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Trade finance digitalization faces system interoperability challenge

Have banks and corporates underestimated the sheer complexity of digitalizing trade transactions?


The complexity of trade finance digitalization was a key topic for debate at the recent Sibos conference.

However, suggestions that the complexity of the task has been underestimated were largely dismissed by several experts Euromoney spoke to.

Jean-François Denis, global head of trade solutions at BNP Paribas, says market participants are well aware of the complexity of the trade finance ecosystem and that this is reflected in the fact the various digitalization initiatives are not designed to be fully end-to-end.

“There is a need to focus on specific products and geographies initially,” he adds. “Most of these initiatives are at an early stage of development.”

Of course, the trade ecosystem is complex and extends well beyond the banks and corporates. Successful digitalization of end-to-end trade transactions also requires the inclusion of the shipping and logistics industries, port authorities and the insurance industry.

There is a need to focus on specific products and geographies initially
Jean-François Denis, BNP Paribas

Faraz Haider, global head of trade transformation, client experience and data strategies at Citi, says: “Banks and corporates are working hard to construct the minimum viable ecosystem that will drive an efficient digitalization of end-to-end trade transactions with platforms such as Komgo, Contour and the Trade Information Network, and Swift’s FileAct initiative.