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BFS North America sees 30% rise in new companies funded
26 April 2018

Bibby Financial Services North America provided funding during the first quarter of 2018 to 91 new clients in the US and Canada - a 30% growth compared with the same period last year.   The company saw almost $23 million in total funding facilities providing business growth over the previous year. In Q1 2018, BFS provided financial solutions ranging from $100,000 transportation finance facilities to $4 million manufacturing facilities.

Digitisation top of the agenda as banks step up to the fintech threat
25 April 2018

Saxo Payments Banking Circle has released a new white paper called 'Re-drawing the Map: The changing landscape of cross border banking and payments', highlighting the multiple forces are shaking up the correspondent banking landscape. "The banks interviewed for our new white paper are taking the fintech competition seriously - gearing up to take on their biggest challenge in generations," said Anders la Cour, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Saxo Payments Banking Circle.

Finastra blockchain tool for syndicated lending market goes live
25 April 2018

Finastra has made its blockchain-based Fusion LenderComm tool for firms operating in the syndicated lending market commercially available as an app on R3's Corda platform. Finastra worked with R3 and seven global banks, including State Street, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, HSBC and ING, to pilot the technology. It enables financial institutions acting as agents to publish loan data to the ledger and extend self-service capabilities to lenders.

What finance costs do suppliers pay for early pay finance?
25 April 2018

Early pay options such as dynamic discounting, supply chain finance, and working capital platforms all offer a company a way to extinguish a receivable before due date - but how do these different techniques compare in terms of cost of money? And how do they compare to factoring alternative?

HSBC goes live with SWIFT’s global payments innovation service
24 April 2018

HSBC has joined SWIFT's global payments innovation (gpi) service, joining 160 financial institutions around the world. SWIFT says gpi will enable HSBC to increase the speed, transparency and traceability of cross-border payments for its clients.

Miller boosts credit and political risks team with two hires
24 April 2018

Insurer Miller has hired Rosie Denee and Oscar Moseley to boost its credit and political risks offering. Both will be based in London with a focus on political risk and structured credit insurance, specifically for financial institutions. Rosie joins Miller from RKH Specialty and specialises in structured credit insurance for banks, while Oscar joins from Marsh, where he spent seven years in a broking role. He specialises in political risk and structured credit insurance for financial institutions.

Brazil launches national blockchain association
24 April 2018

Brazil has launched its first ever blockchain association - the Brazilian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain. The project, started by Brazilian Fintech Atlas, aims to bring more regulation, debate, and progress to the cryptocurrency/blockchain space in the country.

Petrobras considers using blockchain for trading, compliance
24 April 2018

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is evaluating the implementation of blockchain technology for trading, the supply chain hiring process and compliance. The company has not set a date to implement the technology but is conducting a study and designing scenarios on how it could be used.

DBS enables real-time payments tracking for SMEs
24 April 2018

Singapore bank DBS is introducing the ability for small businesses and larger corporates to track their cross-border payments in real time. The bank is using SWIFT's gpi service, and is also reportedly in discussions with the payments messaging company to join a consortium to develop a real-time payments solution for cross-border transactions in the Asia Pacific region. DBS said it also plans to roll out the tracking service to its business customers in China, India, Indonesia and Taiwan in the coming months.

Markel hires Nicholas Davies as trade credit underwriter in Singapore
24 April 2018

Insurer Markel International has appointed Nicholas Davies as trade credit underwriter and senior risk analyst in Singapore. He will focus on developing Markel's portfolio across the region, in addition to managing existing broker and client relationships. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial services sector having started his career in banking and asset finance.

XL Catlin is 'first insurer to bind political risk policy on PPL'
24 April 2018

XL Catlin claims it has become the first insurer to bind a political risk policy on the London Market’s electronic placement platform, Placing Platform Limited. PPL is an electronic placing platform which enables brokers and insurers to quote, negotiate, bind and endorse business digitally.

Bahrain Middle East Bank enters into partnership with ICIEC
23 April 2018

Bahrain Middle East Bank has entered into an agreement with the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit to consolidate its trade financing activities, with specific emphasis on GCC and MENA countries. The agreements will cater to export financing on an Islamic basis and utilise export receivables as security for the repayment of the credit extended.

