Trade Documentation Solutions To Drive EM Trade Growth

Inside Sibos | Review

“Our priorities are in two key areas. The South-to-South trade, which represents already 40% of world trade and will be driven by consumerism, and the increased complexity of the supply chain with all its implications,” says Michael Vrontamitis, head of Trade Product Management in Transaction Banking for Standard Chartered. “Think of Chinese trade, which at the moment is done 20% in renminbi. This percentage should double by 2020, while the trade itself will become megatrend much like Great Britain in 1860”

Vrontamitis is currently based in Hong Kong, but was born and raised in Africa. He has been with the bank some 20 years, with different responsibilities including the development of RMB products and solutions. At Sibos he described himself as “cautiously optimistic” in a trade show where a “relatively upbeat mood was much better that in previous years,” particularly two years ago in Osaka.

He is in charge of the largest product line of Standard Chartered, a 2 billion USD business, and has a clear geographical focus tied to three regions: Asia, Africa and the Mideast.

“We do business for and in these areas, and for corporates and financial institutions in Europe and the US that do business in these three areas.”

From a product perspective, a key area of commitment is related to trade documentation: “We have been active in this area for many years and it is undergoing transformation. I am convinced that BPO [bank payment obligations] will have success, but we have just started and there still a lot to do in the area, even if we have already invested heavily in it.”

Another area of commitment is in “business conduct and the fight against financial crimes,” Vrontamitis notes. “Now we have more data on trade transactions and that makes it simpler and has less disruptive effect on the supply chain. BPO works in the right direction.”

And what impact will the “reshoring” of products and services from the emerging markets to the US have on emerging markets? “It will happen,” replies Vrontamitis, “for certain tasks and expertise, but it will not happen to all manufacturing in the EM.”