At the start of the summer, Surecomp hosted an event to raise awareness of the benefits of ‘collaborative trade finance’ in Utrecht, Netherlands. It was an opportunity for Dutch corporate treasurers to hear the latest industry trends in digital trade and to hear from multinational logistics firm Vanderlande about their journey with Surecomp’s RIVO™ platform.
As an award-winning trade finance solution provider, Surecomp has been dedicated to driving digital trade finance for over thirty five years working with banks and corporates across the globe. Although corporate tech adoption has historically been limited to large multinationals, it is now rapidly accelerating, broadening notably beyond MNCs since the pandemic.
Surecomp is focused on driving collaboration and interoperability within the industry. It believes that trade finance should be accessible to companies of every size, and with trade volumes increasing, it is imperative that companies can scale efficiently by leveraging technology to drive economic growth. Chris Sunderman, former banker and trade finance expert shared his insights on the complexities of the trade finance landscape and explained that with so many participants and documents involved in a typical transaction, the paper-based process has been neither seamless, sustainable nor scalable. Giving rise to all sorts of challenges, there has never been a greater need for a standardized, digitized, and interconnected trade finance process to address inefficiency and risk, and ensure accessibility for all players, including SMEs.
Shifting to networks with global scale
“We have to move away from silos and niche solutions and shift to networks with global scale,” explains Sunderman. “We need data transparency, digital document exchange and harmonization across jurisdictions, bringing open communication to the entire transaction process. Seamless connectivity and true digitization is critical to create a secure and connected trade finance ecosystem for seamless, sustainable and scalable transaction issuance, authorization and processing. This is particularly important for an import-export hub like the Netherlands.”
Having recently gone live with Surecomp’s trade finance platform RIVO™, Eddy Veenstra, Customer Finance Director at Vanderlande, shared his views on the importance of industry collaboration. Turning over €2.4bn with 9,000 employees, Vanderlande without doubt fits the MNC profile. However, with several hundred million euros worth of credit with seven banks, each one requiring its own guarantee application process, a small treasury team of six, an extensive global network of over one hundred suppliers and buyers of varying size, and a typical time lag of three weeks to issue a guarantee, Eddy recognized the process needed to change.
“With a decentralized process and a lack of visibility of credit limits, our main driver was to create a frictionless, collaborative guarantee process that is easy and transparent for everyone to use,” explains Veenstra. “Following our first live transaction on RIVO, it confirmed we made the right decision allowing us to spend more time on strategic, value-adding tasks.”
Vanderlande is using RIVO™ as a centralized hub which enables control and standardization of the guarantee management process across all its banking partners. As well as digital bank communication and document exchange, RIVO™ will be providing integration to its treasury management system, central approval management and amendment, real-time notifications, credit limit and fee management. It will also in the future incorporate guarantee bidding, allowing Vanderlande to view price comparisons and choose the best price from their banking partners.
One of Vanderlande’s banking partners BNP Paribas also contributed to the discussion, with Joeri Overmars, Head of Global Trade Solutions, explaining that banks are seeing increased interest from their corporate clients to digitize their trade finance process. Though welcoming digital transformation, large trade banks like BNP – which has €2.7tn in assets – have a responsibility to go through extensive risk and compliance processes that may lead to gradual adoption of new platforms.
By collaborating with Vanderlande and Surecomp to execute a pilot transaction across RIVO™, BNP is now satisfied with data security and compliance. Understanding how the increased level of data accuracy through RIVO™ can significantly improve processing timelines, it recognizes Surecomp as a trusted technology partner through which to expedite the guarantee application process.
Connecting the trade finance ecosystem
The final piece of the collaborative trade finance puzzle is the fintech interoperability. By enabling access to best-in-class trade tech solutions, RIVO™ is connecting the trade finance ecosystem, allowing banks and corporates seamless integration to a holistic view of the trade finance process.
The event concluded with an overview of Semsoft, a maritime and trade risk intelligence platform for monitoring suspicious activity across international trade operations. More to come about Semsoft and the need for standardization, digitization, and collaboration to create a secure and connected trade finance ecosystem in a future blog.
In the meantime, to hear more from Vanderlande and Surecomp, check out this webinar on Empowering Treasurers: Trade Finance Management Strategies