JPMorgan tests blockchain for debt issuance
23 April 2018

JPMorgan and National Bank of Canada have carried out a debt issuance simulation using a new blockchain platform. NBC issued a $150 million, one-year floating-rate Yankee certificate of deposit, with a parallel simulation of the issuance using blockchain technology. The test saw the banks mirror the execution of the actual transaction through a debt issuance application developed by JPMorgan that runs on Quorum, an open-sourced variant of the Ethereum blockchain.

Standard Chartered partners with Zoho on supplier payments
23 April 2018

Standard Chartered has partnered with Zoho in India to facilitate supplier payments. The two groups are working together to integrate financial services for business users of Zoho Books and Zoho's Cloud Accounting solution in India. The integration enables companies using Zoho financial management tools to pay their suppliers from directly within the platform, facilitated by Standard Chartered services.

Serbia’s Addiko Bank joins EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme
23 April 2018

Serbia's Addiko Bank has joined the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Trade Facilitation Programme to boost its trade finance operations. The €10 million trade finance line allows the bank to obtain the EBRD's trade finance guarantees and short-term cash advances to support the import and export activities of local companies.

SwapsTech develops real-time payments link for banks
23 April 2018

SwapsTech has completed the development of its faster payments solution to help financial institutions link into real-time payment capabilities. The company's Payment Galaxy tool offers a payment platform that can support faster payments as well as legacy rails including ACH and Fedwire. SwapsTech said Payment Galaxy marks its entrance into the US domestic real-time and legacy payments industry after focusing on global foreign exchange and cross-border payments services for commercial banks.

One in five German SMEs using digital marketplaces
23 April 2018

Digital sales are generating an increasing share of revenues for German small and medium-sized enterprises, according to Frankfurt-based development bank KfW. It found that 780,000 firms - or one in every five German SMEs - are now using digital marketplaces, online shops, or procurement platforms, with the majority of deals being B2B. KfW estimates that the average annual turnover for SMEs is around €4.5 billion, and that only 4.4% of that is generated through e-commerce.

Euler Hermes unveils Digital Agency hires
23 April 2018

Euler Hermes has made a number of appointments to its Digital Agency. Marion Silvain and Charles Ruelle are taking on new roles as co-heads, while Nicolas Polaillon will lead the newly created Data Lab as Chief Data Officer. Valia Papadea will head a new structure, named the 'Continuous Productivity Improvement & Value Creation' team. And Max Cadena will become Virginie Fauvel's Head of Office.

AvidXchange hires Dan Drees as chief growth officer
20 April 2018

US-based AvidXchange, a fintech provider of accounts payable and payment automation for midsize companies, has hired Dan Drees to the new role of Chief Growth Officer. He most recently led the fraud and risk solutions business at Fiserv.

Centtrip launches real-time corporate payments
20 April 2018

UK-based multi-currency account provider Centtrip, which provides global payments, foreign exchange and banking services, is introducing a way for corporates to make and receive faster cross-border payments. The firm's CenttripNow tool enables multinational corporates to make local and international payments in 15 different currencies, with transactions settled in "a matter of seconds".

Incomlend joins FCI as affiliate member
20 April 2018

Singapore-headquartered global invoice marketplace Incomlend has become an affiliate member of factoring industry association FCI. The platform trades in multiple currencies - USD, EUR, SGD, and HKD - and offers an integrated digital receivables discounting solution to both suppliers and buyers across its global supply chain.

Trade finance platform Batavia completes first blockchain transactions
19 April 2018

Batavia, a blockchain-based trade finance platform developed by a consortium of international banks and IBM, has passed its first live pilot transactions with corporate clients. The initial transactions included the trading of cars from Germany to Spain and textiles for furniture production from Austria to Spain. Batavia, jointly developed by Bank of Montreal, CaixaBank, Commerzbank, Erste Group, IBM and UBS, is able to integrate track and trace key events in the supply chain and signals from IoT devices about the location and condition of goods in transit.

