The UK's Treasury Committee has launched a new inquiry into digital currencies and distributed ledger technology as it seeks to get to grips with the opportunities and risks. It will examine the potential impact of DLT on financial institutions, including the central bank and financial infrastructure.
Some banks have reportedly clamped down on trade finance following the scam at the Punjab National Bank. Heightened vigilance is warranted, but restricting letters of credit and holding back letters of undertaking will hurt trade and the banks' own business. The RBI and Indian Banks’ Association should instruct the banking community not to disrupt trade finance.
BNP Paribas has launched a new investment fund to take direct minority stakes in startups that are reinventing financial services and insurance. The new fund, managed by BNP Paribas Capital Partners, will also make indirect investments through Venture Capital funds whose priorities in technologies - such as AI, data, blockchain, cyber-security - geographies and topics match those of its various business units and divisions.
Financial blockchain coalition R3 has assembled a group of ten legal firms - Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Crowell & Moring, Fasken, Holland & Knight, Perkins Coie, Shearman & Sterling, and Stroock - in an effort to educate lawyers on the contractual intricacies surrounding the live deployment of distributed ledger technologies.
XL Catlin has appointed appoints Claudia Thyme as Director Emerging Markets Development. Her role will see her pay particular focus on Latin America. She has 20 years' experience in the insurance industry, ten years of which have been spent at XL Catlin. In her new role she transfers from the Communications & Marketing team, where she most recently held the position of Director Strategy & Business Groups.
Finacity has facilitated an increase to $500 million of an existing freight receivables securitisation for Germany-headquartered Hapag-Lloyd Group. The increase was primarily as a result of integrating the freight receivables of United Arab Shipping Company, recently merged with the group.
The Treasury committee has published the full unredacted report into Royal Bank of Scotland's "disgraceful" treatment of struggling small businesses that came to it for financial assistance in the wake of the banking crisis.
The 350-page document details "widespread inappropriate treatment" of small businesses by the bank's Global Restructuring Group (GRG), resulting in "material financial distress".
Nicky Morgan, who chairs the committee, said: "The overarching priority at all levels of GRG was not the health and strength of customers, but the generation of income for RBS, through made-up fees, high interest rates, and the acquisition of equity and property."
Just 1.7% of the UK's 5.7 million small and medium-sized enterprises applied for a bank loan or an overdraft in 2017, according to the British Business Bank. Fewer small businesses applied for loans at big banks, and there was an increase in the number of SMEs fearing they would be rejected if they were to apply for a bank loan.
Governments may not be too keen on bitcoin, but blockchain is another story. Government authorities have begun to help fuel the proliferation of blockchain across the world. We look at support for blockchain technology in Russia, tax breaks for innovators in Spain, R3 in the Singapore economy, blockchain for international payments in Saudi Arabia, blockchain data to secure Indian banks, and blockchain laws and blockchain regulation from the SEC and states in the US.
Singapore-based digital payment provider Instarem has partnered with Ripple to offer payouts for its RippleNet members in Southeast Asia. The new partnership will allow RippleNet to offer its corporate and small and medium-sized enterprise customers "hassle-free" payouts to a number of destinations in the region.
UK-based technology trading supplier Fidessa Group has agreed to a takeover by Swiss fintech company Temenos in a deal worth up to £1.4 billion, signaling the start of what may become a flurry of consolidation in the sector. Temenos's pursuit of Fidessa is its second attempt to buy a British software company. The deal comes six years after losing out in the battle to buy UK financial software provider Misys.
Marco Polo, comprised of a group of the world's leading banks including BNP, Commerzbank and ING, together with trade finance technology specialist TradeIX and enterprise software firm R3, are piloting their trade finance solution leveraging distributed ledger technology following a successful proof-of-concept. The solution is initially focused on three areas of trade finance: risk mitigation by provision of payment commitments based on the matching of trade data, payables finance, and receivables finance. It will be delivered via TradeIX's TIX Platform.
Ripple has announced deals with two banks and three payment processors across India, Brazil and China, as the firm seeks to make good on a promise to transform payment flows into and out of emerging markets.
Itaú Unibanco, Brazil's largest private sector bank, IndusInd in India and Singaporean money transfer outfit InstaReM have announced plans to use Ripple's enterprise-ready ledger product xCurrent to provide real-time cross-border payments to other financial institutions around the world.
Two remittance providers, Beetech in Brazil and Zip Remit in Canada, have also come onboard, using Ripple's xVia API to open payment corridors for their customers.
Everyone going to supply chain finance conferences hears the stories of how popular SCF has become and how many lenders are looking to move downstream to provide SCF or payable finance beyond just the big rich corporates. But a number of regional banks have either downsized their SCF offering or have found it too problematic to develop a platform, build origination, and meet internal compliance standards.
Germany's Degussa Bank is to use a white-labeled direct API-based connection to local fintech startup Giromatch to provide clients with faster loan decisions and flexible re-payment terms. Giromatch will provide the bank with a 'digital account view' of each applicant, offering a detailed and immediate overview of the financial data as the basis for loan decisions.
