solutions to more and more beneficiaries.”

What are the biggest challenges that Stenn International faces in relation to trade right now?

“Funding the trade finance gap

As previously mentioned, the trade finance gap is massive: $1.5 trillion. This gap especially impacts countries in emerging markets, where most banks don’t want to finance due to regulations or risk. Our challenge is to continue to find innovative ways to close this gap.

International trade wars

Right now, companies have to deal with the challenge of the trade wars negatively impacting their supply chain. As these disagreements heat up, they’re more cautious to engage in international trade, even with the security of our trade finance platform. Buyers in the supply chain squeeze their suppliers. Sellers demand stricter payment terms, which stifles growth. This environment is challenging due to economic and political uncertainty, but it’s precisely the moment where Stenn can provide the most benefit.”

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Stenn International?

“Look for Stenn to offer additional solutions that cover the whole supply chain and to extend our presence into even more countries. By extending into additional countries and sectors, more and more companies can benefit from access to our flexible financing.”

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

“Our focus is on aligning the supply chain function with a company’s broader strategy. We recognize that funds are useless when they are locked as a receivable or inventory, which causes operational inefficiencies. Our goal is to raise awareness on how companies can create more value and revenue with completely liquid supply chains, which is possible by working with Stenn International.”

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Best Invoice Financier

Bibby Financial Services


Bibby Financial Services helps ambitious SMEs to grow and thrive.

Following a year of macroeconomic uncertainty, we saw Bibby continue to invest in people, processes, infrastructure and CSR. BFS continues to strive for excellent customer service, flexible finance and a personal approach. With relationships at the heart of Bibby, both internally and externally, it’s clear that the turnaround since 2017 has had a positive impact in the last year.

What were your recent successes?

“- To offer additional support to those trading overseas amid the backdrop of Brexit, we extended our Trade Finance proposition to include Invoice Discounting for commercial businesses with turnover of up to £5m.

– In addition, we expanded the product to include prepayments which allows importers to pay overseas suppliers in advance of goods being manufactured and shipped. This move came after we saw a 22% uplift in demand for Trade Finance since the end of 2017.

– In 2018, we saw further integration between our Trade Finance, Export Finance and Foreign Exchange products, enabling us to enhance our support for businesses trading internationally, irrespective of whether they need support with cashflow, working capital, international credit control or managing the impact of currency fluctuations.”

Edward Winterton, UK CEO, Bibby Financial Services

“Amid the backdrop of Brexit, international trade remains an incredible important consideration for UK SMEs in order to unlock new growth opportunities and find supply chain efficiencies. Through our Trade and Export Finance expertise, coupled with our integrated FX solutions, we’re now in a fantastic position to support even more businesses trading overseas, whether they require support with trade finance, working capital or foreign exchange services.”

Paul Fraser, Sales Director – Specialist Products, Bibby Financial Services

“We’re absolutely delighted to be awarded as Best Invoice Financier Award at the International Trade Finance Awards. As a global business supporting more than 10,000 businesses worldwide, this award is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our teams across the world, and our expertise in supporting SMEs trading internationally.”

What are the biggest challenges that Bibby Financial Services faces in relation to trade right now?
  • Economic uncertainty. Data from our SME Confidence Tracker report shows us that confidence amongst UK businesses continued to decline throughout 2018, due – in part – to uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union. While this provides an opportunity for our teams to support businesses trading both internationally and domestically, we are seeing more and more businesses delay investment decisions and recruitment, which will undoubtedly impact the UK economy over the weeks and months ahead.
  • Colleagues are at the heart of everything we do so attracting, retaining and developing leading industry talent is critically important to our success – particularly in relation to our specialist products, such as Trade Finance. In a competitive market-place, this is always a key challenge but both our placement in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For poll, and our continued investment in people help us to overcome this.
What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Bibby Financial Services?

“In 2019 we are launching a flexible pay-as-you-go insurance product for SMEs, enabling them to have closer control over their cover needs. Not only will this development enable us to services the needs of a greater number of businesses, it will also enhance the service we provide to our existing clients.”

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

“Our vision is to be the independent financial services company with which every ambitious business would love to work. To do this, our focus in the short to medium term is to grow our product portfolio, enabling us to build a broader based financial services business to support SMEs across the world.”

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Best Alternative Financier

GapCap

GapCap provides cashflow solutions to growing UK businesses

As a key player for highgrowth SMEs, 2018 was a great year for GapCap, helping finance £250m of invoice finance. We’ve seen GapCap address the customer needs for accessing finance to improve working capital and cashflow, and we have hopes that this will continue into 2019, particularly after the takeover of Invocap’s invoice finance book, a strategic move by Alex Fenton. At Trade Finance Global, we see the importance and necessity of partners, consolidation and leverage, and the bold moves of GapCap stand the company in great stead for a successful 2019

What were your recent successes?

“Per-staff member revenue rose by over 100% in the year, more than doubling our operational efficiency.

We launched 2 new products. Adding Flexible Invoice Discounting, a disruptive alternative to traditional Confidential Invoice Discounting and Supplier Finance, a simpler, digitalised alternative to your traditional and typical trade finance solutions. This turned us into a much more attractive proposition for those looking for end-to-end cashflow support.”

Alex Fenton, Founder & CEO, GapCap

“It is a great honour to be awarded the Best Alternative Financier award. It is a badge of honour for our whole team, who have worked tirelessly to deliver the best service and product for our clients. In such a busy and noisy market as alternative finance, to be recognised as best in class is a real accolade and it is reassuring to know that all the hard work that we put in, is delivering a top class service that helps businesses to grow.”

What are the biggest challenges that GapCap faces in relation to trade right now?

“Brexit is clearly a difficult situation right now. The uncertainty creates a requirement for cash, but also increases the fundamental credit risk of businesses with a reliance on international trade. So, for our business, the challenge is filtering the businesses with sustainable prospects from those that don’t, whilst still taking a balanced view on the risks associated.

Additionally, remaining on Brexit, the opportunities for British businesses to expand the jurisdictions of their imports, making greater use of the emerging markets than they currently can with EU restrictions, is going to see some novel supply chains. In itself, this should see a boost for British innovation, but it also means new risk assessments on the new jurisdictions.”

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at GapCap?

“We are all looking forward to seeing what actually happens with Brexit!

The key priority for GapCap is to embed our multi-product offering in to the market and then be able to scale these products concurrently.”

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

“Delivering more and more dynamic cashflow solutions to UK businesses. Digitalising the delivery of cash in a fast, flexible and easy way whilst managing the risk for our own balance sheet. Learning from our mistakes. Always looking for ways to make it easier for our clients to free up cash in their business. Collaborating.”

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Best Export Credit Agency

UK Export Finance

UKEF provides finance and insurance to help UK businesses sell overseas.

2018 was a remarkable year for UK Export Finance, amidst tough times on the geopolitical front. To assist its mission to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance from the private sector, it increased its direct lending capacity by £2bn, increased its local currency financing offer to over 60 currencies and doubled its appetite in over 100 markets. It also hosted the first Trade & Export Finance Forum, showing its leadership in the sector. Playing a pivotal role in the UK Government’s new Export Strategy, we see UKEF, the world’s first export credit agency, continuing to grow, innovate and support UK exports in 2019 and beyond.

Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade

“I am absolutely delighted that UK Export Finance has been named export credit agency of the year by Trade Finance Global – a fantastic start to its centenary year.

“Since 1919, UKEF has been helping British exporters achieve international success, and this award shows that it continues to be a game-changer for UK businesses. That’s why we’ve put its support is at the heart of the UK Government’s Export Strategy as we work to increase exports to 35% of GDP.”

Louis Taylor, CEO, UK Export Finance (UKEF)

“UK Export Finance (UKEF) marks its centenary in 2019, and I am delighted that we have been named ‘best export credit agency’ by Trade Finance Global. This award recognises the innovation, success and ambition of the UK’s export credit agency as we continue to deliver on our mission – to ensure no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance.”

What were your recent successes?

2018 was another remarkable year for UK Export Finance, with plenty of landmark achievements – which is only fitting, really, as 2019 is the department’s 100th birthday. What better way to conclude our first century than with a year of highs?

In September, UKEF supported the largest deal in its history, a £5bn financial package for contracts worth over £5.5bn for the sale of 24 Typhoon and 9 Hawk aircraft by UK defence companies BAE Systems and MBDA to Qatar. UKEF’s support was vital to ensuring the success of this multi-billion-pound and hugely complex deal, which will sustain thousands of jobs in one of the UK’s key industrial sectors and generate economic growth in the UK.

We have significantly diversified our aviation business in 2018, supporting the sale of Rolls-Royce-powered Boeing aircraft, including to El Al Airlines in August – the first time we’ve worked with the airline. We also financed the sale of nine Airbus A220-300 (formerly Bombardier C Series) to Korean Airlines, supporting Northern Ireland’s economy, and continued to support a programme for US cargo carrier Atlas Air to service GENx engines at GE Caledonian’s site.

