Trade Finance Forum Of ITFA

Today, we are going to learn about latest news in the world of finance ie. hosting of the fourth Trade Finance Forum. The launching is made by the ITFA Middle East Regional Committee and thereby made to be in collaboration with the DIFC Academy thus made on 29 September 2022. 

This TTF event was held first in-person since May 2019 and was witnessed by 80 participants who are from financial institutions, insurance companies, corporates, fin techs, and others.  

The structuring of the forum was kept into two panels. The focus of the above was first on the macro-trends in the trade finance world, followed by digitization.

The opening of the event was made with a keynote speech by Baris Kalay, EMEA who is the head of corporate sales, and global transaction services at Bank of America. 

The topics By Mr. Baris Kalay were having a relationship directly with the treasury sector at the moment. The core components included in it are as follows:

1. working capital management and efficiency
2. Impact of the rising rate environment on liquidity management
3. Digitisation
4. Sustainability of the supply chain highlighting the GCC region has been slightly more sheltered from macro events with anticipated gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates one which are found ahead substantially of their peers.

The light was thrown upon by MR Kalay on the data and digitization defining it not only as a change only from paper to electronic but as a way of connecting data points for making decisions timely and informed, thereby making the risk be managed and the effective creation of the opportunities. 

The pinpointing was made on the important point i.e., what efforts should be made by the industry to overcome balance sheet inefficiencies and bringing progress towards better progression and sustainability improved with focusing on ESG along with data-driven trade finance ecosystem.

Macroeconomic Outlook: On The Ecosystem Of The Trade Finance

The first panel covered all the relevant topics surrounding the global economic environment.

The members included in the panel of discussion were as follows :

1. MODERATOR: MR. Maninder Bhandari from GTR MENA 
2. Motasim Iqbal, managing director, Standard Chartered
3. Meriam Charraji, regional head of GTRF legal for MENA, HSBC
4. Stanley Pullolickel commercial treasury executive, GE; 
5. Dan Georgescu, business restructuring, PWC, 

These all members shared insights on the overarching theme of treasury transformation whose tackling was being carried out in the GCC. 

Mr. Pullolickel addressed that the value-added solutions must be made by the banks evaluating the entire trade eco system.

The fin techs should collaborate with the Banks for a holistic overview of the trade transaction end-to-end to enable treasurers for making the efficiencies in covering their cash conversion cycles and mainly focusing on the management of the liquidity. The slowing down of the global economy is thus seen imminent as it is seen at the agenda of the treasure today. 

With that here comes to be the point of increased focus as well on the payables and receivables monetisation.

It was addressed by Georgescu saying that the corpoartes have now shifted from bilateral self-focused discussions with funders to considering at funding their trade ecosystem more efficiently.

However, the stress given by Georgescu that the factor for determining a successful Supply Chain Finance (SCF) program is in association with the procurement team of a corporate client. 

The speakers also considered the sustainability within the supply chain. 

Iqbal made the addressal that the focus is mainly on nearshoring and onshoring as much as possible. 

“The conversation we are performing with our corporates is that they might have to pay more than the warehouse cost at least there a no stoppage is seen in the cycle of production”.

The achievement of Resilience is made via means of diversification of the supplier base thus making a move from single-source to multiple-source suppliers.

The agreement was made by all panelists that the aspects underlying within the capital space is the topic of ESG. 

Charraji explained, “The available proofs to me demonstrate that ESG is going to stay as the market is showing its necessity, and thus, finally, the industry will have to come up with a cohesive set of standards eventually.”

Thus a lot of work is carried out for a while by the financial providers and regulators who are working together for building up of that framework.

Process Of Making The Technology In Trade: I.e, Trade Digitisation

The focus of the second panel was on trade digitization which was moderated by Naura Hussain who is the head of FI, United Bank Ltd, and thus was attended by 

1. Andre Casterman from Casterman Advisory, 
2. Chair of the fintech committee, ITFA
3. Sinan Ozcan who is the Senior executive officer and board director for DP World Financial Services, Cargoes Finance
4. Mrityunjay ‘Jay’ Singh, who is the acting ADCB; and Vishnu Purohit group head of trade product management, ENBD.

It was also pinpointed by Ozcan thus saying that the transformation of the trade does not only require innovation but also the collaboration because of the scale & complexity of international trade is immense along with the involvement of funders, providers of the third party, regulators, data security and complexity of the underlying transactions.

For making digitalisation successful, it is mandatory to maintain Scalability but while advents have made with the introduction of: 

1. Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR), 
2. E-Bills of Lading (eBL)
3. Uniform Rules for Digital Trade Transactions (URDTT) for making the name of a few thus with the consolidation and thus with the need to be standardized to far from being achieved. 

The TFD initiatives are expected to create a bridge between the trade finance space and the originators, the fund providers, and the institutional investors with a multi-bank, multi-investor, or repackaging entity.

The need for the trade finance has increased worldwide, with non-traditional entities such as insurance companies, non-banked financial institutions, and others considering the trade distribution market. Additionally, the demand is also increased especially following the increase of security in the trade space.

The underscoring of the Tokenization process was performed when it comes to widen the investor base and consider a huge segment of the corporate population to be funded and address the trade finance gap: inherently, however, the transparency issue, market-to-market and the data sharing to be kept secured have yet to be given the full resolution.
The emphasis was given by Singh on the compliance angle which is also required to be tackled. He sighted that UTC is one such example where the collaboration is made by the bank via blockchain to control double financing of invoices. The substantial amount of work must be done for fraud risks while trade remains an attractive and a kind of asset i.e., self-liquidating.

Finance Transaction: Trade’s Future

The conclusion was given by accessing the various proof of concepts which are presently being tested and agreement was made in a utopian world, the involvement of the stakeholders in the financial transaction of the trade would use a public network underpinned by the blockchain technology for making the end to end execution be carried out. This process would address the fragmented world of trade finance as known today.

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