Finastra has unveiled a tailored Fusion Treasury solution for Russia and the CIS. The local language solution enhances customer experience in Russian speaking markets. The tailored Fusion Treasury solution, which is based on the Fusion Kondor in Russia and the CIS, now includes specific financial instruments and business workflows for local banks' treasury departments.
The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) has released a paper pressing for faster cross-border payments at a global scale. Cross-border payments are often marred by greater risk exposure and logistical complexities, but the current technological landscape does not warrant the lack of speed and efficiency in global payments today, it said.
Traditional bank loans still reign as the top financing target for small business borrowers, but a new report by Mercator Advisory Group suggests alternative lenders are gaining traction. It found 27% of SMEs in the US have already used an online alternative lending platform. It also found millennial small business owners are twice as likely than their older peers to have used an alternative funding solution (48% compared to 25% for business owners 35 and older).
Krishnan Ramadurai, the International Chamber of Commerce's Trade Register Project's new chair and HSBC's global head of capital management for trade and receivable finance, discusses trends in trade finance, the rise of alt lending and technologies like blockchain to address a $1.5 trillion gap.
UniCredit and Alibaba.com, the B2B marketplace of Alibaba Group, are working together to launch a series of marketing initiatives promoting Alibaba.com international website to Italian exporters. UniCredit will also launch a separate new product, Easy Export, which will be exclusively available for UniCredit's clients at the beginning of March.
Jan Kupfer has been appointed head of corporate and investment banking (CIB) for Germany at UniCredit. He is currently global co-head of global transaction banking at the Italian-headquartered bank. Kupfer takes over from Michael Diederich, who was appointed country chairman for Germany after the departure of Theodor Weimer to become chief executive of Deutsche Boerse at the start of this year.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a credit line for small and medium-sized enterprises for €30 million, a trade finance limit of up to $10 million, and a risk-sharing framework of up to €10 million to Tunisia's Union Bancaire pour le Commerce et l'Industrie (UBCI). The loan will be on-lent to SMEs to increase their access to funding.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has outlined five potential scenarios describing the potential impact of fintech on banks. They are: The better bank - modernisation and digitisation of incumbent players; the new bank - replacement of incumbents by challenger banks; the distributed bank - fragmentation of financial services among specialised fintech firms and incumbent banks; the relegated bank - incumbent banks become commoditised service providers and customer relationships are owned by new intermediaries; and the disintermediated bank - banks have become irrelevant as customers interact directly with individual financial service providers.
Brian Edmondson, global head of trade and working capital finance at Finastra, outlines how government initiatives, a drive to digitise and a new spirit of collaboration among banks, fintechs and platform providers are slowly helping trade finance reach the ‘long tail’ of SMEs.
Accounts payable automation lags, mired in manual processes and paper. Tipalti CEO Chen Amit believes automating AP functions can help shift cross-border supplier payments management from cost centers to revenue enhancers.
Invoice Bazaar, a fintech supply chain finance platform with a presence across Asia, has announced an undisclosed investment in online document exchange platform ODeX. ODeX, along with Invoice Bazaar, is working on solving the supply chain finance problem in the shipping industry. The investment from Invoice Bazaar will be used towards expanding ODeX's footprint in Middle East as well as towards product development.
UnionBank says several community banks in Singapore have signed on as partners to develop the blockchain platform underlying Visa's B2B Connect solution, which is a platform to facilitate cross-border transactions for financial institutions.
Germany-based Infinitec has unveiled a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for integrated finance management for small and medium-sized enterprises. Its offering is designed for banks, insurance firms and corporations who are targeting SMEs.
IDB Invest has issued a new MXN 1,500 million ($81 million equivalent) three-year bond in the Mexican capital markets. It represents IDB Invest’s fourth and largest bond issuance in Mexico to date, as well as the first one since reorganising its private sector operations as IDB Invest. The bond will allow IDB Invest to finance its growing pipeline of operations in Mexico.
C2FO has released its third annual Working Capital Outlook Survey, revealing that two-thirds of SMEs indicate an increase in need for liquidity from 2016 to 2017 - with India and China reflecting the highest demand, fuelled by their growing economies. Also, as the economy recovers, SMEs may be entering a new era of high growth and their need for liquidity may outpace access to funding, especially as rates increase Alternative sources of financing from fintech companies will be critical to meet increasing demand for affordable funding.
Allianz has raised its stake in credit insurer Euler Hermes to 92.43%. The German group said it has "acquired an additional 29.43% of Euler Hermes share capital, representing a total investment of approximately €1.5 billion".
2018 will certainly feature in the annals of the history of immediate payments: 3 major schemes - Real Time 1 (EBA RT1) for the processing of SEPA Credit Transfer Instant in Europe, The Clearing House Real Time Payments in the US, and the Australian New Payments Platform - went live within a month. But the party has only just started. Here are 10 key trends for 2018 that will drive further changes.