As the UK’s export credit agency, the business we support is a reflection of the market-leading capabilities of British businesses. Some of the transactions I’m most proud of demonstrate the positive impact these companies are having on communities around the world – with UKEF support. In November we announced €450 million in support, including direct lending, for UK firms to build three new hospitals and upgrade two electrical substations in Angola.

This is the first time we have supported projects in Angola, which until 2002 was in civil war. The development of vital power provision and healthcare will have a transformative effect on the lives of Angolans, as the country develops its infrastructure and economy. Similarly, in Iraq, UKEF has also played a key role supporting the redevelopment of infrastructure, financing four power projects by GE, Enka and Siemens, which will ensure the supply of reliable electricity for people across the country. 

What are the biggest challenges that UK Export Finance faces in relation to trade right now?

I have to say I prefer to think in terms of opportunities rather than challenges!

I think one area that all export credit agencies need to be alive to is ensuring we continue to be relevant, not just now but into the future as the global finance landscape changes. We need to be able to address new developments, both economic – for example, changes in the international financial landscape – and technological – blockchain, artificial intelligence and a host of other innovations all set to transform how we do our business.

The other challenge is not a new one. Ensuring that smaller companies with high potential get the support they need to grow is always a priority for government, and for these companies a lack of access to finance is often a barrier. That’s why in 2017 we introduced a new partnership with five major banks to deliver UKEF-backed finance directly to smaller companies without the need for a separate application. We also broadened our support beyond exporters, to exporters’ supply chains – we know that supplying to a company that’s trading internationally is a great way of entering a new market, so we want to make it easy for smaller companies to do so.

Linked to this, we’ve also been playing a more active role in connecting smaller UK suppliers to international opportunities, backed by UKEF financing through our programme of procurement-led supplier fair events. For example, just two projects for which we’ve agreed support this year – the Duqm refinery in Oman and a Bapco project in Bahrain – will bring contracts exceeding £1.7 billion to UK suppliers.

I’ve already mentioned that UKEF turns 100 this year; we were established in 1919 as the world’s first export credit agency – at the time, to help boost trade following the submarine blockade of the First World War. We like to think of it this way; we’ve been innovating for 100 years, and will continue to do so to meet the challenges – or realise the opportunities! – of the next 100.

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at UK Export Finance?

For the UK government as a whole, the priority is delivering on the UK’s departure from the EU, and UKEF will continue to play an important role ensuring that we are supporting UK businesses to grow their trade relationships all over the world as the UK establishes itself as an independent trading nation.

To this end, in the Budget in October, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an additional £2 billion in direct lending capacity (on top of our existing £3 billion), available in the two financial years following the UK’s departure from the EU. UKEF’s direct lending facility is recognised as a game-changer, enhancing UK exporters’ attractiveness in emerging markets. We’ve also increased the number of international currencies in which we can provide guarantees to 62, ranging from the Nigerian Naira to the Indonesian Rupiah. By expanding the support available, UKEF is helping businesses take advantage of new international opportunities.

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

“The UK Government’s Export Strategy, launched in August last year, has an ambition of increasing exports as a share of GDP from 30% to 35%. To achieve this, it sets out a number of ways that the Government can help UK businesses succeed abroad, and puts finance – and UKEF – at the heart of that offer of support to exporters. For UKEF, the Export Strategy gives a very clear focus to our work. Our support is already instrumental to international success for many UK exporters, from helping UK companies access overseas opportunities via our innovative supplier fair programme, to improving understanding and uptake of trade finance among UK suppliers to help them realise international sales. Ensuring that we continue to help UK exporters win, fulfil and get paid for overseas sales, and continue to challenge ourselves to do it better, is the clear strategic focus, not just for the next five years but – as we mark our 100th anniversary – for the next 100.”

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Best Islamic Financier

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is the 2nd largest Islamic bank in the UAE providing full-fledged banking services

With the Shariah and Islamic finance sector continuing to show strong year on year growth, and trade finance being a main area of focus, we commend ADIB’s work in this space.

As leaders in project and infrastructure finance, as well as the considerable expansion into other markets outside of GCC, the bank has played a significant role in landmark transactions over the last year, providing Islamic finance solutions to a wide range of trading companies.

As the appetite for Islamic finance grows within and outside of the GCC, we believe that ADIB will have an increasing prominence and capability of facilitating trade and structuring finance globally in 2019.

What were your recent successes?

“2018 was the year of digital transformation of cash and trade business for Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. We launched new platforms within the bank allowing for greater transparency, automation and more efficiency in order to offer a complete suite of trade products and best possible service to our clients

We also launched a number of ground-breaking Sharia compliant trade financing products, and successfully provided such products to our clients. We issued our first Usance Payable At Sight LC, where we paid at sight to the sellers of our steel wholesaler client against a deferred payment LC, hence allowing them to extend the credit period to their buyers without direct effect on their financial strength. We also funded local banks’ trade portfolio through our newly launched FI trade financing product as well as financed export LCs post acceptance for many clients including one of the main copper exporters in the UAE. All of these financing solutions are compliant with Shari’a principles enabling ADIB to support the trade in the country with an additional source of liquidity.”

Haytham Elmaayergi, Global Head of Transaction Banking at ADIB

“We are extremely delighted to win the Best Islamic Financier, it highlights the great work the team has done to transition into a digital Islamic Bank and structure new transactions, and further cements our commitment to simplify and digitize Islamic Financing and delivering this in accordance with the highest possible standards. “

What are the biggest challenges that ADIB faces in relation to trade right now?

“The downturn in the global economy has been felt by Banks across the world, with 2018 being a very challenging year for banks across the UAE.

One of the key challenges for all banks is to keep pace with the ever-evolving customer needs and technological developments. ADIB has put into motion a strategy that addresses the rapidly changing trade environment by coming up with innovative Shari’a compliant transaction banking solutions supported by sophisticated systems and platforms.

Offering the Sharia compliant alternative is also a challenge as International Trade Corporates are accustomed to the norm of Conventional Banking. The learning journey is one key challenge we will face but one we are excited to encounter.”

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at ADIB?

“Our digital transformation continues in 2019, with our Trade platform front and back ends to launch in 2019. Through which, we become one of the first Islamic Banks globally to provide provide end-to-end trade financing online.

Our online platform will go beyond trade, as we launch our FX platform, giving clients real time quotes and live online hedges.

We will also become more streamlined by having industry experts delivering high-end solutions and services to our clients.

Our aim in the medium term to rollout all our offerings and platform across our international footprint, facilitating trade for our clients in key corridors globally”

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

“We will focus on the latest themes that we are seeing across our footprint, by providing Sharia compliant receivable and supply chain financing.

Furthermore, the continuance of our digital transformation and development of structured solutions to meet our clients trade needs.”

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Best Supply Chain Financier

Demica

Demica provide technology and advisory services supporting large scale working capital financing solutions.

Following on from Demica’s significant growth in 2018, and continuous recognition for innovative and agile solutions within the receivables and payables space, Demica is a market leading platform for corporates and financial institutions, a deserving winner of TFG’s ‘Best Supply Chain Financier’.

Last year, we saw IFC select Demica as its “preferred platform provider”, as well as participating in it’s US$25mn second round financing, so we are confident that Demica will continue its geographic outreach and investment into receivables and payables technology.

Demica continues to grow from strength to strength, having introduced new products such as FCIreverse in 2018, which allows FCI’s network of 400 banks and factoring firms access to the platform.

What were your recent successes?

“1. In the past year, Demica grew significantly and our AUA grew 30% sitting now at $11.6bn.

2. We were mandated as white label SCF provider for five new bank platforms

3. Increased our workforce by 30% to support our growing business, and in doing so have grown the immense cultural diversity within Demica”

Maurice Benisty, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Demica

We are honoured to receive this award.  This is a recognition of the hard work our team and the confidence our customers place in awarding their business to Demica.  We take neither for granted.

What are the biggest challenges that Demica faces in relation to trade right now?
  1. “Demica thrives from globalisation, and global companies that operate in multiple regions. Increased trade barriers (regulatory and tariffs) threaten the free flow of goods and services that underpins market growth
  2. Funders are becoming increasingly more domestic in outlook making the placement of cross border transactions more challenging.   Whilst this is a challenge for the industry it represents opportunity for Demica which we address through our multi funder platform.
What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Demica?

During the last few months of 2018, Demica hired representatives across the DACH and Nordic countries along with expanding our offices in New York to represent the Americas. This is driving our deal activity with many opportunities to add value to bank and corporate customers. Medium term priorities include further product development to extend the functionality of our payables, receivables and inventory products.  We have an exciting schedule of releases running through 2019 and beyond.

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

We are seeking to transform the way working capital solutions are delivered to large corporate customers.  Either by working with banks to provide them platform services or directly with corporates to address their complex financing needs we work to unlock capital for reinvestment.

