Friday, October 11, 2013

Information is Key with Trade Finance Products

Finance
Finance (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
There are numerous definitions for trade finance that can be found. Essentially, it is a term that covers several activities. There are a number of tools that are used by financiers that determine how credit, cash, investments as well as other assets are used for trade. 
In a simple form an exporter will require an importer to prepay for items that are shipped. The importer wants to reduce his risk by asking the exporter to create a document proving the goods were shipped. The importer is assisted by the bank, which provides a letter of credit to the bank of the exporter or to the exporter directly. This statement proves that a payment will be made when certain documents are presented. 

Traditionally, trade finance occurs in the short or medium term and involves three activities; financing, payment facilitation and risk mitigation. These are the core components of trade finance, no matter what type of transaction is being completed. 


Credit Based Products


Currently, credit based products are mere commodities mainly due to the current levels of liquidity available throughout the world. Most large corporations are mostly interested in distributing the risk options and information through their international transactions and throughout their global chains of supply. 

Large corporations, including global retailers, currently have logistics capabilities and supply chain management that is similar to those in place for advanced military units. These are the retailers that drive the trade volume and help to define the expectations in the market that are related to trade banking services. 


Trade Banking


There are many opportunities for trade bankers in today’s markets. Almost every company relies on correspondent banking relationships in order to verify the legitimacy of a trade counter party. Trade banks may also be called upon to provide information to the overseas party because of increasingly stringent compliance levels. 

Consumers are now demanding and expecting real time tracking of all shipments, as well as the shipping documents and the financial flows that are related to the shipment. Taking a couple of days to check with a foreign bank and then get back to the customer is no longer an option.

In order to be this responsive there is a need for the appropriate technological investment. This includes investment in the backend of the business for transaction processing, as well as the side that faces the client. Web enabled solutions provide a number of information-rich reporting that is customisable. More and more clients demand to be able to see their portfolio at all times and to be able to view their trade transactions, across all financial institutions. 


Information Quality


When it comes to trade finance the quality of information provided by the company is becoming increasingly more important, as this is being demanded by consumers. It is now possible for financial institutes and trading companies to offer accurate and timely information regarding the exact status of the product and financial flows that are related to the imports and exports. This allows for quick identification of points for financial solutions, any risk mitigation options that are available, as well as advisory services that can be offered to their trade clients. A trade finance company with international experience is going to have the best data, information and choices available to its clients.

Trade finance and banking is a field that is being changed by technology. The best companies provide their customers with a plethora of information about the trade operations that they are involved with. This information can be the driving force of fundamental decisions that are made regarding whether or not services or products should be outsourced or if a company should maintain internal control. Information is the key to success when it comes to the world of trade finance. 


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