CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE – Sean Edwards, ITFA Chairman / Head of Legal and Special Adviser to the Global Trade Finance Department at SMBC



Dear Members and Friends,

October is proving to be quite a heavy weight for the global economy. At one end we have ( the possibility of) Brexit, whilst from the outset, negotiations have resumed between US and China, aimed at ending a 15 month trade battle that is weighing on the global economy.

After insisting to the Conservative Party conference that Britain was ready for a no-deal Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged that the UK would be leaving the EU on 31st October come what may!  At the same time he revealed his latest offer, suggesting Northern Ireland leave the EU’s customs territory with the rest of the UK on Brexit day but stay in the single market for goods, and the Northern Irish assembly getting the right to veto the arrangements every four years.  Whilst the Prime Minister’s outline proposal won cautious support in Commons, EU reacted with dismay. The flow of goods between the UK and Europe would be oiled by new technology. Sounds like an opportunity for our fintechs! (Everybody else has tried…)

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, China’s negotiation team travelled to the White House for the latest round of talks.  While the world awaits the outcome, uncertainty increased especially following the US’ blacklisting of 28 Chinese tech firms, just a couple of days prior to the start of the latest talks. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) highlighted how trade disputes are taking a toll on global trade, with Kristalina Georgieva, IMF managing director, stating that “global trade growth has come to a near standstill”. World trade awaits….

The October edition of the ITFA Newsletter contains an interesting article prepared by Clarissa Dann, Deutsche Bank, titled: ’’Back from the Brink’’. Shannon Manders, ITFA Consultant, summarises one of the panel sessions held in Budapest in: ‘’Not a Bank, Not a Fintech: the Rise and Rise of Alternative Finance’’. And Deepesh Patel (TFG) and Dean Forrester (ExCred Series), co-author a contribution to this newsletter in: ‘’What’s keeping Commodity Financiers and Insurers up at night? Key themes from ExCred Commodities’’.

ITFA is extremely happy to welcome four new members to its growing family; United Bank for Africa (UK) Ltd, China International Factoring (Singapore) Pte Ltd, China Systems and Channel Capital Advisors LLP.

On an exciting note, I do hope that you have all visited our newly launched ITFA website – it now has a vibrant fresh look, is user friendly and will provide a great browsing experience to our users. In the meantime, we are working on finalising the date and venue for the ITFA Annual Conference 2020 – details will be announced shortly.

May I remind you all that the ITFA Board is pleased to invite all ITFA members to attend our ITFA 20th Anniversary Gala Party which is taking place on 09 December 2019 at 12th Knot, Sea Containers, London. All ITFA Main Delegates should have received the invitation, so we would greatly appreciate if you could by RSVP by latest 29 November 2019. As always, we encourage you all to attend this valuable networking opportunity, so please…save the date! May we kindly point out that this event is strictly for ITFA members only and access to the event is restricted to confirmed guests only.

We look forward to hearing from you with any feedback you may want to share with us by sending an email to myself, any of the Board Members or to our general email, info@itfa.org.

Best wishes

Sean Edwards