Geographies

Best Finance Providers by Geography

Best Business Finance Provider in Europe

Citi

Citi is a global bank with a mission to responsibly provide financial services that enable growth and economic progress.

Citi are true innovators in global trade finance and working capital solutions. Dominating the market in supply chain finance solutions, TFG commend Citi’s approach to helping businesses be more efficient with working capital.

Just last year, the IFC and Citi extended their trade finance partnership with a US$1.2bn risk-sharing facility to help support trade finance in emerging markets, part of the IFC’s global trade liquidity programme (GTLP).

Citi has been involved with a number of innovative technology solutions, including, Project Wilson, a tech focussed multi-bank, multi-corporate network in trade finance, as well as Komgo SA, a blockchain based platform to digitalise the trade and commodities finance sector.

We were excited to read that 3 of Citi Group’s top strategic priorities in 2019 addressed the macroeconomic and geopolitical outlook which significantly impacts international trade, as well as the ambition to develop an action plan that addresses technological disruption

What were your recent successes?

Citi served as co-debt financial advisor, co-placement agent and sole ECA arranger to Ørsted and Global Infrastructure Partners  on a ca. £3.6bn debt financing package for Hornsea Project One, a greenfield UK offshore wind farm project located in the southern part of the North Sea. Hornsea Project One will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm when commissioned, with a total capacity of 1,218MW and will supply clean energy to more than 1 million UK homes.

Citi is one of the founding shareholders of komgo, a blockchain-based platform that will digitise and streamline trade and commodity finance. The platform is live with its first LC processing functionalities since December 2018 and enables a secure and simplified exchange of data and transaction records.

Citi is one of the founding banks of l Trade Information Network (the “Network”). The Network is a digital trusted trade information registry which allows banks to extend financing to corporates much deeper into the supply chain. Corporates will be able to submit and verify purchase orders and invoices to request trade financing from the banks of their choice. By providing those banks with access to trusted trade information, the Network will help to mitigate the risk of double financing and fraudulent trade information across the industry.

Peadar MacCanna and Murat Demiral, Co-Heads of Trade, EMEA, Citi

We are delighted that Citi has been chosen as the “Best Business Finance Provider in Europe. Helping our clients grow and achieve their strategic objectives is the core tenet of our business and a source of pride for our teams.  We thank Trade Finance Global for recognising Citi with this award.

What are the biggest challenges that Citi faces in relation to trade right now?

Trade finance growth is highly correlated with economic growth and geopolitical and economic uncertainties adversely impact investment decisions and trade.  While this is a challenge that all banks face, we believe that in such an environment our clients value our advice, global reach, and product capabilities even more than usual. We can help them mitigate risks, manage their working capital more efficiently, and help them grow their businesses. Increasingly, we see clients looking for solutions rather than just a product and this trend provides us with opportunities to differentiate ourselves

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Citi?

One of our key priorities in the short and medium term is enhancing client experience. We believe that in 2019 our client’s expectations in respect of service, automation, and innovation will continue to increase.  We want to enhance client experience and reduce turnaround times and more generally help our clients manage their working capital more efficiently. Technology has a key role to play in this journey as our clients demand useful insights and information to help drive their key strategic priorities.

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

We continue to work intensely to serve the needs of our multi geographic clients while focusing on improving client experience, digitising our models, making it more scalable, improving operating efficiency and delivering continuous innovation across our global network.

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Best Business Finance Provider in Africa

African Development Bank

AfDB promotes economic and social development of its regional member countries

AfDB has continued to provide innovative financing solutions around export finance, trade, project, infrastructure facilities and bonds.

At TFG, we were excited to hear that AfDB’s Board approved the institution’s 2019 borrowing program to the tune of US$7.24 billion from capital markets.

As a leading project and development finance facilitator, AfDB’s continued social investments as well as the regular issuance of Green and Social Bonds, has increased AfDB’s impact when promoting sustainable and inclusive growth.

Given that their most recent African Economic Outlook forecasts 4% growth in 2019, we’re confident that AfDB’s conribution in terms of supporting and developing financial governance frameworks and liquidity provision for businesses will help drive this growth across the 54 countries.

What were your recent successes?

“1. USD 4.1 Billion approvals since the inception of the Trade Finance programme in 2013 to date.
2. 44 Trade Finance projects covered since the inception of the Trade Finance programme in 2013 to date.
3. USD 7 Billion of transactions supported since the inception of the Trade Finance programme in 2013 to date.

2018 Achievements;

USD200M Soft Commodity Facility to Export Trading Group (Regional) to finance part of the company’s agricultural Investment Program (IP) in Africa, which will promote employment for youths and women, and adopt an integrated value-chain approach that emphasizes access to regional and global markets.

USD250MRisk Participation Agreement to ABSA Bank Limited (Regional) to enhance ABSA’s ability to underwrite trade finance transactions originating from issuing banks in transition states and low-income countries (LICs) across Africa. 

Mr. Pierre GUISLAIN, Vice Presient – Private Sector Infrastructure & Industrialization, AfDB

“I am greatly honored to receive the International Trade Finance Award 2019 (Best Business Finance Provider in Africa) on behalf of the AfDB.”

I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude to Trade Finance Global for this honor.

I would like to congratulate the AfDB Trade Finance team along with the supporting departments for their commendable efforts in serving the trade finance needs of Africa. Trade is a fundamental driver of economic development and, it is important to ensure that Africa does not miss out on opportunities in key trade markets, due to the unavailability of trade finance.

What are the biggest challenges that AfDb faces in relation to trade right now?
  1. “De- risking – Most African issuing banks are relatively small and face challenges in obtaining adequate trade finance facilities from international confirming banks to support African importers and exporters. De-risking (the idea of international banks reducing their credit risk stake in developing markets or leaving them altogether) has exacerbated this already dire situation especially for Africa’s SMEs.
  2. Fluctuations in Agricultural commodity prices caused by climatical changes, political factors (insecurity), lack of storage facilities and poor infrastructure.
What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at AfDB?

“AfDB is building on its 2013-2022 Ten Year Strategy by focusing on five priorities (The High 5s) that are crucial for accelerating Africa’s economic transformation. The High 5s are:

  • Light up and Power Africa.
  • Feed Africa.
  • Industrialize Africa.
  • Integrate Africa.
  • Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

These focus areas are essential in transforming the lives of the African people and therefore consistent with the United Nations agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

To reduce the value of Bank – intermediated trade finance gap in Africa by reviewing the Bank’s trade finance product suit to focus more on increasing operations targeted at low income countries, African local banks, small and medium enterprises in critical sectors such as agriculture/agribusiness, light manufacturing and intermediate/capital goods in regional member countries.

In the short-term, AfDB  is working towards expanding the scope of the existing trade finance product suite by introducing Direct Guarantees which will  enable the bank to offer direct risk mitigation support on individual transactions, especially in low-income countries. This will help to alleviate the acute shortage of confirmation of trade transactions capacity in poor RMCs.

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Best Business Finance Provider in Asia

Mizuho Bank

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Best Business Finance Provider in North America

J.P. Morgan

J.P. Morgan is a leading global financial services firm.

JPMorgan Chase & Co was the top ranked lender in the North American trade finance market by deal number and total volumes in H1 2018, and jumped up considerably in Euromoney’s 2019 Global Annual Trade Finance Survey.

A historic provider of trade payments, liquidity, and risk management, JP Morgan has been at the forefront of innovation and trade digitisation, as well as helping support trade in difficult to reach markets, (such as through participation with ADB’s Trade Finance Programme).

We’re delighted to award JP Morgan as Best Business Finance Provider in North America, and are confident that small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will be some of the biggest beneficiaries of JP Morgan’s pre-and post-shipment financing programmes in 2019.

What were your recent successes?

J.P. Morgan continues to be at the forefront of innovation and trade digitalization; we launched our new Global Trade Processing platform which includes core robotics and digital data capture capabilities enabling JPM to fully support client’s trade digitization initiatives.

We are committed to support trade in difficult to reach markets. We were selected as “Lead Partner Confirming Bank” by Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the 4th year in a row. We participate in 3 ADB programs and have supported $700 million in Trade flows.

Most importantly, we continue to put our clients first and remain focused on improving client satisfaction. We are providing trade financing to an increasing number of clients and are building deeper relationships.

Pravin Advani, Managing Director & Global Head of Global Trade & Loan Products, J.P. Morgan

“JPMorgan Chase & Co was the top ranked lender in the North American trade finance market by deal number and total volumes in H1 2018, and jumped up considerably in Euromoney’s 2019 Global Annual Trade Finance Survey.

A historic provider of trade payments, liquidity, and risk management, JP Morgan has been at the forefront of innovation and trade digitisation, as well as helping support trade in difficult to reach markets, (such as through participation with ADB’s Trade Finance Programme).

