ITFA Young Professionals roundtable
of electronic bills of lading, and how it can speed up delivery for clients. I guess my question to you would be: is this something that you are all embracing? And is it something you are seeing client demand for both in Poland and the other areas you are in?
consequence of the ample liquidity in the market and eagerness for assets. Clients have plenty of financial institutions to tap into and can find lower pricing. In terms of diversification we don’t really see very exotic or new types of business as a consequence of recent developments as yet.
“The main banks are co-operating with key suppliers of software solutions, we don’t have [shared] third-party platforms. We have separate solutions.” Grzegorz Pojnar, ING Bank Slaski
Dad: In the UK market, we have seen a fall in demand for traditional trade finance products such as letters of credit. Clients instead prefer to conduct business via open account. As a consequence, we’ve seen an increase in activity for receivables finance and supplier finance. Clients are more than ever focused on balance sheet management and ensuring that they are supporting their suppliers. Pojnar: Coming back to the pricing, if we cannot do anything to make pricing higher, we need to take a closer look at the cost side again, and we have to do everything to cut costs. I see in my bank that we have a strong focus on the digitalisation of the process, getting everything that can be done without a human done by a computer. Hall: Absolutely. We had a session earlier today at the ITFA conference on technological innovation and how you can get intermediation
98 | Global Trade Review
Wilmink: If you look at the trade finance market, I still think it is at the very beginning of digitalisation. If you look at the documents that go back and forward and the amount of stamps that have to be put on and the signatures on couriers and bills of lading, I think there is still quite a fair amount of work to do to make this more efficient and save time. Borowiec: In the Polish market, the beneficiary can actually receive a guarantee signed with an electronic signature via email. In this way the whole transaction is done electronically. When it comes to LCs, Polish banks have also started thinking about the bank payment obligation (BPO). Pojnar: What is typical for the Polish market in terms of the electronic banking system is that the banks are building those solutions on their own. Okay, the main banks are co-operating with key suppliers of software solutions, but we don’t have a third-party platform where all the banks can log in and sell it to the customer. We have separate solutions. Hall: Do you think we as an industry should try to harmonise solutions, rather than each bank having its own in-house solution? Kopinski: Especially when it comes to presenting documents in the EU. There should be a common standard. With Germany in particular we have some problems because we need to show the Germans all the original documents, but we are more digitalised than Germany, so sometimes the process is prolonged because of the need for originals in Germany. If the system could be standardised for the whole of Europe, for example, and if we are able to present documents which are authorised to our colleagues in other countries, it will be much easier and faster to co-operate. Hall: So, there is an issue where you have products which are, in some cases, centuries old and then you’ve got a modern need to update how the client experiences that. And that’s a gap to fill. We are aware that the first blockchain transaction recently closed. How well do we think that could translate itself into a sustainable line of business for everyone? Dad: I’m really proud that Barclays has been able to execute the first trade finance transaction using blockchain to manage documentation. The feedback we’ve had from the clients involved has been incredibly positive, and this success will hopefully have a domino effect with many more transactions to come and may change the way trade will be conducted going forward.