The Court of Appeal has upheld a decision that a facility agreement based on the LMA model form did not constitute the lenders' standard terms for the purposes of UCTA. Had UCTA applied, the terms of the facility agreement would have been subject to a reasonableness test. In the recent decision of (1) African Export-Import Bank (2) Diamond Bank Plc (3) Skye Bank Plc v (1) Shebah Exploration and Production Co Ltd (2) Allenne Limited (3) Dr Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka Orjiako the Court of Appeal has upheld a decision to allow summary judgment for sums due under a facility agreement, rejecting the defendant's arguments that the facility agreement, based on the LMA model form, constituted the lenders' standard terms for the purposes of UCTA. The three claimants were lenders under a pre-export finance facility agreement for $150 million.
Five banks in the Philippines are reportedly grouping up to use Visa's blockchain-based payment platform. As part of a new arrangement, the Union Bank of the Philippines will assist four unnamed rural banks that are seeking to boost the efficiency of their payments processes by building a local platform base on top of Visa's B2B Connect system.
Deutsche Bank has released a new publication, Payables Finance: A guide to working capital optimisation, which provides a guide to the past, present and future of payables finance- based on actual transactions and programmes. It also shows how payables finance has gone some way towards delivering on the UN General Assembly's Addis Ababa Action Agenda, a resolution designed to make financing more accessible for SMEs.
Coface has released its full-year results for 2017, revealing that net income (Group share) hit €83.2 million, of which €28.2 million was in the final quarter. Net loss ratio improved again to 41.8% in Q4, thanks mainly to favourable loss trend in Asia and North America.
Commercial credit risk solutions provider Credit2B has unveiled a portal for trade credit suppliers to share and access information about B2B payment experiences in real time. The Credit2B Global Platform aggregates data of 250 million businesses across 225 countries, enabling suppliers to access information about payment experiences, receivables metrics and trade references to analyse trade credit risk.
Citi Ventures and PNC have made strategic investments in US business-to-business payments and receivables software provider HighRadius. The firm claims that its receivables platform optimises cash flow through automation of receivables and payments processes across credit, collections, cash application, deductions, electronic billing and payment processing.
The New Payments Platform (NPP) has been launched in Australia, with SWIFT - which helped to design, build and deliver the NPP - claiming it could revolutionise the way payments are made domestically. Key features include PayID, which links a financial account with an easy-to-remember identifier such as a mobile phone number, email address or ABN for businesses, and 24/7 instant payments and real-time line-by-line settlement via the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Germany-based trade receivables auction platform TrustBills has appointed Claudia Haas as Senior Vice President Client Solutions. She joins from industrial broker Marsh, where she was Head of Alternative Solutions, and has also served almost 20 years at Coface Group. Markus Wohlgeschaffen has also been made Senior Vice President Client Solutions and will be responsible for TrustBills European expansion strategy. He was previously SVP Corporate Solutions at TrustBills.
Bibby Financial Services (BFS) provided over $35 million in commercial financing to 64 new clients across all of its North American product lines in Q4 of 2017. The company saw 7% more new clients in 2017 than in 2016 across all lines of business and nearly doubled its business in Bibby Transportation Finance. Additionally, the asset based lending funding lines closed in Q4 made up more than 50% of the funding for the quarter.
The Asian Development Bank's Trade Finance Program (TFP) and Uzbekistan's Aloqabank have signed an agreement to provide loans and support trade in Uzbekistan. ADB's TFP has been operating in Uzbekistan since 2010 and currently works with five local partner banks.
When it comes to getting paid, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a problem. With checks and cash remaining popular, getting invoices paid can take weeks. The solution, according to Mark Girvan, chief commercial officer at FreshBooks, is embedding payments into old-fashioned invoices, making payments a one-step process.
Distributed ledger startup Ripple has struck a deal with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority on a pilot programme that will see banks in the country trial the company's tech. It marks the second central bank to work with the start-up, following the Bank of England.
Credit and political risk insurance (CPRI) broker BPL Global has published its inaugural Market Insight report. The report provides an analysis of the CPRI market's capabilities, current worldwide risk exposures and a claims update, focusing on claims activity since the global financial crisis.
The conference will bring together project investors and developers to discuss the financing for low carbon energy and infrastructure projects across Asia, including power, renewables, infrastrcuture and transportation projects.
TXF is back in DC! We'll be examining how multilaterals are evolving to fulfil an expanded remit, while maintaining a focus on development and trade facilitation. Join corporates and leading practitioners in agency finance to debate industry challenges.
To kick off TXF Global 2018, we'll be bringing together senior developers, government personnel and investors to focus on project finance deals. Our dedicated Project Finance Day is a must for all infrastructure pro's!
The party of the year is back for 2018! TXF Global brings you all things Export & Agency Finance to the colourful city of Prague. Described as the fairy-tale city, TXF Global is here to make all your export finance dreams come true...