We’re delighted to award JP Morgan as Best Business Finance Provider in North America, and are confident that small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will be some of the biggest beneficiaries of JP Morgan’s pre-and post-shipment financing programmes in 2019.”

What are the biggest challenges that JP Morgan faces in relation to trade right now?

We would look at this from the perspective of our clients who are seeking advice amid this period of uncertainty in both the geopolitical and global financial environment.

As our Chairman & CEO Jamie Dimon has said, J.P. Morgan is not a fair-weathered friend – we continue to invest through the cycle and our scale and strength enable us to help clients navigate in all market conditions.

A key area for us is in technology – our firm-wide technology budget is estimated to be over US$11 billion this year, of which US$5 billion is set aside for new investments. The trade industry is set for disruption in the coming years due to rapidly evolving technology and we are committed to helping our clients succeed in their digitalization journey. As part of this we are building our internal digitalization capabilities, expanding capabilities with existing partners and developing partnerships with new market entrants

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at JP Morgan ?

We will continue to enhance client experience by leveraging new technologies. 

This includes streamlining the supplier on-boarding process for our supply chain finance (SCF) program by providing a self-service online suppliers’ enrolment functionality.  Our SCF system will be modernised, providing not only a new look-and-feel, but more importantly enhanced functionality and increased convenience for our SCF clients. Big data is another area we are focusing on providing enhanced data analytics service.

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Best Business Finance Provider in South America

Bank of America

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is one of the leading global banks in the world. More broadly in regards to this award, Bank of America Merrill Lynch provides treasury management and trade services to corporations and financial institutions across 15 markets in Latin America.

As one of the largest global transaction banks and trade financiers in the world, we’re delighted to award Bank of America ‘Best Business Finance Provider in South America’.

Bank of America continues to invest in technology, with one of the largest investment budgets of any large bank, which is key for enhancing global trade finance solutions and enabling global trade.

What were your recent successes?

Optimize Accounts Payable

BofA Merrill recently launched a full-spectrum accounts payable solution that brings together Supply Chain Finance, Card, and Payments to provide clients a holistic view of their transaction flows. By centralizing spend under a single program umbrella, clients can quickly gain insights they may have otherwise missed, opening up opportunities for them to free up significantly more cash flow, gain greater control over financing and processing costs, and establish stronger relationships across the supply chain.

Supply Chain Finance Roundtables

Being a trusted advisor is part and parcel of delivering exceptional client service. At BofA Merrill, our goal is to not only deliver comprehensive, global Supply Chain Finance solutions, but also ensure our clients get the most out of their programs. In this spirit, we delivered a series of targeted and bespoke Supply Chain Finance Roundtables over the past 12 months, each of which provided an interactive forum for clients, trade finance and working capital specialists to discuss market trends and best practices. These highly curated roundtables enabled BofA Merrill to capture direct voice of the client feedback on the key challenges they face every day, and similarly allowed clients to gain insights and guidance directly from our senior leadership, as well as from each other. Themes covered in these roundtables included:

– An overview of the Supply Chain Finance value proposition, with a focus on working capital optimization
– Cash flow prioritization
– Best practices for implementing and onboarding a successful Supply Chain Finance program
– Accounting treatment, with a focus on debt vs. accounts payable
– Domestic vs. international Supply Chain Finance programs
– How dynamic discounting and virtual cards can complement a Supply Chain Finance program
– Procurement benchmarks and best practices
– How ongoing innovation is impacting Supply Chain Finance, including cybersecurity and technology implications”

Geoff Brady, Managing Director and Head of Global Trade & Supply Chain Finance Global Transaction Services, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

We are delighted to be recognized by Trade Finance Global in one of our key markets.  We see this as validation of a lot of coordinated effort on behalf of our clients and our dedication to the region.  We will continue to focus and invest to deliver the Bank of America Merrill Lynch franchise to our clients in South America and across the globe

What are the biggest challenges that Bank Of America faces in relation to trade right now?
  1. Increased attention to tariffs and free trade agreements: With trade constantly in the headlines, banks have to pay close attention to how clients are reacting when it comes to supply chain management and other considerations.
  2. Disruptive Technologies: Clients are turning to bank-agnostic, centralized solutions/platforms through which they can run their supply chain finance programs. With the emergence of new technologies and vendors in this growing SCF space, banks have to determine how best to react to avoid potential disintermediation.
What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Bank Of America?
  • Strategic Product Focus: a three-pronged structure of the Trade division – traditional trade finance, supply chain finance, and export and agency finance – to create fresh perspectives on how the Bank approaches Trade.
  • Connectivity between Trade and Markets: Establish robust distribution capabilities with capital markets (credit trading, short-term investments, etc.) to support the growth opportunities in both Supply Chain Finance and Export and Agency Finance
  • Leverage the Strength of the Franchise: Deliver best-in-class, value-driven client solutions; communicate the value of the BofAML franchise in each client engagement
What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?
  1. Extend client value by accessing new geographies, new product offerings or new flows – this serves to make BofAML more relevant and adaptable to changing client needs
  2. Digitize while managing risk – trade is so heavily paper-based and capacity driven – every day BofAML processes thousands of pages of documents.  By leveraging artificial intelligence and robotics, there is an opportunity to reduce risk and cost. While our supply chain offering is digital (nearly 100% processed via our CashPro Trade online portal), digitization may prove to be more relevant and beneficial to our traditional trade offering.
  3. Optimize the organization – Create the ability to proactively partner with third-parties to enhance the existing offering with new capabilities

Trade Finance Services

Best Trade Finance Services Category

Best Foreign Exchange Provider

Ebury

Ebury provides cross border transactions, lending and payments.

Ebury is one of the most innovative fintechs in both FX and cross-border trade. As the first ever Fintech to go live with SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi), as well as gaining an impressive number of partnerships under its belt last year (Oracle NetSuite, EBA, Faster Payments and SEPA). Ebury also ranked amongst the Tech Track 100 for the third year running.

At Trade Finance Global, we’ve been impressed with Ebury’s growth and authority as a leading FX firm, and they were ranked among the top forecasters again in Bloomberg’s FX forecast accuracy rankings for the third quarter of 2018.

We are delighted to award Ebury as Best Foreign Exchange Provider for 2019.

What were your recent successes?

“We are the first Fintech ever to use SWIFT gpi, which gives our clients access to payments credited within 30 minutes (many within seconds), total transparency of fees for transactions and end-to-end payment tracking.

In partnership with Form3, we are the first non-bank to go live as a direct participant of the Faster Payment scheme, which required approval from the Bank of England. We are able to collect GBP domestically 24/7 almost instantaneously and provide our clients with their own named account.

In Q4 2018 we were the number one EUR/USD Bloomberg forecaster, and came second for the entire Latin American region out of 63 participants – including all of the world’s major commercial and investment banks

Paolo Giabardo, Managing Director UK, Ebury

“We are very pleased to win the award for Best Foreign Exchange Provider from Trade Finance Global. In a heavily saturated market, it takes a lot to stand out, and I am happy that the work done by Ebury’s exceptional team has been recognised.”

What are the biggest challenges that Ebury faces in relation to trade right now?

We work with businesses to fuel international growth, so we aim to be present in as many countries as possible. By opening satellite offices to provide on-the-ground support, we have improved the service that we can offer our clients. While it does raise several challenges in terms of making sure we comply with local regulations, our global compliance team makes sure all regulations are followed to the letter

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Ebury?

“In 2019 we will continue our geographical expansion. Our focus will be on developing our North American, Asian and Australasian ‘hub’ offices, while maintaining our presence in our already established markets.

“Our main priority has been, and will always be, to provide a high-quality service. We do this by constantly talking to our clients in order to gather feedback—which means 2019 will mark several exciting product improvements and releases.”

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

As we were the first Fintech to be included in the Faster Payments network and to pioneer SWIFT gpi, we aim to be the first non-bank to provide full end-to-end correspondent transactional services to corporates. By 2024, we aim to be the go-to partner for all SMEs that transact across borders.

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Best Trade Credit Insurance Firm

Euler Hermes

Euler Hermes insures buyers from companies so they can trade with confidence.

Euler Hermes are leaders in trade credit insurance. With around 6000 risk experts present in 60+ countries they insure around USD900bn of global trade, we commend Euler Hermes’s position as an industry leader in the space.

2018 has certainly seen an increasing shift towards the use of credit insurance in trade finance, and we’ve enjoyed hearing about Euler Hermes (and Euler Hermes Digital Agency) looking into the Insuretech opportunities within the trade arena.

What were your recent successes?

