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23 September 2020

Let’s Get Digital

Middle East & Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe
Managing Director
The technology we use to facilitate the flow and execution of financial transactions can move quicker than we think. This brief peek into the past offers some ideas for harnessing today’s technology to generate tomorrow’s deals.

The technology we use to facilitate the flow and execution of financial transactions can move quicker than we think. 

In his highly recommended series on 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy, Tim Harford recalls an anecdote from Citibank in the 1960s. Then, they had a system where one group of bankers would draw up payment instructions, insert them into a canister, and send them to the second floor via a vacuum tube. There, a second group of bankers would confirm the transactions and send their authorisation back down the pipe. When something went wrong or the pipeline came stuck, operations would be restored by… a chimney sweep.

Today’s technology fortunately allows for a far more digital and speedy system of payment confirmations; indeed that look back through time shows the strides made in the infrastructure used by the financial community to safeguard the flow of transactions.

It is a journey that has seen a monumental stride in the last six months, not specifically in payments infrastructure necessarily, but in deal pipeline generation. Absent the ability to get physical, the trade, commodity and export finance industries have turned to digital to connect with clients.

In an industry built on trust and relationships, this has not been easy or immediate. But it is a critical task if the industry is to maintain a strong enough pipeline through the end of this year and going into 2021. While the wheels of trade were still sufficiently pumped to continue rolling through H1, they will need an injection of air to keep rolling much beyond that.

This is why TXF has spent the last six months developing its own origination-oriented, networking-led virtual events platform. We are proud of the role we play in supporting industry experts and practitioners, and have launched our latest virtual events programme on our bespoke platform to connect the global community.

In the process, we have tapped into the accessibility, cost-effectivity, and dynamism that a virtual platform can offer – all with a view to giving digital delegates opportunity to do deals with a much larger pool of dealmakers than ever before. This will manifest most vividly in three virtual gatherings between now and December: The TXF Export Finance Virtual World Fair; TXF Global Commodity Finance Virtual; and TXF Global Trade Finance Virtual. They aim to be vehicles for injecting that air into the wheels of global trade, so that it can continue to power global supply chains.  

We prize relationships above all else and we recognise how critical it is for you to keep engaged with your clients, potential clients and peer group. That has never been more important than it currently is through these restricted days and months of the Covid pandemic. Most of you will not have been travelling on business, so now is the perfect time to travel virtually and see and hear from your business community.

And the best part of it all? No chimney sweeping necessary.

Now time to get up to speed with the markets
Here's a selection of original TXF Subscriber articles recently published

Almaty Ring Road: Great expectations
The Almaty Ring Road PPP financing is a major achievement for Kazakhstan. But are estimations of its impact beyond meeting the project’s objectives too high?

Intra-Asian supply chains to grow significantly says HSBC
The prolonged Covid pandemic is encouraging significant changes in global trade patterns, and according to a recent HSBC survey, Asian corporates are expanding their supply chain footprint throughout Asia. We also look at ways to help reduce the $2-$5 trillion global trade finance gap.

AIIB approves Maldives EtW project
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a sovereign loan for the approximately $151 million 500 tonnes-per-day (TPD) capacity Greater Male energy-to-waste (EtW) project in the Maldives.

Mardie Minerals raising finance for salt and potash project
Australian Mardie Minerals, a wholly owned subsidiary of BCI Minerals, is raising equity to back the early construction works on a government-approved salt and potash project worth over A$780 million ($559 million).

TRSDC selects preferred bidder for Saudi megaproject
An ACWA Power-led team has been chosen by The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) as preferred bidder for the utilities piece of its tourism Red Sea giga-project in Saudi Arabia.

Lima airport project financing signs
Sponsors of the the Jorge Chavez International Airport expansion project in Lima, Peru - Fraport (80%) and IFC (20%%) - signed a $450 million bridge loan with four international banks to fund the scheme on 11 September.

Vrontamitis to step down from StanChart
Michael Vrontamitis, a stalwart of the international trade finance industry, is to leave Standard Chartered Bank at the end of October.

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