Fintechs can innovate faster than large financial institutions, by their nature – and companies like Trade Ledger are helping banks and other financial institutions reimagine how they provide services to their clients. So said Alan Beattie, Trade Ledger's Executive Director for APAC, at a roundtable discussion during Singapore Fintech Festival last month. He said:
"It's not just about the technology stack, it's about using data from many sources, as the world becomes digitised and our lives become resident in data."
As financial institutions become more efficient at ingesting and interpreting data from multiple sources, they can reduce risk and make more informed decisions, allowing them to provide customers with more timely and appropriate services, and at the right price.
The panel was hosted by Iain Morrison, Head of Global Trade and Receivables Finance at HSBC Singapore, and also featured Saket Sarda, SVP, APAC at C2FO; and Andrew Dennison, COO at Serai.
They agreed that digital platforms bring better visibility and efficiency. Digital onboarding speeds up lending decisions, reducing the “time-to-yes” and “time-to-cash”. In large part, that's because a digital platform allows lenders to base decisions on up-to-date information. So instead of looking at a customer's historic financials infrequently, a lender using a digital platform can feed current data from the customer's accounting packages directly into its risk engines. Alan said:
"This allows you to make informed decisions about who you should be lending to, at what price and at what time."
The panel agreed that transparency and traceability, which are key for environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, are well served by digitalising the supply chain. They give a company insight into all levels of its end-to-end supply chain. The panel envisaged a variety of digital ecosystems supporting various industry verticals and trade flows. They could share transaction-level information to create true end-to-end transparency for ESG and other purposes, including financing and supplier incentivisation.
Iain said many of the ideas under discussion re how to add value to supply chains more collaboratively have been around for some time, but that technology had needed to catch up:
"Now we're at the perfect moment where technology, ideas and the ability to collaborate really do exist."