– In 2018 Euler Hermes fully integrated into the Allianz Group in a move that recognised the robustness of our business model and expertise in the field of trade credit insurance. It marks a new chapter in our history that will see us embark on a programme of digital transformation where we will grow our IT capabilities, define new areas for growth and embrace different opportunities and ways of working. This will significantly broaden and improve the levels of service and cover we are able to offer our customers
– We also launched a new method of finance support for exporting SMEs in Credable. Trialled in Sweden, this offers invoice insurance for SMEs based on traditional trade credit insurance. It now provides cover for Swedish SMEs in 24 European countries and represents another step in the Group’s digital transformation
– A partnership with C2FO, a dynamic discounting marketplace, was also established following its $30m investment by Allianz. C2FO allows suppliers to benefit from discounts on their trade credit insurance in exchange for early payment on-demand, helping optimise cash flows.

Milo Bogaerts, CEO Euler Hermes UK and Ireland, Euler Hermes

“Being recognised as trade credit insurance firm of the year is an incredible achievement and testament to the hard work and confidence to be bold in their approach of everyone at Euler Hermes. We’re looking forward to building on this achievement over the coming year to ensure we’re constantly leading the way in customer service, innovation and transformation in trade credit insurance.”

What are the biggest challenges that Euler Hermes faces in relation to trade right now?
  • The prospect of protectionism, illustrated by Brexit and the trade dispute between the US and China, is a major challenge for the Group and our customers.
  • Our latest forecasts show a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario would lead to a 20 per cent uptick in insolvencies in 2019, as resilience in the economy begins to fade
  • Even without Brexit insolvencies in the UK are going up by 9% following 10% uptick in 2018.
  • We also anticipate global trade growth could halve by 2020 should US tariffs on Chinese goods reach 25 per cent
  • A trade war situation, which would involve tariffs being placed on $500bn worth of Chinese goods, would lead to a six-percentage point cut in global trade and 1.5 percentage point cut in global GDP growth
What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Euler Hermes?
  • A constantly changing, increasingly-digitalised business landscape offers both opportunities and challenges in the medium to long-term
  • Being bold is key to tackling these head-on and ensuring our offering to clients continues to meet their needs
  • We will do this by:
    • Upskilling and training our employees for the digital era
    • Embracing emerging technologies such as AI
    • Delivering on IT transformation to meet our clients’ changing needs
    • Expanding to better support SMEs to help unlock further growth
What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?
  • Safeguarding businesses against global economic headwinds by providing them with the confidence to trade freely through our insurance offering
  • A digital transformation strategy that will grow our IT capabilities to broaden and improve our offering to clients
  • Boldness in our approach to be able to implement these efficiently

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Best Trade Finance Recruitment Company

Johnson Associates

Specialise in the recruitment of Trade Finance Professionals.

Trade is a force for good, but requires considerable talent and skills. At Trade Finance Global, we know we need to address the increasing trade skills gap. Johnson Associates continues to help place candidates within a wide array of trade finance roles at leading institutions.

We are delighted to award Best Trade Finance Recruitment Company to Johnson Associates, commending CEO Rob Johnson for his continued dedication, and contribution to the sector.

What were your recent successes?

2018 is our most profitable year to date. Placements have increased by 8% on 2017 whilst supporting an increased number of clients. Continued to secure life/career changing roles for many Trade Finance candidates working in London. Winning the Trade Finance Global awards for the 3rd year running.

Rob Johnson, MD, Johnson Associates

” Personally I have recruited into Trade Finance for 15 years and we have won this award for the past 3 years, since the inception of Johnson Associates. It is a great acknowledgement of all the efforts and hard work my team and I go to, year on year, to offer an unparalleled service to both our clients and candidates. I’m very proud to receive the award on behalf of Johnson Associates, and look forward to the year ahead”

What are the biggest challenges that Johnson Associates faces in relation to trade right now?

For certain London based opportunities we seek candidates across Europe, and further afield, with particular skill sets to relocate to London. If Brexit is successful, without the free movement of labour, this could cause significant issues with banks and other financial service companies not being able to secure professionals with particular skills.

Currently Banks, Commodity houses and other financial service companies continue to recruit, what this will look like once Brexit is complete is unknown, and could be a concern for the industry. I do however predict that as Trade Finance is such a deep rooted product within London that it will remain business as usual

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Johnson Associates?

Fundamentally very little will change moving forward. We have a successful business model and are working with prestigious organisations and talented professionals. As long as the business continues to adapt to the market at key times, then we hope the success will continue. It will be interesting to see the impact of Brexit and the staff we support moving from Europe to the UK, especially those that bring essential Language skill. Europeans are currently sceptical over moving to the UK and until Brexit is complete, these individuals are unlikely to relocate. Therefore we will have to take a strategic focus on sourcing these specific skills within the UK when we analyse the impact of Brexit

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Best Trade Finance Deal of the Year

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy is an international law firm providing services for global business.

The ‘Best Trade Finance Deal of the Year’ goes to Allen & Overy’s ‘Noble Group restructuring deal’, where A&O advised ING on a $3.5bn USD debt restructuring and $700m of new trade and hedging facilities. The transaction was spread across multiple jurisdictions with considerable complexity.

Allen & Overy advised ING Bank N.V. (ING) in relation to its involvement in the financial restructuring of the global commodities trader, Noble Group Ltd (Noble). Noble manages a portfolio of global supply chains across a range of industrial and energy products and markets, processes, finances and transports key commodities. Due to the very wide range of creditors involved and the global scale of Noble’s business, the restructuring has been described as one of the most complex restructurings ever completed in Asia. Read more about this deal here.

A&O have certainly cemented themselves as a top adviser on new-to-market, complex transactions in the trade space. They have worked across challenging jurisdictions, to complete a wide range of commodity finance transactions, many of which are first of their kind.

What were your recent successes?

We are proud to be consistently recognised as the leading legal adviser to the trade & commodity finance industry. Last year we were awarded trade finance law firm of the year by Euromoney, Global Trade Review and TXF and were involved in a number of innovative transactions, including the Naftogaz/World Bank structured trade finance transaction which was recognised at the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards.

David Campbell, Partner, Allen & Overy

We are very proud to be involved in this transaction and would like to congratulate ING, Deutsche Bank and the other advisers for this award.  We also congratulate Noble for completing this complex and difficult restructuring, and wish the company all the best as it moves forward.

The new facilities we helped put in place for Noble show the flexibility of the trade finance product: a company in distress was supported to continue trading throughout a period of uncertainty, and the post-restructuring committed facilities give the group a solid and reliable foundation on which to rebuild its business.  One innovative feature of these facilities was to separate credit risk from operational trade finance.  This means that a wider pool of capital providers can participate in the risk and reward of trade finance, while the operational aspects are dealt with by specialist trade finance banks which have the staff and expertise to handle the regular flow of trades.  In combining the expertise of its restructuring and trade finance teams, A&O has once again shown its ability to marshal different legal disciplines to deliver a seamless service for our clients.”

What are the biggest challenges that Allen & Overy faces in relation to trade right now?

Two of the challenges facing our international trade clients right now which we are helping them with are:

Application of Technology in trade advances

Over the last year the market has seen major banks and traders start to experiment with blockchain and distributed ledger-based technology.  Whether these technologies are able to move the commodity business forward from paper-based physical trades will depend on a number of factors, but one key determiner will be the level of support from legislators and regulators, which can vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Success means critical mass and will require wholesale adoption by the range of industry players. The challenge from a legal perspective is establishing a predictable legal framework around this new and fast-developing way of doing business.

Regulatory landscape & sanctions

The current geopolitical climate and increased enforcement risk means that regulation of trade and sanctions are hope topics for our clients at the moment. This is an evolving subject and we are seeing changes in sanctions provisions in financing documentation in response to the macro environmental developments.

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Allen & Overy?
  • Increasing optimism in trade finance
  • New players entering the market
  • Market participants being more ambitious and creative in their use of trade finance
What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

To help our clients across the commodities sector to develop innovative solutions which enable them to achieve their ambitious objectives wherever they are in the world.

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Best Trade Finance Law Firm

Sullivan & Worcester

Sullivan & Worcester’s market-leading Trade & Export Finance Group advises clients on trade finance transactions in a wide range of jurisdictions, with a particular emphasis on emerging markets.

Sullivan & Worcester remains active at the forefront of trade finance from a legal perspective, in an ever changing marketplace. We commend S&W’s hands on approach to regulatory, geopolitical and macroeconomic events, and 2018 was certainly a turbulent ride for trade, treasury and risk markets. In particular, we applaud  Geoffrey Wynne’s approach to cutting through complexity on topics such as Basel iii (and iv), unfunded credit risk mitigation (CRM) through the PRA paper and EBA responses.

What were your recent successes?

1. In 2018, the team maintained an exceptional workload in terms of geography, the range of commodities and the number and quality of transactions in relation to Trade, Commodity and Export Finance.

2. In 2018, work included advising national and international banks, finance houses and investment funds on the structuring and documentation of various trade finance and letter of credit facilities, pre-export, pre-shipment and warehouse financings and various receivable purchase programmes across the emerging markets.