Britain reviews powers of its accounting watchdog
19 April 2018

Britain has launched a "root and branch" review of its audit watchdog after corporate scandals raised questions about its ability to police how accountants check the books of companies. The independent review of the Financial Reporting Council aims to bolster Britain's reputation for upholding corporate standards - seen as critical to maintaining the country's attractiveness for investment after it leaves the European Union next year. The watchdog has been criticised for being too slow to intervene, though it has repeatedly pointed out major gaps in its armoury, forcing it to rely on other regulators to take action. It can only pursue company executives who are members of a professional accounting body, such as with two ex-finance directors of bankrupt construction company Carillion.

Standard Chartered partners with CDC on $150m SCF programme
19 April 2018

CDC Group, the UK's development finance institution, and Standard Chartered have signed a memorandum of understanding for a supply chain finance programme that will increase financing for SME suppliers in Africa and South Asia. The first countries to benefit from this scheme are expected to be Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya. The agreement, which is a 50:50 risk-sharing facility, is expected to disburse at least $150 million to suppliers over three years. Under the deal, the two institutions will bear the risks of local anchor buyers involved in supporting their supplier base.

Mayer Brown expands new Tokyo office with partner duo
19 April 2018

Mayer Brown has hired banking and finance specialist Shri Maski and corporate expert Gordon Palmquist as partners at its recently opened Tokyo office from Ashurst and Shearman & Sterling, respectively. Maski is experienced in banking and financing transactions, including project financings, and advises on complex projects to lenders, including export credit agencies in Europe and Asia. During his ten-year-stint at Ashurst, he was seconded at the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

Herbert Smith Freehills raids Watson Farley Williams for asset finance partners
19 April 2018

Herbert Smith Freehills has picked up four asset finance partners from Watson Farley Williams, including Siva Subramaniam and Samuel Kolehmainen from the latter's Singapore office. Subramaniam has financing, operating leasing, tax leasing and structured finance expertise with respect to large ticket assets including aircraft, rolling stock, film, infrastructure, ground-handling and defence related assets. He advises airlines, lessors and banks. Kolehmainen has experience in aviation financing and focuses on advising financial institutions and lessors. He has acted for clients on commercial financings, export credit agency financings, operating leasing, aircraft sales, asset-backed securitisations as well as portfolio sales and financings. Rex Rosales and Jahnavi Ramachandran, who are both based in London, are also joining.

Blockchain’s unassuming threat to banks
19 April 2018

Fintech innovation is often seen as a threat to the traditional banking status quo - at least, that is, until traditional FIs begin acquiring, partnering with or developing their own FinTech solutions. This Blockchain Tracker explores blockchain's position as both an opportunity and a threat to traditional banks.

ICC UK calls for unified voice for progress on digital trade
18 April 2018

Many barriers to digital trade, such as misaligned national regulations, poor infrastructure, low use of electronic payments, undeveloped legal systems, low purchasing power, lack of enforcement capability and low levels of digital skills, can be solved by better aligning development assistance with digital trade priorities, says the International Chamber of Commerce UK.

GTreasury and Visual Risk join forces
18 April 2018

Chicago-based Treasury Management Systems provider GTreasury has bought and will merge with Visual Risk, an Australian-based risk management and compliance software solution for global treasury departments. Visual Risk's TRMS platform enables treasury personnel to gain insights into risk factors, including interest rates, commodity pricing and foreign exchange.

Onfido appoints David Clarke as CFO
18 April 2018

AI-powered identity verification provider Onfido has hired David Clarke as Chief Financial Officer. Clarke was most recently CFO of digital payments company Skrill Group, which he led through their €1.1 billion acquisition by Optimal Payments. Prior to this, Clarke held the position of CFO at Lebara Mobile, and spent a decade as CFO EMEA at PayPal. He will be based in London.

OmniPay launches ‘collaborative’ SCF platform
18 April 2018

Sydney-based fintech OmniPay has launched a new invoice finance platform aimed at helping suppliers better manage their cash flow. The web-based and mobile application allows the supplier to request an early payment of an invoice, which is financed by the fintech company upon receiving approval from the business.

