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Citi’s trade chief: 2015 was the riskiest year to date

In a wide-ranging interview, Citi’s global head of trade, John Ahearn, talks to TXF’s Hesham Zakai about challenging pricing in the market; why 2015 was the riskiest year seen to date; the danger of killing the golden geese of supply chain finance and securitisation; the appeal of blockchain technology; and the industry’s ongoing battle for a fair understanding and treatment of trade finance.

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Comments (1)

  • William Laraque
    William Laraque, US-International Trade Services 16 February 2016

    Thus are summarily separated the parvenues, the folks with the servers under their desks at home and the orthodoxy of banking who are subject to "massive regulation." Mr.Ahearn forgets that it was his institution which led the campaign to undo Glass-Steagal. I worked in Citibank's Operating Group at the time. Je me souviens! Where would we be without the maintainers and interpreters of BAFT not innovating but interpreting and defining the "opaque" regulations and the obscure meanings of innovations and their significance. What is not fully considered in this treatise are strategic alliances. It is perfectly possible for those as skilled in technology and in trade finance as are Citibank to create strategic alliances with those who are knowledgeable of regulations and compliance in creating trade finance models which will endure. The fact that HSBC, Barclays, Commerzbank et alia are retreating from trade and that numerous banking miscreants have been excoriated for helping their clients in breaking the laws or avoiding taxation and regulation, does not mean that the trade battlefield has been ceded to Citibank. There will be a weeding out to be sure. Orthodoxy's challenge will be to make certain that at winnowing time, it's trade finance regime is not discarded with the chaff.

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