3. The team advised BAFT on its updated English law Master Participation Agreement (MPA) and associated usage guidelines. The MPA, drafted more than 10 years ago and updated for the first time this year, serves as the industry standard for secondary market transactions to facilitate the buying and selling of trade finance-related assets globally.

Geoffrey Wynne, Partner, Head of the Trade & Export Finance Group and Sullivan & Worcester’s London office.

“We are pleased to be recognised with the Best Trade Finance Law Firm Award by Trade Finance Global. Our commitment to this sector and supporting clients at a time of significant change in the market is unwavering and we look forward to 2019 and beyond to help expand the work we are doing.”

What are the biggest challenges that Sullivan & Worcester faces in relation to trade right now?
  • Trade Wars especially between the US and China – Trade volumes play a key role in the size of the market and the volume of transactions that can be done.   Trade wars potentially reduce the level of trade and, whilst it might give rise to other opportunities, there is bound to be a reluctance to finance a trade where restrictions can suddenly be imposed.
  • Political turmoil and the imposition of sanctions – The advantage of trade finance is that it reflects actual transactions and the need to finance them.  However, where the trade is between two countries that are having political tensions or indeed actual, or potential, military action, there is less appetite to finance.  That would reduce the potential number of transactions.  The imposition of sanctions or the potential for that to happen will again reduce, or sometimes eliminate, trade finance transactions. Indeed, in many cases the purpose of a sanction is to do just that.  Sanctions are increasingly used for political ends so that inevitably exposes financers to high risks of fines.  That makes the financer less likely to finance trade in these circumstances.
  • Regulatory treatment of trade – Financial regulations fail to reward financers in their conduct of well-structured trade finance transactions.  This makes it potentially too capital intensive for banks who are likely to do less trade finance.  This is the case even where the potential for trade finance is growing if trade increases.  This leaves a large financing gap.  The gap cannot be filled by funds and non bank financers.  The upshot is potentially less trade finance overall
What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Sullivan & Worcester?
  • Growth of smaller but more numerous well-structured trade transactions and the use of fintech platforms – Even with political turmoil and other risks there will still be trade finance transactions.  Many will go back to old structures and will need good legal expertise and knowledge to deliver those transactions.  Sullivan & Worcester is well placed to do this as it is a specialised firm with quality lawyers.  The firm is well able to use its expertise to assist in new products such as electronic trade finance platforms and the increasing use of digital trade.
  • Priorities for the firm – The firm must continue to provide good quality work at the right price and delivered in the correct timeframe.  Obtaining work by example and then word of mouth, coupled with providing useful advice to the market as a whole should place the firm in a strong position to continue to win work.  Going forward, the firm should continue to be the firm of choice for clients in the trade finance space.  That means continuing to provide leadership in key areas of trade finance.  In the medium term the firm
What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

Sullivan & Worcester’s Trade & Export Finance Group will continue to support its clients internationally in their trade finance requirements while helping to work for better treatment for trade and export finance by governments and regulators internationally, to help maintain the movement of goods and commodities to ensure the whole chain from farmer to consumer is as efficient and effective as it can be, worldwide.

Technology & Innovation

Best Technology Innovators in Trade Finance

Innovator in Global Trade

ICC Banking Commission

ICC Banking Commission is the world’s essential rule-making body for the banking industry

In 2018 the ICC Banking Commission saw geopolitical shifts and macroeconomic instability within the international community. For the ICC Banking Commission, it was a year of bringing countries together at times of uncertainty, innovating within global trade, and championing international cooperation, which is why TFG are proud to name the ICC Banking Commission ‘Innovator in Global Trade’. The ICC Banking Commission will continue working on digitization of global trade finance and is looking ahead to another exciting year in global trade finance.

What were your recent successes?

Thanks to its members, the ICC Banking Commission stands strong and relevant today. This is ever more important against the backdrop of a shifting industry landscape, disrupted by digitisation opportunities and trade policy challenges – both topics we frequently address as an organization in 2018

– Advancement on work on digitization, notably new rules (eUCP & eURC)
– Clarification on legal value of electronic documents (Report on “The Legal Status of E-bills of Lading” released in Oct 2018)

David Bischof, Deputy Director, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Banking Commission

The ICC Banking Commission is committed to responding to the growing changes and challenges faced across the trade finance industry. We are extremely proud to be awarded Innovator in Global Trade and will continue our efforts in identifying and supporting innovation in trade finance with both organizational thought leadership and ultimately standardisation and rules.

What are the biggest challenges that ICC Banking Commission faces in relation to trade right now?
  1. Studies by the ICC Banking Commission and the Asian Development Bank consistently show large global market gaps for trade finance in the range of USD1.6 trillion per year globally, with SMEs and developing economies most adversely impacted. This gap will impede our ability to achieve the SDGs and therefore needs to be reduced significantly.
  2. It is important we ensure terrorists and criminals are not able to use the financial system to further their goals. Financial institutions (FIs) have significantly increased vigilance on this front and must continue to be steadfast in their implementation of Know Your Customer (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) measures. That said, regulation requiring adequate measures on AML, KYC and CFT and the consequences in case of non-compliance are inconsistent between jurisdictions and lack clarity in some cases. In response, FATF and FSB have published guidance clarifying how these requirements should be implemented. Not all national regulators have followed the guidance, and in some instances, even when senior regulators intend to follow the guidance, industry reports that on-the-ground examiners can impose more stringent requirements that trigger unintended consequences.  A lack of harmonization and consistency has led to confusion, risk, and unnecessary additional costs for banks looking to support trade, particularly among SMEs and in emerging markets.
What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at ICC Banking Commission?
  • ICC’s 100th year anniversary will be celebrated at the ICC Banking Commission Annual Meeting in China (April) and throughout the year
  • Report on global risks in trade finance with inclusion of new products (e.g. supply chain finance) will be released in Q1
  • Adoption of new rules and standards for the digitisation of trade finance
  • The growth of digital processes – including blockchain, straight-through processing, big data, and artificial intelligence– is driving the shift to paperless trade => ICC will support the industry to achieve this goal
What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

“Safety, Stability, Growth” – Maintain and build frameworks and rules which enable financial institutions to most effectively support global trade flows.

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Best Shipping company

A. P. Moller – Maersk

Maersk is an integrated container logistics company with a vision of connecting and simplifying our customers’ supply chain.

Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipper, has fully pioneered its trade finance offering to both customers and customers’ suppliers since its inception in 2017, seeking to fill a lending gap left by indebted banks pulling out of the crisis-hit shipping industry.

Following on from this success, Maersk recently expanded its trade finance offering to include customs brokerage, to facilitate communication between government authorities and the importers and exporters.

On the blockchain and DLT front, we saw the impressive joint development of Tradelens, by Maersk and IBM, which had some 90+ signed-up participants last year.

We commend Maersk’s approach to innovative finance solutions to its customers, extending credit facilities to numerous providers and cross-selling beyond its core offering.

What were your recent successes?

“Throughout 2018 Maersk reached several successful milestones such as successfully completing the separation of its energy businesses, integrating Hamburg Süd as well as being the first container shipping company to launch instant booking confirmation. These steps are further contributing to Maersk’s vision of becoming a global integrator of container logistics  offering seamless, flexible and scalable services to customers across their global supply chain.

“Digital technologies have allowed us to significantly enhance our customer experience. Examples of new services launched in 2018: online booking, Twill digital freight forwarder, TradeLens – our blockchain fueled digital platform for global trade etc.

Vipul Sardana, Global Head of Maersk Trade Finance, A.P. Moller -Maersk

“It is an honour to be recognized at the International trade finance awards for all the benefits that Maersk Trade Finance brings to global trade. It is a recognition from the industry that we are on the right track and are continuously re-inventing ourselves to build a purpose-driven organization.”

“Access to capital, remains to be one of the largest obstacles to the growth of trade and there is still a lot that needs to be done. With Maersk Trade Finance we are helping SMEs with finance when they need it the most and thus enabling them better access to global trade. We thank the panel for their consideration and reinforce our commitment on staying the course.”

What are the biggest challenges that A.P. Moller – Maersk faces in relation to trade right now?

“Maersk’s concern goes beyond the so-called trade wars. Global trade is losing momentum not only due to US – China tariffs but the gradual slowdown in global macroeconomics and global export orders.

  • In 2019, we expect the current trade war may reduce growth in containerized trade by around 2% (mostly in the first half of 2019).
  • Benefits of trade has been largely proven. Nevertheless, while the benefits of trade are general and easily identified at the economy level, the dis-benefits of trade tend to be local or regional. Governments must implement policies that make sure that the benefits of trade are distributed among a larger pool of people
  • The industry/Maersk takes responsibility by making global trade less complex, faster, cheaper and accessible for as many actors as possible.
  • Digitalization is the key: TradeLens, Trade Finance, etc.
What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at A.P. Moller – Maersk?

Our main priority for 2019 is to keep simplifying, connecting and transforming the container logistics industry. By uniting the best innovation, from sea to land and having a strong foundation in digital, we aim to allow our customers greater access to global trade and growth regardless of their location and size.

