Digitalisation of trade finance is something the entire trade finance industry agrees is vital for trade’s longevity but there is some way to go before silos morph into ecosystems. In this Deutsche Bank sponsored GTR roundtable held in Singapore, participants note the growth in tradetech investment needs to be accompanied by industry trust, collaboration and confidence
“Trade is a business that touches so many parts of the value chain,” said Deutsche Bank’s Head of Trade Finance and Trade Flow Asia Pacific, Atul Jain at the beginning of a GTR roundtable session moderated by Asia Editor Finbarr Bermingham that also included representation from the fintech, logistics, and Singapore public sector.
He continued, “Data is at the heart of it, but that data needs to sit in one place and it needs to be one version of the truth.”
Jain’s view, shared at the roundtable, is that while the trade finance industry will drive change because there is a sense of urgency, it would really help if the regulators forced the issue (as they did with SEPA). “We need to ensure we have a consistent set of standards and rules around which various parties can operate. That does not exist today. In traditional documentary trade, it does, and the ICC plays a large role in that with Inco terms that are there and allow parties to govern one another,” he said. The problem right now is there is no digital equivalent, “which makes it very hard to take this concept of data-based trade or digital-based trade cross-border.”
A fellow-panelist, Amanda Northey of vessel screening and tracking solution providers Pole Star PurpleTrac took the view that a certain amount of manual intervention would always be present, but there is “a real significant place for technology now to make a difference”. She also made the point that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was a good example of a regulator providing “more prescriptive guidance” and “openness around the fintech space and collaboration with other regulators.
Head of Trade Finance and Trade Flow, Asia Pacific | Deutsche Bank
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