SMEs feel neglected by banks - but lack unbiased information to switch
18 April 2018

Small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK struggle with biased information as they look for better financial service providers, and feel neglected by their current banks. SME owners feel financial service providers fall back on a "one-size-fits-all offering", with 59% noting they experienced limited customisation to their needs. Forty per cent of respondents said they see little difference between SME and consumer services from banks, for example, except for the higher cost of SME services, according to consultancy firm Adaptive Lab.

Freedium unveils first commodities-backed digital stable currency
18 April 2018

Freedium, a company establishing a presence at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), has launched the first commodities-backed digital stable currency tracking the US dollar. Blockchain-based Freedium will provide financing to commodity owners in emerging markets, particularly in Africa and also in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.

Australian firms struggle with domino effect of supplier collapse
18 April 2018

Most Australian businesses have suffered financially when a business partner or supplier collapses, according to a survey by My Business. The survey of 184 professionals found the vast majority - 87% - said they have experienced a negative consequence due to the failure or collapse of a business partner or vendor. The site pointed to separate analysis from collection agency Atradius, which identified ten major signs that a company is about to collapse. Among them include a business holding too much debt, cash flow struggles due to overexpansion, a lack of transparency in business operations and irregular payments to suppliers and other business partners.

Regina Bruni joins MUFG trade finance team
17 April 2018

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has hired Regina Bruni to its Transaction Banking's Trade Finance team as a Director. She will be based in New York City and be responsible for serving the international trade finance needs of MUFG's Asian corporate banking clients in the US and Japanese corporate clients in Canada. She previously served more than 16 years at J.P. Morgan.

Olam launches supply chain tool AtSource
17 April 2018

Singapore-headquartered agribusiness Olam International has launched its new sustainable sourcing solution - AtSource. It allows manufacturers to be able to trace the journey of their agricultural raw materials and food ingredients from farm to table. AtSource will also enhance Olam's ability to assess and positively influence the environmental footprint of the 4.7 million farmers in the company's supply chain. AtSource will initially begin with five product supply chains, with more gradually coming on board. These products include: cocoa and cashew from Ivory Coast; coffee from Brazil and Vietnam; as well as onions and garlic from the US.

Gunvor: Huge market interest in BP, Shell blockchain energy trading project
17 April 2018

A project to modernise physical energy post-trade processes using blockchain technology backed by BP, Shell and Statoil has prompted huge market interestm according to Eren Zekioglu, Chief Operations and IT Officer at Gunvor Group. The aim is to help companies move away from traditional paper trading contracts and operations documentation to digital smart contracts in a bid to cut costs, reduce the risk of errors, and make back-end trading operations more reliable and efficient. Gunvor is one of the consortium partners in the project launched last November, which also includes fellow trading houses Koch Supply & Trading and Mercuria and banks ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale. A new London-based company called VAKT is to develop the platform.

Hochberg: Slim chance of US negotiating into TPP
17 April 2018

Fred Hochberg, the former Export-Import Bank of the United States Chairman and President, says the chances of the US negotiating a re-entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are "slim". US President Donald Trump has instructed top administration officials to explore a way back into TPP - a trade pact he pulled out of last year while calling it a "disaster".

IADB highlights growth of fintech in LatAm and Caribbean
17 April 2018

Fintech has been gaining strength throughout the Latin American and Caribbean region, according to research by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). There are now more than 700 tintech in the region: 32.7% in Brazil, 25% in Mexico, 11.9% in Colombia, 10.2% in Argentina, and 9.2% in Chile.

SME lender Kabbage to buy fellow lendtech Orchard?
17 April 2018

US-based SME lender Kabbage could be set to buy lending platform Orchard Platform Markets. Orchard, which boasts the support of former Citigroup and Morgan Stanley bosses Vikram Pandit and John Mack, provides information on the marketplace lending industry to Wall Street companies.

WTO: Strong trade growth in 2018 rests on policy choices
17 April 2018

World merchandise trade growth is expected to remain strong in 2018 and 2019 after posting its largest increase in six years in 2017, but continued expansion depends on robust global economic growth and governments pursuing appropriate monetary, fiscal and especially trade policies, World Trade Organisation economists said. The WTO anticipates merchandise trade volume growth of 4.4% in 2018, as measured by the average of exports and imports, roughly matching the 4.7% increase recorded for 2017. Growth is expected to moderate to 4.0% in 2019. The group warned that increased use of restrictive trade policy measures and the uncertainty they bring to businesses and consumers could produce cycles of retaliation that would weigh heavily on global trade and output.