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

In line with our overall ambition, Maersk Trade Finance would continue to focus on working with our customers to further make trade finance accessible especially our SME customers while looking at growing our business geographically. We will do this with a relentless focus on simplification and easy access to capital with a clear purpose of enabling global trade.

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Best Treasury Management Platform

Kyriba

Kyriba empowers financial leaders to reduce risk and optimize liquidity.

As a world leading provider of cloud treasury and financial management solutions, Kyriba demonstrated a 70% year on year increase in sales in the first quarter of 2018, and that was just the start. With expansion into new markets, a whole host of enterprise level corporates newly onboarded and $100mn of revenue predicted for 2018, TFG has certainly been watching Kyriba’s explosion as a fast growing, award winning company.

In today’s complex business environment, financial executives, CFOs and treasurers need real time, accurate information at their fingertips in order to make quick decisions and succeed. The continued investment in people, partners and product are certainly helping Kyriba achieve this and capitalise on such opportunities.

What were your recent successes?

We achieved a category leader position from IDC in treasury and risk management, we were recognized by CB Insights as a FinTech 250-among the world’s most influential FinTech solutions, and The SaaS Report recognized Jean-Luc Robert, Chairman and CEO, Kyriba, among the Top 50 CEOs in SaaS. He placed #6!

We invested heavily in our European offices, expanded our leadership teams, and added more new new clients than in the past year. In fact, 2018 was a record year for growth in Europe.

We innovated two key strategic solutions, including Lease Accounting for IFRS 16 and Business Intelligence to deliver better data visualization so financial directors can better understand how to protect and mobilize their assets to accelerate growth at their organization.

Jean-Luc Robert, Chairman and CEO, Kyriba

“We are thrilled to be recognized as the Best Treasury Management Platform,” said Jean-Luc Robert, CEO and Chairman. “We are committed to building-out our industry-leading platform, and to expanding the value we bring to our growing list of customers.”

What are the biggest challenges that Kyriba faces in relation to trade right now?

This is a great question. When we look at international trade, the biggest issue is access to cash and limiting exposures to where FX losses can be massive. Our working capital management solution is positioned to solve the working capital crisis as a stand alone solution it is offers a way for companies to ensure their supply chains are robust without exposing an impact to their working capital, and in combination with our TMS, we deliver a true liquidity performance solution for CFOs who are looking to optimize the full lifecycle of cash. Also, to mitigate risk, we recently partnered with WorldFirst and acquired FiREapps. With our award winning cloud treasury and risk management solution, we have even further enhanced our ability to help Finance Directors protect against currency risk.

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Kyriba?

We see 2019 as a major year for innovation in APIs, robots and more secure and faster payments.

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

Kyriba is delivering more solutions to the market to stay ahead of the challenges in cross-border payments, reducing risk and maintaining secure solutions.

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Best Trade Finance Software Provider

HPD LendScape

HPD provide the LendScape working capital finance IT platform.

HPD continues to expand and grow internationally, in times of volatility and uncertainty. HPD’s expansion has helped facilitate trade and working capital finance through its software products for SMEs around the world, helping finance providers deal with the nuances of invoice finance for their customers. With over 50 thousand business being funded via the HPD LendScape platform and having won the 2018 Queen’s Award for Enterprise, we look forward to hearing more good news from HPD LendScape in 2019.

What were your recent successes?

“Winner of the International Trade category in the 2018 Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Winner of the Technology Solution Provider of the Year – Vendor award at the 2018 BCR’s RFIx – Receivables Finance International Awards.

Danske Bank vendor Award nomination 2018 – Best Initiative to improve Danske Bank customer experience.”

Kevin Day, CEO, HPD LendScape

“We are honoured to receive the Best Trade Finance Software Provider award and I’m extremely proud of what our company has achieved.”

What are the biggest challenges that HPD faces in relation to trade right now?

“Economic stability is a potential barrier to the appetite for financial institutions to invest. With BREXIT looming there is a cloud of uncertainty that is detrimental to economic growth. Having said that, there are exciting innovations in the area of digitalization of trade which looks to bring some real benefits. The consortium working on BlockChain and Distributed Ledger Technology have awakened an era of collaboration. The challenge we face is that there are no globally accepted standards at present, which will hamper adoption and force organisations to try and pick the platform they feel most likely to become dominant. ”

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at HPD?

“Being a technology company, we are always excited by technology trends or factors that disrupt the status quo. We believe the Open Bank initiatives will provide some interesting, quick benefits to corporate customers. We will be showcasing some initiatives at our LendScape conference in London on the 25th April. Longer term, we are closely monitoring the adoption of BlockChain/DLT to ensure we are best placed to leverage of this technology as it matures.”.

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

“We are very focused on growing our portfolio of clients around the world. We are constantly investing in our LendScape platform to ensure it continues to lead the market and respond to our customers ever changing needs. As we grow our business, we are focused on bringing in new talent so we constantly have the right blend excellent technology and bright, dynamic people.”

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Best Trade Technology Company

Export Enterprises

Helping Banks Grow Beyond Banking

At TFG, we believe that accurate and reliable market data is a force for good. The software and content that is provided by Export Enterprises has helped facilitate millions of important decisions for both trade financiers and businesses looking to trade cross-border. The 190 country profiles featured on Export Enterprises have rich content and market information on import-export flows, best countries for exporting /importing, 25,000 Market reports and related alerts, international tenders and related alerts and 12,000 trade shows. As a B2B technology data provider in the international trade space, we commend Export Enterprises for their continued work in this space.

What were your recent successes?

1. We developed a matchmaking algorithm that finds the best matches for any company inside a community
2. RBC Global Connect, a complete resource for international trade companies from Canada: trade knowledge resources and a community interconnected with dozens of other countries
3. The RM Dashboard: an interface for Relationship Managers to onboard their clients in non-financial tools, suggest opportunities, monitor usage, etc

Etienne Vauchez, CEO, Export Enterprises

EE is very happy to be awarded this Prize. We work hard every day to deliver state of the art software solutions and content to satisfy our clients’ needs. This prize is an encouragement for us to work harder and develop innovative solutions to help banks go beyond traditional Trade Finance solutions. 

What are the biggest challenges that Export Enterprises faces in relation to trade right now?

Our biggest challenge is that shifting banks towards Non Financial Services varies enormously from bank to bank. Some have already embraced it and want to move very quickly ahead, while others are still questioning this route as a new way to develop their business. Compliance issues are also a challenge, as they tend to make some projects more complex to implement.

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at Export Enterprises?

We are really looking forward to new deployments in 2019, including the expansion of the Trade Club Alliance in Asia and Africa, as well the launch of a new business model around our International Trade Portal that will allow smaller banks and organisations to grant their customers/members access to our library of over 100,000 trade resources.

In additional we will be expanding the Trade Club to include new trade corridors, including the Islamic Bank Corridor enabling sharia compliant companies to trade in a safe and secure environment of fellow sharia complaint companies.

Finally, we will also see the launch of the Opportunity Hub, a marketplace of curated business opportunities posted by companies for other companies to meet their needs and grow their businesses.

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

Our goal is to become the company of reference for banks who want to offer exciting business experiences to their business clients. These include international trade content and resources for global companies to enter new markets and matchmaking solutions that find trade counterparts inside the bank’s client basis or even among the clients of the bank’s partner banks.etc.

Algorithms and APIs are also on the agenda, creating the possibility to deliver our solutions directly inside the platforms already developed by the banks

Education and Publishers

Best Trade Content and Publishing Category

Best Trade Finance Education Provider

Institute of Export & International Trade

World-class training, qualifications, and abundant trade resources for UK exporters.

The Institute of Export & International Trade continues to lead the way for international trade finance and enhancing export performance, whilst setting and maintaining professional standards. As a champion of cross-border trade, IOEIT had a fantastic 2018 with highly attended summits and forums, the introduction of many new courses and strategic partnerships with other leading organisations in trade.

IOEIT were officially recognised as ‘Small Business Champions’ by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in 2018, which we highly commend.

Following a year of geopolitical and macroeconomic challenges, the IOEIT continues to be at the forefront of export promotion and education and we believe that 2019 will be another strong year for the institute.

What were your recent successes?

– Our partnership with UKEF on the ‘Award in Trade Finance’ qualification, which all UKEF, FCO and DIT staff now take to ensure a thorough product knowledge, has been greatly received. It creates an understanding of how UKEF’s financial products fit within a commercial setting in all sizes of business. Once this is completed, staff can move on to a Level 5 Diploma in International Trade which ensures they understand the fuller context of international trade when advising companies on key international business tasks like international physical distribution, international marketing strategy, and of course the financing of international trade. We provide all this training in such a way that ties in effectively with UKEF’s core offerings and services.

– We were named a ‘Small Business Champion’ by the World Trade Organisation and the International Chamber of Commerce after running the first ‘Open to Export International Business Awards’ in Geneva. This competition saw SMEs from 74 countries using our online planning tool on Open to Export, enabling businesses from all over the world to enter international trade for the first time.

– We ran a successful project in Saudi Arabia, training the Saudi Export Development Authority in best practice in international trade. They selected us after their research into the world’s leading trade training institutions resulted in ourselves being their highest rated body, alongside FITT in Canada who we ourselves set up!

Lesley Batchelor OBE, Director General, Institute of Export & International Trade

“We are delighted to be recognised with this Trade Finance Education Provider Award from Trade Finance Global. It is a great recognition of the impact of our partnership with UK Export Finance on the Award in Trade Finance qualification – a qualification that is now being taken by all trade finance advisers in UKEF, DIT and the FCO.

“We hope this is just the start, as we look to partner with more banks and trade finance organisations on our qualifications, ensuring that the export advice they give is thorough and well-rounded”

What are the biggest challenges that Institute of Export & International Trade faces in relation to trade right now?

Businesses continue to put their head in the sand over Brexit. Our message is that it’s never too early to start preparing; businesses can act now to ensure they’re ready for whatever Brexit brings.
Further, exporting is easy – but only when you know how. It’s great that more businesses are looking to international trade for their future growth prospects and our challenge is to make sure they learn how to do it properly through our training, qualifications, and our membership services – including our Technical Helpline.

What should we be looking forward to in 2019?

We are continuing to work with UKEF, DIT and FCO in training their staff through our Award in Trade Finance’ qualification – a key contribution towards ensuring government is helping businesses in as an effective a way as possible. We are looking to offer this more widely to more trade finance and banking institutions.

The Institute is ramping up its training offering to businesses to help them to prepare for Brexit. Many of our courses around customs procedures are fundable by new government grants and we are also training many of the employees at HMRC who will be on the frontline of dealing with the UK’s departure from the EU.

We are expanding our training and consultancy services to include AEO and further Brexit support, as well as providing a new ‘Customs Pathway’ through our courses towards a ‘Customs Practitioner Award’.

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

To ensure that we’re doing our bit to prepare businesses for the changes ahead in the global trade landscape bought about by Brexit, Trade Wars and technological innovations.

Our partnerships with UKEF, DIT and the FCO, training their advisers to give the best support and advice possible, is a fundamental part of this. The more we can partner with trade finance and export support organisations, the more we can play our role of ensuring businesses are getting proper advice, backed by our accredited learning programmes.

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Best Trade Finance Publisher

TXF

TXF provide the export, trade and commodity finance communities with high-quality news, data, events and awards.

TXF continues to provide in-depth news, top quality publications and excellent thought leadership for the trade and commodity finance community. Through it’s events, awards and publication, TXF have driven debate, provoked thought, and brought together the entire trade and commodity finance community in 2018, with more conferences, articles and events than the previous year.

What were your recent successes?

– Launching our FIT (Financing International Trade) Zone, which is designed to actively involve more short-term trade finance practitioners in news, events and forums.
– Revamping our whole news offering and website. We now provide two daily newsletters – one on trade and commodity finance, one on export and project finance and a weekly on trade finance as well as the weekly blog.
– Hosting the largest conference in the world focused on export finance and hosting the largest conference in the world focused on commodity finance.

Jonathan Bell, Director and Editor-in-Chief, TXF

“TXF is absolutely delighted to have won this Best Trade Finance Publisher award as it comes on the back of a really concerted effort from all the workers in our company to strive for excellence. We are the only company of our kind providing news, data and events across the whole range of trade finance, and it is great to be recognised for our efforts. Thank you so much.”

What are the biggest challenges that TXF faces in relation to trade right now?

“The slowdown in the growth of global trade which is having a snowball impact on deal pipelines in all areas of trade from supply chains through to projects. This is largely being caused by Trump-generated trade wars through to sanctions and market uncertainty from political strife leading to a drop in foreign direct investments.

The adverse impact of regulatory and compliance through all aspects of trade. This has severely impacted bankers, banks and the ability to go ahead with new clients and transactions.”

What should we be looking forward to in 2019 at TXF?

“We should be looking forward to more sensible and pragmatic politicians taking the initiative, which will hopefully lead to a more stable demand, business and overall trade climate. We should look to an end to divisive trade wars, and a more outward and cooperative focus for trade.

For TXF we will look to consolidate our positions with our core conferences. We will look to generate more online additions for our clients with podcasts and webinars. And, we will look to expand our project finance offering backing up our already strong trade, commodities and export finance offerings.

Finally, we are launching shortly a new brand called Proximo focusing solely on Project Finance.”

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

“We started as a very small company less than 6 years ago and we have organically grown to a global leader in our sector today.

We will seek to build-out our offering further so that we can grow further across our core sectors and be recognised as such as a centre of excellence for trade, commodities, export and project finance news, data and events.”

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Best Trade Editor (Individual)

Shannon Manders

Shannon Manders, Editorial Director at GTR, is a remarkable journalist, editor and networker with vast industry knowledge. In 2018, Shannon and her editorial team continued to cut through the complexity of international trade and highlight the key industry trends and changes. As an inspirational woman in the international trade community, her work in driving the GTR Women in Trade Finance initiative, and her role as an advisor for the British Exporters Association (BExA), we look forward to Shannon going from strength to strength in 2019.

What were your recent successes?

“From the perspective of the editorial team:

We continued to see growth in online news readers, despite taking the decision to implement a paywall midway through the year.

With much pride, we helped grow the GTR Women in Trade events – taking the initiative to the Middle East and Asia for the first time.

Shannon Manders, Editor, GTR

“Economic, technological and political trends are reshaping the nature of trade business. Our job is to stay relevant and keep in touch with developments in a very fast-changing market. Disruption means a constant stream of new players in the market and keeping abreast of that has its challenges. It’s vital that we maintain a strong and constantly refreshed network of contacts. I am tremendously pleased to be recognised – and just in time for my 10-year anniversary at GTR. Thank you.”

What are the biggest challenges that GTR faces in relation to trade right now?

“Economic, technological and political trends are reshaping the nature of trade business. Our job is to stay relevant and keep in touch with developments in a very fast-changing market. Disruption means a constant stream of new players in the market and keeping abreast of that has its challenges. It’s vital that we maintain a strong and constantly refreshed network of contacts.

Trade is also more in the news than ever before and in the more mainstream media in particular. However, as an established publication that’s been closely following this market from the get-go, we have the knowledge and skills to cover developments from a well-informed industry perspective, rather than jumping on any bandwagons.”

What is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?

A message from GTR’s MD, Peter Gubbins:

“GTR will be focusing on ensuring it provides quality news, publications and events in the trade finance market, maintaining our position as the number one information provider and facilitator for the industry.

We will continue with both our print and online offering, and foresee that our events will continue to grow due to the importance of face-to-face meetings.”

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Methodology and Process

Trade Finance Global (TFG) takes the judging of the International Trade Finance Awards to be a serious matter. In the interests of transparency around the selection process, the methodology is detailed below.

TFG have a team of both in house analysts and external consultants who would’ve conducted a mixture of quantitative and qualitative reviews on a number of trade finance banks and liquidity providers, as well as SAAS companies, fintechs / non-bank liquidity providers, law and insurance firms.

1. TFG announces a ‘call for award nominations’ which is published as an advertisement with email alerts also sent out

2. The award nominations that are received and also selected are then sorted into respective award categories. A staff member passes these nominations to the first stage TFG internal judging team and then to an internal member of staff to further judge

3. The TFG judging team, independently of each other, read each of the submissions and decide if it (A) Meets the criteria of the category (B) Is worthy of being a finalist

The TFG judging team grades each submission 1 to 5 (with 5 being the most suitable for the finalist list). The first stage judges pass on the top three nominations for each category, unless the total nominations exceed ten, in which case four go on to the second stage. If there are less than three entries all nominations go on to the second stage of judging

The marking criteria were based on a mixture of, public information on deal volumes, and transactions numbers by market, as well as the company’s ability develop innovative finance structures and products in the changing market

TFG also looked at public reviews on client satisfaction, the quality of, and content produced (on site) around their products, as well as brand share in the category, looking extensively at social coverage and brand advocacy

1. The Advisory board members are industry experts from the field and academia in structured trade and commodity finance, fintech and technology or law. A staff member sends a packet of the finalist selections to each advisory board member for each award category they have selected to judge

2. With attention to confidentiality, the awards submissions are returned rated 1 to 5 and a staff member sorts the information, notes the winners and prepares the information for the final awards campaign and relevant press releases

3. In the unlikely event of a tie following the second stage of judging, the tie will be broken by an impartial industry expert on the TFG staff or contributing editorial board

See the full terms and conditions here, or download the Trade Finance Excellence Awards Brochure. Find out about the 2019 Awards here.

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Previous Awards

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