Icici Bank onboards 250 corporates to blockchain platform
17 April 2018

India's Icici Bank has brought in more than 250 corporate customers to its custom-developed blockchain platform for domestic and international trade finance. The blockchain application digitises the paper-intensive international trade finance process as an electronic, distributed and unalterable ledger. It gives the participating institutions the ability to access a single source of information. The bank has been testing the system over the past two years.

YES BANK taps tax return data to boost SME loans
17 April 2018

India's YES BANK is tapping into tax data to expand its lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The company plans to offer loans to MSMEs based on their Goods and Services Tax returns. The solution also will not require a deeper analysis of borrowers' balance sheets or bank statements, reports said, and MSMEs don't have to borrow funds against property mortgages. YES BANK will assess tax data from the last six months, and, if approved, businesses can access funds within a day.

DadeSystems building the Twitter of accounts receivable
16 April 2018

US-headquartered startup DadeSystems says social media platforms such as Twitter are now influencing the way businesses handle accounts receivable. DadeSystems adds an automated collaboration piece to its B2B payments lifecycle software to help companies and vendors resolve payments discrepancies. CTO Doug Hathaway said the flow is essentially a "Twitter for B2B".

Emirates NBD registers cheques on a blockchain
16 April 2018

Emirates NDB has integrated blockchain technology into issued cheques to reduce the risk of forgery and to minimise potential fraud. The code registers each cheque on the bank' s blockchain platform, ensuring that once the cheque is received and cleared under the bank's ICCS technology, bank staff can validate its authenticity and have access to the source at all times. The bank is now rolling out the system across the UAE following a successful pilot overseen by Emirates NBD Future Lab.

APAC could "save $670bn by fully adopting paperless trade"
16 April 2018

Up to $673 billion can be saved annually in the Asia Pacific region if the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement and digital and paperless trade measures are fully implemented, according to the Digital Trade Facilitation in Asia and the Pacific report. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) estimates that the region could raise GDP by more than 3.8% by boosting digital trade facilitation and paperless trade measures to China's level. Mia Mikic, director of the Trade, Investment, and Innovation Division at ESCAP, said Thailand, by investing $31 million in paperless transactions, saved about $1.5 billion.

Sage adds stripe for faster SME payments
16 April 2018

Small business accounting company Sage has announced an integration with payments software platform Stripe in in a bid to accelerate payments to small and medium-sized enterprises. Sage said the company is integrating Stripe to add invoicing capabilities to its solution for SME users of Sage Business Cloud Accounting. This means businesses can send electronic invoices to their customers and receive faster payment via credit and debit cards in the UK.

Egyptian SME group and development bank sign SME loan deal
16 April 2018

The Egyptian Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Association has signed a cooperation agreement with the Export Development Bank of Egypt to facilitate loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. It falls within the framework of an initiative by the Central Bank of Egypt to offer loans at a 5-7% interest rate to SMEs.

Ex-Barclays executive John Mahon to be UK's first exports chief
13 April 2018

Former Barclays executive John Mahon is to become Britain's exports chief as ministers prepare to negotiate a string of trade deals in the months leading up to the country's exit from the European Union. Mahon, who until recently ran Barclays' corporate banking unit, has been recruited by Liam Fox's Department for International Trade to the new post of director-general for exports.

Trump to explore entering Pacific trade pact he once called 'a disaster'
13 April 2018

US President Donald Trump has instructed top administration officials to explore re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - a trade pact he pulled out of last year while calling it a "disaster". Republican senators said the president told White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look into joining the deal, which 11 other Pacific Rim nations signed in March. During the 2016 race, Trump called the TPP a "disaster" that is backed by "special interests who want to rape our country". His decision to pull out of the agreement, one of his first moves as president, was blasted by Republicans who said it put the US at a disadvantage to China on the global stage.